Time and again, they swallowed their principles along with their pride, pretending that a few Democratic legislators on the fringes were a bigger threat than the man leading the nation.
When Trump bypassed the Senate to name acting Cabinet members, clearly violating the law, they shrugged. When he gutted the ranks of inspectors general in a clear attempt to stifle genuine accountability of the executive branch, they barely protested.
Every time they allowed Trump to cross a line, it became harder to hold the next one. After a while, they stopped even pretending. By this year, it had become obvious they had no intention of providing a meaningful check on Trump.
Instead, many of them actively Trumpified themselves. In primaries, they vied with one another to prove their fealty to the Orange God King.