With Trump-related controversies dominating the headlines it seems Republicans are opting to two specific defenses.
First, that a press corps that is biased against Republicans, generally, and detests Trump, specifically, is misleading the public and overreacting to explainable events.
Second, that there is a political conspiracy in the federal government which has, as its agenda, undermining President Donald Trump.
While I don’t doubt that both of these things are true to one extent or another, I don’t think they explain away all of Trump’s problems. I asked Congressman Kevin Cramer about that during our radio interview today.
“What bothers me the most is the lack of discipline in their own communications shop,” Cramer said.
Ok, I buy that. It does often seem as though the Trump administration has problems developing a consistent message. Often the person undermining the administration’s message is the President himself on Twitter.
But is Trump to blame for anything? Cramer, while deploying the frequent Republican talking point about all this controversy being a distraction, did admit that the President does invite turmoil.
“Giving the middle finger to the police officer isn’t a good idea even if you haven’t done anything wrong,” Cramer said.
He was referencing to Trump doing things like, say, inviting Russian officials to the oval office shortly after firing FBI director James Comey who was, in turn, presiding over an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election cycle.
“I wish he’d ignore this soap opera,” Cramer added, noting that “some members of Congress” would “like to get this monkey off our backs” so they can focus on implementing policy.
Cramer also deployed a somewhat underwhelming defense of Trump’s behavior in recent weeks. “None of this stuff is anywhere close to Nixon,” Cramer said.
I pointed out that saying the President “isn’t Nixon” is setting a pretty low bar.
Both a caller and I asked Cramer about a special prosecutor to investigate the Russian ties. I specifically asked Cramer what it would take for him to support the appointment of a special prosecutor. Cramer suggested he’d support such an appointment if the Congressional “committees of jurisdiction” currently investigating the matter decide one is warranted.
“That’s why we have those committees,” he said.