Older conservatives can’t forget the extent to which many Democrats not only defended Bill Clinton on the legal merits of the claims against him, but also the extent to which they attempted to change public attitudes about sexual morality. Having a mistress was suddenly no big deal, and parts of the cultural elite purported to long for the greater sophistication of the European public — where wives and mistresses could allegedly even know and respect each other. Younger progressives who’ve grown up in the era of heightened awareness of sexual power dynamics would be stunned at the arguments of their parents.
This same impulse is now at work on the Right. Republicans want to be proud of their president. They want to believe their movement isn’t just better than the Democrats, but that it’s actually good and decent and virtuous. And so they rationalize Trump. They make excuses. Make no mistake, there are many, many decent Republicans doing heroic work across the country and who see Trump clearly, but there are also too many Republicans who are busy trying to transform Trump’s vices into virtues. They’re rejecting the “lesser evil” by redefining it as good, and they’re damaging their credibility and Christian witness in the process.