I can’t do it, man.
Any time a Republican crosses Trump by taking a stand for a reasonable position, Never Trumpers are supposed to salute him and roll out the welcome wagon. We need more Republicans like this, we say. Brave. Principled. Willing to buck the cult when the cult demands unthinking loyalty. Matt Gaetz’s decision last week to support the House resolution that attempted to constrain Trump’s power to wage war with Iran was a gutsy move whether you agreed with it or not. Only three Republicans voted for it: One is retiring, the other is Ron-Paul-ish libertarian Thomas Massie, the third was … Matt Gaetz (R-MAGA), a guy whose role in the House is usually to play Igor to Trump’s Frankenstein. Does the president need a man to intimidate the witnesses against him or maybe lead a dopey sit-in at the SCIF to protest impeachment? Well, he can rely on Igor. He’s there to serve.
But not this time. There are some things Gaetz cares more about than toadying to the president and war, to his credit, is one of them. “Reclaiming Congressional power is the Constitutional conservative position!” wrote Gaetz’s legislative chief to the Republican caucus in an email the morning of the vote — correctly. In other words, not only did Gaetz end up voting the right way against Trump’s wishes, he actually tried to organize bipartisan support for the resolution. To a Never Trumper, this would normally be cause for the highest honors. An approving comment from Joe Walsh. A flattering mention in a post at the Bulwark. Maybe even the ultimate honor: A #StandWithMattGaetz hashtag on Twitter.