Oh, what a difference a party can make! I’m not talking about parties like Lollapalooza or the festivities in Provincetown that may get us into deep COVID-19 trouble.
I’m talking political parties, and the difference between Democrat and Republican. The difference between standing up for right and standing up for wrong; between bravery and cowardice.
The difference in the response to the misdeeds of Democratic New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Republican Donald J. Trump.
It took months, but the Democratic Party establishment has finally brought the hammer down on Cuomo. When it comes to Trump’s misdeeds, on the other hand, Republicans in leadership are still doing the old soft shoe.
Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women and retaliated against a former employee who complained publicly about his conduct, according to a scorching 165-page report issued last week by Letitia James, New York state attorney general. James’ investigation concluded that Cuomo had “sexually harassed multiple women and in doing so violated federal and state law.” The work environment in Cuomo’s office, she stated, was intimidating and hostile.
Cuomo harassed both members of the public and his staff, including a state trooper assigned to his security detail, by subjecting them to unwanted hugging, kissing, groping, touching and sexual comments.
The near-universal reaction among Democratic leaders has been swift and unequivocal. Close Cuomo allies and friends, including President Joe Biden, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and New York State Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie have said the governor should resign.
The New York Assembly, Heastie said in a statement, “will move expeditiously and look to conclude our impeachment investigation as quickly as possible.”
Cuomo has called the report biased. He has refused to resign. “I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” he said.
But for many other powerful Democrats, who had held back a long time, enough was enough.
Trump, on the other hand, is never enough for many GOP leaders. He has been accused of sexual harassment and other predatory and sexist behavior by numerous women, dating back decades. But his vast array of failures, lies, misdeeds and possible criminal misconduct are rewarded with craven support from GOP leaders.
Congress had two chances to remove Trump from the White House, but most members of the GOP demurred. When Trump’ was impeached by the House in 2019 for obstruction of Congress, only one Republican senator, Mitt Romney, voted to convicted. And when Trump was impeached again this year on a charge of incitement of insurrection , only seven GOP senators voted to convict.
Trump has been out of office for seven months, and there is clear, irrefutable evidence that he instigated and encouraged the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Yet, he remains the real head of the GOP. Some Republicans are still afraid to stand up to Trump’s bullying. Others are craven opportunists looking for his endorsement. Still others apparently buy into Trump’s lies and are fine with his hate-mongering.
So-called GOP “leaders” like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, rarely call Trump out. Nor do prospective presidential candidates such as former vice president Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri.
They, and legions of others, might love to see Trump disappear, but they are afraid to say it.
Why does the most divisive and evil president in U.S. history have so much staying power? Because his party’s leadership won’t tell him to take a hike.
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