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Assault on America, Day 519: ‘Take one for the team’ gains distinct meaning in 2020 Election

Tommy Tuberville
Trump’s personal animus is one thing, but gutting his own cause from the inside isn’t wise politics

Longtime observers instantly recognized that the political world with Donald Trump at its center would never be boring. The famous real estate developer, reality show celebrity and American cultural icon rode down the escalator with loud rock music blaring (Neil Young’s Rockin’ in the Free World) at Trump Tower to announce his candidacy for president on June 16, 2015. It was a characteristically showy introduction for his America First movement, which from day one was meant to signal a radical departure from the way things were done in the Washington DC swamp.

Of course the establishment media fixated on Trump’s blunt use of language to describe the multitude of political problems he would address and correct if he were elected. There was no give in his determination and it spoke to millions of establishment fatigued people across the country.

Trump didn’t want to be your ordinary run-of-the-mill candidate and his launch into politics demonstrated he wouldn’t ever play by the “rules” of perfunctory civility and decorum. How many “regular” candidates began their campaigns by sending out a press release and speaking to a few reporters who’d been assigned to the task by editors starved for potentially headlining news? Anyone recall how Jeb Bush tossed his hat into the ring that same year? Or Marco Rubio? Did it include bumper music from a notorious rabble rouser like Neil Young?

At any rate, Trump’s style has always been all his own. Judging by his steady approval ratings throughout his time in politics, a little less then half the people love his spiel, and the other half… doesn’t. Independent voters, some of them at least, are willing to give Trump credit for the job he's doing. Yet the president never strays far from controversy, which riles up his critics and sometimes, makes his supporters cringe.

Trump’s very public spat with former Alabama senator and his first Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, presents such a dilemma. The president’s leadership capabilities have shown through during the Chinese Communist Party (or Wuhan) virus pandemic and the recent social unrest breaking out just about everywhere, but the New Yorker’s in-your-face confrontational manner is never far from his consciousness. Where Sessions is concerned, it’s got many conservatives uneasy about the tone. You’re forgiven if you can’t watch it unfold.

Byron York reported at The Washington Examiner last week (before the world exploded in riots), “At the Justice Department, Sessions worked hard to implement the president's agenda on issues such as immigration and crime. But as far as relations with Trump were concerned, it all went to hell in early March 2017, when Sessions, who had been on the job all of 21 days, recused himself from supervising the Trump-Russia investigation.

“Driven by Democrats and their allies in the press, the Russia issue picked up steam in Trump's early months as president. But it truly exploded on May 9, 2017, when Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. The resulting firestorm led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller — an appointment made by Sessions's second-in-command, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was in charge of the Russia matter after Sessions recused himself.

“Trump blamed it all, or nearly all, on Sessions, and he never forgave him. Sessions remained in the job until November 2018, but Trump clearly could not stand the man he chose to head the Justice Department.”

Trump doesn’t hide his disdain for certain people. Nancy Pelosi. “Chucky” Schumer. Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, and… Jeff Sessions? The balance of York’s piece detailed the raw emotions exhibited by both men, Trump railing against Sessions’ perceived cowardly recusal and the Alabama senatorial candidate’s defensive retorts that what he did was right -- and what the law required -- under the circumstances.

Yes, the feelings are and were deep, angry and personal. No one relishes looking back to that very dark time in America’s recent history when some of our government’s leaders purposely spied on a political rival and then set up Trump officials (Gen. Michael Flynn, et al) to carry on the vendetta even after Trump won the election and entered office. From the outset it was clear the whole Russian collusion investigation was a farce propagated by the new president’s sore loser enemies within the ruling class elite class of both parties, a grand scheme to discredit him personally and therefore justify opposing his America saving ideas.

Trump didn’t disguise his impressions on the matter either, letting his displeasure with Sessions be known via Twitter and other avenues, a sense of betrayal that rocked his core. Trump has an enormously thick skin but can’t tolerate perceived insubordination from those closest to him. He's been constantly derided for demanding loyalty. What president wouldn’t want it? Witnessing the bickering no doubt reminded many Americans of uncomfortable confrontations at the Thanksgiving dinner table when the subject of politics or religion creeps its way into the otherwise jovial celebration and spoils the mood.

Still, it was clear Trump was right about Sessions. But then again, it wasn’t necessarily obvious that Sessions was wrong (to recuse himself since he was a prominent Trump spokesman and had “conversations” (as a senator) with Russian officials while acting as a campaign booster). But in the larger sense, right or wrong doesn’t matter here because Sessions’ action (or inaction) was a disaster that impacted millions of lives. By letting Trump’s foes gain control of the probe it not only exposed the president to a patently unfair two years’ worth of accusations and recriminations, it eventually turned into fodder for jerks and nimrods to railroad and impeach him based on hatred alone. It also stalled aspects of his agenda, such as repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a much more workable free market alternative.

And let’s not forget, they went after Trump’s family too.

Trump has a big ego; if all of this were a trial, it would be a stipulated fact. But he also has a right to be angry and Sessions the Alabamian doesn’t possess a good way of dismissing it as “I’m sorry, bud” for the events of the past three years. The bell just won’t be un-rung. The damage is done, and it’s devastating. At the same time, it must have been horrible for the lifelong conservative advocate Sessions to observe the events, almost like watching an innocent friend put on display and flogged mercilessly for something he didn’t do.

That being said, it’s probably time to bury the hatchet. Jeff Sessions could be the next United States senator from Alabama, resuming ownership of the seat he gave up to assume the post as Trump’s top law enforcement officer. Sessions is pitted against fellow Republican and ex-Auburn university head football coach Tommy Tuberville, and the run-off is set for July 14. Polls show the race is tight, which means either could emerge victorious and will face Democrat virtual lame duck Senator Doug Jones in November.

Chances are either Sessions or Tuberville would easily defeat Jones, but nothing is assured, especially if the GOP remains split due to Trump’s antipathy to Sessions. Alabama is one of the most conservative red states in the country and the Democrat wouldn’t have had a chance in the December, 2017 special election if it weren’t for the media’s ludicrous and salacious witch hunt of conservative stalwart Roy Moore. Everyone agrees Moore had his quirks and oddities but there’s no questioning he would’ve been a better representative of his state’s interests than Jones.

The Democrat voted against Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination and also gave the go-ahead to impeach Trump during Adam Schiff’s and Nancy Pelosi’s foundationless show trial. How does either action gel with Alabama’s voters?

Trump’s record of endorsements in Alabama isn’t exactly stellar. He backed Senator Luther Strange (appointed to fill Session’s vacant seat) in the 2017 primary and then threw his weight behind Moore in the special election. Both lost. State Republicans approve of Trump by wide majorities but they didn’t go along with his candidate preferences. Alabamians may choose Tuberville over Sessions (Trump endorsed Tuberville before the state GOP primary) or they may opt for their former upper chamber member, a solid conservative who’s consistently advocated for limited government, America First policies. Here’s thinking the national party wins either way.

Politics is like team sports; players must put the team’s needs above their own

The “team” needs to get behind whomever wins in July. Republicans can’t let infighting jeopardize their senate majority next year, something Trump would be wise to consider. Trump is likely to win a second term, but if there’s a partisan tie or a Democrat majority, he’ll have an extremely hard time passing his big agenda items. And needless to say, if Trump has an opportunity to add another justice or two to the Supreme Court, that extra vote will be vital for confirmation.

Political junkies may recall Ted Cruz’s conference the day after his speech to the 2016 Republican convention delegates in Cleveland. The senator and Trump’s chief party rival had just made a donkey of himself the previous night when he ended his address with a plea to “vote your conscience” rather than offering a full-throated endorsement of Trump. The audience booed and Cruz needed to be escorted out of the place.

Cruz (full disclosure: I supported Ted in the intra-party battle) was on the defensive while meeting with the Texas delegation. He stubbornly stood behind his decision not to endorse Trump and said something to the effect of, “Politics is not a team sport.” Well, it’s true: no one wears a uniform and there’s no PA system, but yes, politics has many recognizable “team” elements -- and Cruz did eventually say he would vote for Trump later that year.

Representatives and senators can introduce legislation, but these days, without backing from the “team,” it won’t go anywhere. Similarly, a running back might be the fastest guy in the league, but if his linemen don’t block for him, he’s not getting past the line of scrimmage. Or a pitcher may shut down the opposing baseball team, but if his guys don’t score runs, he won’t get a win.

President Donald Trump needs another Republican senator from Alabama and he’d do well to mend fences with Jeff Sessions if the latter wins the state GOP runoff. The Democrat “team” will do everything in their power to obstruct and defeat Trump. This one’s a no-brainer.

If the 2016 Republican “team” had lost, Hillary Clinton would’ve made everyone suffer

Last week I talked about how elections have after-effects and potential life altering consequences based on whomever wins a particular contest. It doesn’t take a genius to see how the mindset would be different in the White House today if Republicans had allowed their disagreements in 2016 to take down the “team”. Douglas Ernst reported at The Washington Times, “Hillary Clinton says ‘domestic terrorism’ has come to America via armed and angry quarantine protesters in Michigan.

“The former secretary of state blasted citizens who showed up outside the state’s capital building this week to protest Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed the lives of roughly 87,000 Americans nationwide.

“’Armed men storming a legislature to disrupt its democratic proceedings is domestic terrorism,’ Mrs. Clinton wrote. ‘It cannot be tolerated.’”

How about now, Hill? Any new thoughts on “domestic terrorism” after the riots?

It should be pointed out that those “armed men” were, by law, allowed to carry weapons and no shots were discharged and no ordinances violated other than Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s order to stay semi-permanently locked up in their homes and not make a stink about anything like having a job or living life. That Constitution is so yesterday to these people, isn’t it?

Hillary Clinton herself didn’t seem to have much problem with non-compliance of lawful orders when she refused to turn over tens of thousands of emails dating from her tenure as Obama’s Secretary of State. Talk about domestic terrorism -- the 2016 Democrat nominee flaunted the law at every opportunity and her followers didn’t give a squat, just as they’re now following blue state governors’ rights-trouncing edicts like rats to the tune of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. What a disgrace.

Ernst’s story reported that Michigan law enforcement won’t cite people for violating Whitmer’s dictates without further clarification of what constitutes an unlawful offense. And if Hillary Clinton thinks peaceful protest is “domestic terrorism,” then one can imagine what the country -- and world -- would be like if she were in charge today instead of Trump. Scary.

Recent events demonstrated that politics is very much a team sport and Republicans would do well to unify to defend Americans’ rights and freedoms under the Constitution. Democrats certainly won’t do it. The end result of personal grudges and intra-party backbiting is losses on Election day. The practical results would be calamitous.

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