We now know that a handful of Republican senators were, in fact, alarmed by Donald Trump's Friday firings of government officials who testified to House impeachment investigators about Trump's Ukrainian extortion scheme. More accurately, we now know that a bare handful of Republican senators were concerned only about the firing of U.S Ambassador Gordon Sondland, while remaining unconcerned by Trump's removal of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his brother, who did not testify.
The likely reason? Gordon Sondland, unlike the others, was a big-money Republican campaign donor.
The New York Times is reporting that Republican Sens. Susan Collins (yes, Susan Collins), Thom Tillis, Martha McSally and Ron Johnson contacted the White House to try to halt Sondland's firing. Sondland, who was made a U.S. ambassador after giving $1 million to Trump’s own inaugural fund, was signaling he was planning to resign; the Republican senators wanted Sondland to be given a graceful exit. That was not to be: a vengeful, frothing Trump was insistent on making a public example of him.
Why were the senators concerned about Sondland but not the others? Sondland, reports the Times, was "a donor to Mr. Tillis and other Republicans."
So there you go. We now know the one, the only thing that would get the slightest pushback from the now-fascist Republican Party: Trump humiliating a top-dollar donor. The rest of it they're fine with.
That's not hyperbole. Sen. Susan Collins, in particular, made a special point of telling the Times that her prior "hope" that perhaps Trump would learn a "lesson" from impeachment was excruciatingly narrow. It didn't apply, she explained, to Trump's purge of the witnesses who spoke out to confirm the Trump-Giuliani Ukrainian plot.
“The lesson that I hoped the president had learned was that he should not enlist the help of a foreign government in investigating a political rival,” she told the Times. “It had absolutely nothing to do with whether or not he should fire people who testified in a way that he perceived as harmful to him.”
So yes, Susan Collins is fine with Trump retaliating against those who testified to his "perfect" actions. It was just the Republican donor whose plight roused her enough to make a simple phone call.
Her new statement is, yet again and of course, another reversal of a prior Susan Collins statement of supposed principles. On Friday she told a Maine crowd that "I obviously am not in favor of any kind of retribution against anyone who came forward with evidence." This new statement clarifies that she is not specifically against such retribution either.
In a non-authoritarian, non-fascist movement, Dear Leader retaliating against those who testified under oath about his own actions would be astonishingly corrupt. It would be close to the very definition of corrupt, in fact. It is now considered an acceptable act, by Republicans, subject to mild private pushback only if the purge happens to touch on one of their own campaign donors. And even the most "moderate" of Republicans, Susan Collins, is now releasing statements clarifying that she is in fact not expressing any concerns about that.
Published with permission from Daily Kos.