CNN’s Zakaria: Republican Leaders Repeat Trump’s Lies with ‘a Lightness of Heart’

Sunday on CNN, host Fareed Zakaria accused Republican lawmakers of repeating President Donald Trump’s lies “with a lightness of heart.”

Zakaria said, “I have not been one to argue that the United States under President Trump is on the verge of turning into a tyranny. But it is clear that left to his own devices. Trump would act with little regard to law, precedent, or the Constitution. As president, he has shown a willingness to shut down investigations into his conduct, offer pardons to those whose lawbreaking he approves and of, punish media organizations and social media platforms that are, in his mind, biased against him. Even many of his supporters will privately say we need not worry about Trump because his excesses are always checked. But the American system does not work through magic. It needs its other leaders, judges, bureaucrats, generals, and, above all, politicians to speak out when they see blatant abuses of power. Some have done so, most recently senior military leaders. But one gaping hole remains. That is the one inside the president’s own party.”

He continued, On Monday evening in Lafayette Square in the shadow of the White House, police in riot gear descended upon a peaceful protest, which is explicitly protected in the Constitution, and disbanded the demonstration using force and weaponry, including pepper balls, smoke canisters, and rubber bullets. The protesters were not violating a curfew or committing acts of violence. The police used brute force on law-abiding citizens so the president could stage a photo op, holding a Bible in front of a church. When asked to comment on this dangerous use of governmental authority, which flashed across every news channel and website in the world, the president’s allies had to to say. Senator John Kennedy wouldn’t comment because he wasn’t there. One wonders whether he will comment on world events at which he is physically present. Several Senators, Bill Johnson, Mike Lee, demurred because they didn’t see it, in Johnson’s words. Senators Rob Portman and Mike Inslee said they were late for lunch. A few Republican senators did break with the president, but others went out of their way to defend him. Ted Cruz, who used to describe Trump as utterly a moral, and a pathological liar, said the only abuse of power was by the protesters themselves.”

He added, “Sometimes the point isn’t to make people believe a lie, it is to make people fear the liar. We can see how this process has worked in the Trump presidency. It started with the small matter of the inauguration photographs but kept ongoing. He then made bogus claims he won the popular vote because millions of people voted illegally, that China pays for his tariffs, Alabama was at risk from Hurricane Dorian, that windmills cause cancer, and he did not pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden. As President Trump has lied or misled almost 20,000 times by The Washington Post count. And Republicans have repeated those lies at first hesitantly, but increasingly with a lightness of heart, marveling the ease with which they justify their acquiescence. If the United States does descend further down a dark path, much blame will lie with these Republican leaders, Donald Trump’s cheerful collaborators.”

Follow Pam Key oñown Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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