As Trump was running against all factions of both parties, the adaptation of the congressional Republicans in Washington to the Trump era was sluggish and is still not complete. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) have left and John McCain died, having killed health care reform and ordained that he have an anti-Trump funeral. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a sly old Kentuckian, has made the cut, as he assimilates to all changes in Washington.
But whatever the Republican congressional delegations think of Trump—and Flake may be right that privately many Republican senators would like to see the back of him—he has the rank-and-file Republican public behind him as only a few Republican presidents have: Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Nixon at his strongest, and Reagan. Apart from a few ostentatiously pseudo-conscientious senators such as Mitt Romney (R-Utah), the Republican senators can’t desert him in the absence of serious evidence of his wrongdoing, and there is none.
The principal lesson of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation in 2018 was that there are enough sane and honest people in the Senate who will notice the absence of any believable incriminating evidence to produce a just decision. No serious person could make a crime out of the Ukraine “facts”; only rabid, witless, blood and publicity hounds (of whom the Democrats have no shortage), can claim that. But that is no longer the point. There was no believable evidence against Kavanaugh either, but only a balance of probabilities was required, at a time when any female denunciation from the past against a prominent man was accorded great credence. Yet even the most Trump-skeptical Republicans in the Senate stayed with Kavanaugh (apart from Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who paired with pro-Kavanaugh Senator Steve Daines of Montana, who had to attend his daughter’s wedding).