They don’t have their priorities straight

Amy Davidson at the New Yorker explains why Trump failed to be enthusiastic about the Republicans’ move to kill the Office of Congressional Ethics.

The G.O.P. representatives were absolutely correct in thinking that the Trump years are shaping up to be a bitter farce, in terms of good government, and a tragedy in other ways—bereft, for example, of real efforts to improve the lives of the most vulnerable Americans. What they were confused about was the part that they are expected to play. This became clear on Monday night, as critics from all sides pelted the congressmen with their own absurdity, and, the next morning, when Trump began to tweet.

“With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it,” Trump began, continuing in a second tweet, “may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS.”  “DTS” stands for “Drain the swamp,” one of the companion chants to “Lock her up!” during the Presidential campaign. It hasn’t been looking all that drained. What’s most telling about Trump’s tweet, and the possible source of the congressmen’s confusion, is that Trump is not objecting to the idea of “weakening” the watchdogs; he is just annoyed that the congressional Republicans are doing it on what he considers to be his time. They don’t have their priorities straight. This is not an office that would ever go after him, so why are they wasting his political capital crippling it? In the world as seen from Trump Tower, that’s practically political embezzlement.

Ah, of course. I didn’t think of that, and I did wonder why he was raining on their parade. How silly of me – it wasn’t about him, so of course he rained.

Don’t bother having any sympathy for Paul Ryan, she adds.

That is no reason to feel sorry for Ryan, who has lived by and fortified this culture. There were moments during the campaign when Ryan was critical of Trump. But in its last days he campaigned for Trump by name. Ryan seems to have his own gold-painted fantasies of what that means. He talks frequently about how much “Donald” likes his ideas. If, in his focus on getting Trump’s help in dismantling the safety net, he let himself be exposed to a day of humiliation, he can’t be surprised. Nor does he deserve much credit for his late effort, with the reversal of the rule change, to salvage his dignity. Indeed, by doing it so quickly after the Trump tweets he has made himself look all the more like the President-elect’s messenger, or maybe his intern.

Or his valet.

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