Sally Yates is the new Elliot Richardson, Dana Boente the new Robert Bork, Donald Trump the new old Richard Nixon or monarch Richard III, and congressional Republicans, Quislings all.
Yates' fireable offense was not that she disagreed with Trump, but that she betrayed "the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order," according to the White House, which seems incapable of issuing any statement not swimming in revisionist filth. As the nation's top law enforcement authority, the DOJ decides what's legal — not Trump or Steve Bannon.
Of course for the following oxymoronic reason, the WH no more consulted the DOJ on the legality of its patently unconstitutional refugee ban than it did Homeland Security or the Defense Department. Pre-clearance of an unconstitutional executive order via authentic law-enforcement oversight is, for any authoritarian regime, an ill advised maneuver. Better to sack the conscientious authority and replace her with a groveling yes man.
In telling "the White House that he is willing to sign off on Mr. Trump’s executive order on refugees and immigration," the preening Boente sold his professional soul for a shiny résumé entry of perhaps 48 hours duration. Next up is Jeff Sessions, who possesses no soul to sell — the perfect Trump appointee.
And above all, what of congressional Republicans, who for decades have hustled themselves as protectors of "American values" as embedded in the U.S. Constitution? Where are they "when their Republican president issues an order targeting one religious group?" asked Elizabeth Warren from the Senate floor last night.
What has become of these "constitutional conservatives" of unadulterated Americanism?
The Washington Post's Catherine Rampell has the numbers. "A mere year ago," she foregrounds, "Trump’s proposed Muslim ban was decried [by Republican leaders] as not conservative, not constitutional, not American." And yet "three days after the order was signed, 80 congressional Republicans had explicitly endorsed this once un-conservative, unconstitutional, un-American ban, more than three times the number who publicly opposed it. The vast majority of congressional Republicans refused to choose a side or remained silent" …
… silence being the doorway to authoritarianism, autocratic Trumpism, American fascism, whatever one wishes to call it; a poisonous thorn is a poisonous thorn by any other name.
The rapidity with which the Trump administration has corrupted the presidency, publicly assaulted dissidents ("career bureaucrats [at State] … should either get with the program or they can go," said Sean Spicer yesterday), purged others, made itself an enemy of the free press, made the free press an enemy of the state, intimidated its own party into vile Quislingism, and in general reduced the most powerful and influential nation on earth to chaotic, Bolshevistic hooliganism — well, it's all rather breathtaking.
"He'll fuck you up, your Donald Trump," the poet Philip Larkin might have written of the contemporary U.S and its "leadership," ahem. "He'll fill you with the faults he has / And add some extra, just for you…. / Man hands on misery to man. / It deepens like a coastal shelf. / Get out as early as you can."
It may yet come to that; we may be the refugees — unless the Quislings find some conscience and courage, qualities they're not quite known for. If you're the prayerful sort, pray not for us, but for them.