Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) says she is "struggling" to find the right words about Donald Trump's presidency. Is this an indication that at least some Republicans are experiencing pangs of conscience, having had enough of this would be dictator who is willing to use military force against our own citizens?
“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis wrote. “The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.” He goes on, “We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”
If Murkowski is having difficulty finding the right words, Mattis, a retired Marine general with the call sign, "chaos," is not.
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis continued. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”
Trump, of course, responded via Twitter by saying "The only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world's most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it."
Well, not so fast.
President Trump's former chief of staff, John F. Kelly, also a retired Marine Corps general, defended Mattis, who resigned in 2018 in disagreement with Trump’s decision to pull U.S. forces out of Syria. Kelly said Mattis was not fired by Trump.
“The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation,” Kelly said in an interview with The Washington Post. “The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused. The president tweeted a very positive tweet about Jim until he started to see on Fox News their interpretation of his letter. Then he got nasty. Jim Mattis is a honorable man.”
But apparently, Gen. Mattis' words are having an impact.
Said Murkowski, "When I saw Gen. Mattis' comments yesterday I felt like perhaps we are getting to a point where we can be more honest with the concerns that we might hold internally and have the courage of our own convictions to speak up. And so I'm working as one individual to form the right words, knowing that these words really matter so I appreciate General Mattis’ comments."
Saying that she is "struggling" over whether she can still support Trump, Murkowski said she has "struggled with it for a long time."
"I think right now, as we are all struggling to find ways to express the words that need to be expressed appropriately, questions about who I'm going to vote for or not going to vote for, I think, are distracting at the moment. I know people might think that's a dodge, but I think there are important conversations that we need to have as an American people among ourselves about where we are right now," she said.
Murkowski, who had called Trump's actions "shameful" during the Senate's impeachment trial, but voted to acquit, was joined by the only Republican senator to vote to convict, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), in supporting Mattis. Romney called him "an American patriot" and "an individual whose judgment I respect," and said the former defense secretary's statement was "stunning and powerful."
But then, there were the lapdog Republicans who still hold the Trump party line, like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who is in a tough race for reelection against Democrat Jaime Harrisoin, and who appears to have just colored his hair to look suspiciously like Trump's.
"I admire his service to the nation," Graham told Fox News. "But the one thing I would tell General Mattis is that you don't quite understand that from the time President Trump wakes up until he goes to bed there's an effort to destroy his presidency."
That effort, Sen. Graham, is well deserved. His presidency needs to be destroyed.
November 3. Remember that date.