Believe it or not, this guy was a Cruz supporter in the primaries. His official House biography describes him as a “Reagan Republican.” He’s saying this on the same day that Trump suggested that he might impose some sort of national stop-and-frisk policy for local police, an affront to federalism that should worry any constitutional conservative.
Serious question for Franks: Is Ted Cruz a traitor to his country for not supporting the big-government authoritarian in the red hat over the one in the blue one?
A brewing civil war within the GOP has House Republicans picking sides, with plenty of members backing up party Chairman Reince Priebus in threatening consequences for those who don’t get behind nominee Donald Trump.
“Any person in this party that does not support Trump at this point is increasing the chances of Hillary Clinton becoming president and destroying the Constitution,” Arizona Rep. Trent Franks told CNN Wednesday. “Therefore they are betraying this party. They are betraying the Constitution.”
If you want to understand why #NeverTrumpers like me suspect congressional Republicans will rubber-stamp anything and everything Trump does, all you need is this quote and the logical conclusion it leads you to. If Democratic control of government will destroy the Constitution, under what circumstances should a Republican Congress risk control of the White House by opposing a Republican president? If President Trump decides that he meant what he said about the military obeying his orders even if they’re illegal, congressional Democrats will revolt and demand action to rein him in — hearings, court challenges, maybe impeachment. Trump will sustain some political damage from it. Whom does Rep. Franks side with in that case, his president or the other party? If he and other Republicans side with Democrats on principle, Democrats will use it to bludgeon Trump in 2020 with the argument that he’s lost the confidence of both parties that he can govern responsibly and constitutionally. If Franks sides with Trump, he’s blessing the practice of illegal military orders. By his own logic, he’s forced to choose between “betraying the Constitution” and betraying the Constitution. What’s a Reagan Republican to do?
#NeverTrumpers often strain to answer the argument from Trump fans that Trump’s Supreme Court picks would be better than Clinton’s by insisting that we really can’t know what Trump will do with the Court. That’s … sort of true, but not persuasive. Clinton’s appointees will be hard left; the worst you’re going to get from Trump, with his own party putting him under tremendous pressure to nominate a Scalia type, is a moderate conservative. His picks will be better than Clinton’s even if they’re not great. The better counterargument is that bad Court picks aren’t the only way a president can betray the Constitution. Trump’s national-savior persona is premised on the idea that he’ll slash through constraints that have crippled lesser Republicans. Some of those constraints, like political correctness, really do need slashing. Some, like constitutional law, don’t. I have no confidence that Trump sees more than a rhetorical difference between the two. He’ll get away with whatever he thinks he can get away with, and his handservants in Congress like Franks will let him get away with plenty in the name of keeping the left out of power. Republicans may have to betray constitutional governance themselves to prevent the Democrats’ betrayal. If you think that sounds nutty, re-read the quote above. Franks is already halfway there.
Here’s Trump earlier today insisting that #NeverTrumpers, not Franks, should be ashamed of themselves.