Trump’s Stench Will Hurt GOP Candidates for Years to Come

Mike Pompeo, Marco Rubio
A glimpse of the future, Trump Doral 2025. Photo credit: DonkeyHotey / WhoWhatWhy (CC BY-SA 2.0) See complete attribution below.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

In the 2016 GOP primary, Donald Trump destroyed the chances of 16 Republicans to be elected president that year. It’s an accomplishment he is rightly proud of and talks about often. Since taking office, however, he has achieved an even more astonishing feat: He has obliterated the chances of scores of Republicans to be elected president ever.

How did he do it? By turning the Grand Old Party into a cult that worships him instead of pursuing conservative policies. And, ultimately, those who have hitched their wagon to Trump will go off the cliff with him when he inevitably crashes and burns.

That’s a real problem for Republicans, because the president is absolutely eviscerating the party’s bench of up-and-coming political stars by demanding their blind allegiance. And just about all of them, with a couple of notable exceptions, have missed the opportunity to get off the Trump train before it goes off the rails for good.

In other words, when the full of extent of Trump’s corruption and ineptitude becomes known, along with the devastating long-term impact of his presidency, anybody who has stood with him this long — in the face of evidence, lies, criminality and incompetence — will be tarnished forever.

Because at this point, everybody knows who this president truly is … well, maybe not the people who only get their news from Fox, but they decide Republican primaries and not general elections.

Take Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), for example. On paper, he seems like a great future presidential candidate for the GOP. Only 48 years old, he is the senior senator of a large swing state. He is Hispanic, charismatic, and has the right committee assignments to give him some foreign policy and national security gravitas. Yet all that is worthless because he keeps making excuses for the president’s most egregious behavior. Even worse, in his case, is that Trump emasculated him in the 2016 primary and Rubio is still sucking up to him. The senator keeps trying to have it both ways, but just criticizing the president’s Syria decision will not make him look like somebody who stood up to Trump.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is another one of Trump’s cabana boys. He graduated first in his class at West Point, earned a law degree from Harvard, and also served in Congress and as CIA director. For a Republican, that’s a dream resume. Born in 1963, he would be young enough to run in 2024. But, more than just about anybody, he is inextricably linked to the president. Or as one former American ambassador put it, Pompeo is “like a heat-seeking missile for Trump’s ass.”

There are plenty of others: like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a staunch supporter of Trump. Or Sen. Ben Sasse (NE), who used to be an occasional critic of the president but has stayed silent in recent months. For that matter, any Republican currently serving in Congress may just as well shelve any presidential ambitions they may harbor.

One notable exception is Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor who served effectively as UN ambassador but managed to retain some measure of integrity. Most importantly, she left before things got too bad.

Finally, the only Republican who is much more likely to become president because of Trump’s clumsy obstruction of justice or his solicitation of help from foreign governments is Mike Pence. A religious zealot with an 18th century mindset on cultural issues, he otherwise would never have had a shot at the presidency. Now, however, he is just 20 Republican-senators-doing-the -right-thing away from getting the top job.

Clearly, there will be readers who will disagree with this editorial. To them, we make the following offer: If any of the people mentioned in this column as unelectable do become president, and you present one of us with a printout of this column, then one of us will eat it on the spot.

The cartoon above was created by DonkeyHotey for WhoWhatWhy from these images: Mike Pompeo caricature (DonkeyHotey / Flickr – CC BY 2.0), Marco Rubio caricature (DonkeyHotey / Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0), body (Thijs Paanakker / Flickr (CC BY 2.0), Trump Doral (slgckgc / Flickr – CC BY 2.0) and (slgckgc / Flickr – CC BY 2.0), towel (Dan Perry / Flickr – CC BY 2.0), tray (Marco Verch / Flickr – CC BY 2.0), and lifeguard (mkrappitz / Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0).

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from U.S. Department of State / Flickr.

Where else do you see journalism of this quality and value?

Please help us do more. Make a tax-deductible contribution now.

Our Comment Policy

Keep it civilized, keep it relevant, keep it clear, keep it short. Please do not post links or promotional material. We reserve the right to edit and to delete comments where necessary.


12 responses to “Trump’s Stench Will Hurt GOP Candidates for Years to Come”

  1. Lisa Montez says:

    You call yourselves courageous? That’s hysterical. Criticizing Trump … oooh, how courageous you are!

  2. james warren says:

    “Common Sense ?”
    Um, right.
    Got it.

    Grabbing women by their genitals. mocking the handicapped. giving immature nicknames to opponents, dissembling daily, coarse language, fraudulent business schemes, enriching his own pockets by making deals swith foreign powers, et cetera.

    He does not represent the small-town family values I was raised up with.

  3. Joe Fleener says:

    The saddest outcome of all this is watching those who continue to double down on their admiration of Trump. This isn’t a tough call. Trump has no redeeming qualities. He’s an obvious fraud. No sensible person would trust him. Yet at least one third of the United States population cleaves to him. If nothing else, this shows how far our country has fallen.

  4. Georgette McGraw says:

    These remarks reinforce how divided our country is which in itself is devastating. We can’t find common ground because we quit listening to each other and we dig in without remembering what we’re even fighting for. This debate should be about our democracy that may be one generation away from extinction; a democracy that our families paid the ultimate price to defend. No one is above the law so remove the R and D and get your heads out of the sand. Quit reading Trump’s delusion tweets because he is the master at self promotion. Quit listening to conservative Fox News or liberal CNN news and invest the time to listen to the upcoming testimonies with an open mind. I hope it’s not to late to believe that we still have the ability to make an informed unbiased decision about whether this president is fit to be our Commander in Chief whether there is an R or D next to his/her name. The truth is generally somewhere in between so if your unwilling to listen then you’re not wanting to find the truth. Get busy America.

  5. Pam Danley says:

    Given a president who has been proven to have lied or misstated facts well over 10,000 times in less than 3 years in office, has obstructed justice as documented in the Mueller report and currently during the impeachment inquiry, Trump is only the shining example of truth, justice and the American way to the rabid bunch of loyalists that don’t bother to watch or read any news that isn’t spoonfed to them by FoxNews. Why should they when they won’t believe anything negative about Trump (Fake News!, Witchhunt!) and/or lack the intelligence to understand the facts or proceedings directly from transcripts.

    So these GOP senators continue to hold on desperately to Trump’s coattails, hoping to get those Trumpists to vote for them, despite his unstable, belligerent personality, poor foreign policy record, poor immigration record, disastrous trade policies, zero economic policy (just takes credit for recovery that was already going on since 2008) lies, self-dealing, bullying, and poor leadership. Yes, he “says it like it is” but if what he says is always angry, boastful, untruthful, bullying, sarcastic, without compassion, and divisive, give me a president that has some class, character, and diplomacy any day.

  6. G Marley says:

    Enjoyed reading the article. Exception on Nikki Haley though. Her involvement while governor of South Carolina in an adoption of a Cherokee baby girl stinks of power (her state rep. politician mother), partisan actions with former Oklahoma (formerly NDN Territory)Republican governor Mary ‘Failin’ as well as disregard for the baby’s uninformed biological father, a National Guardsman being deployed at the time… Nikki sucks.
    Check #teamstersdaughter for more…

  7. Jay says:

    Good article and true. Trump has a toxic presidency. When the answers eventually come out as to why the Trump campaign had 150 contacts with Russians prior to the election, it’ll shock everyone. Trump is notoriously cheap. Who really provided the 30 million he used to “self-fund” his campaign? Did the Russians co-sign his Deutsche Bank loan docs? Did Jared really blockade Qatar when his father didn’t get his loan? What’s really on Trump’s tax returns? Eric said they got a lot of money from Russia. How much and from which Oligarchs?

    Twenty-six woman claim he sexually harassed them. That’s worse than Cosby and Lauer combined. Is he a sexual predator? What about his racist and white supremacy? That won’t go down well.

    No one will ever forget his separating immigrant families at the border. Cruel and unusual punishment.

    Even if one-third of all this is true, he’s going to damage the Republican Party for decades.

  8. Body says:

    Good column. Point well taken. His tax returns will show he’s corrupted the office. Also a million other questions remain. The 150 contacts with Russians before he election. He’s cheap, who really funded his $30 million “self-funded” candidacy? Did the Russians co-sign his Deutsche Bank Lon docs? Did Jared really blockade Qatar after his father was rejected for the 1.2 billion property loan? There are a million other unanswered questions, including sexual harassment and predatory behavior. The answers will eventually come out. If 1/3 are true, and I’ll bet it’s closer to 90%, there’s no way these Republicans will be forgiven. He’s hiding way too much.

  9. Danielle says:

    Your article is a joke. When Trump ran for President the American people understood he wasn’t running as a politician, but as a business person. He has never claimed to be a politician and I don’t believe he ever will. The swamp has shown their ugliness the past 4 years and has been so worried about themselves that they have not completed anything that they are hired to do. The biggest change America needs is term limits on both the House and Senate. Hold them accountable!

  10. Peter Stonefield says:

    Deny, deny, deny. Reminds us of Richard Nixon.

  11. Avanb says:

    I’m pretty sure you are living in an alternate reality, if you think Trump has ruined the Republican Party! Quite the contrary, he has brought back common sense to a government filled with liars, leakers, and losers… Notably the Democrats! No one is worshiping Trump… We are worshiping the stance for liberty freedom, and justice! Dems only stand for socialism, censorship and justice for everyone but themselves!

  12. Hubert Patterson says:

    Republicans can’t get elected? Maybe our next president will be a Whig since it certainly won’t be a Democrat.