“Trump fatigue” was a problem for Democrats as well as Never Trump conservatives even before Donald Trump was elected president of the United States on November 8, 2016. A long list of Republicans, however, have been quick to vigorously defend Trump throughout all of his scandals and controversies, especially if they held office in red states and were terrified of offending the president. But Daily Beast columnist Matt Lewis, in an opinion piece published on Wednesday, emphasizes that the events of recent weeks have been so overwhelming that even Republicans are now experiencing “Trump fatigue.”
Certainly, Trump has given fellow Republicans many reasons to feel overwhelmed, from the Ukraine scandal to his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria and abandon the United States’ Kurdish allies. And Lewis cites various examples of “Trump fatigue” setting in among Republicans — for example, former Republican Rep. Charlie Dent expressing his frustration with Trump and, on Monday, telling CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, “I think the dam is getting ready to break here. I don’t think this is going to be a simple trickle. When it breaks, it breaks.”
Trump’s “increasingly erratic” behavior, Dent told Camerota, is making life “impossible” for Republicans. And it was also on Monday, Lewis notes, that Democratic Sen. Michael Bennett told CNN’s Jim Sciutto that Republicans in Congress are “horrified by the president’s behavior” and “horrified that he invited Ukraine to interfere with our elections.”
Another sign of Trump fatigue among Republicans, Lewis explains, was pressure from fellow Republicans not to hold the 2020 G-7 Summit at his Doral resort in South Florida. Fox News’ Judge Andrew Napolitano and other legal experts asserted that doing so would have been a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.
“Even for a professional spinmeister,” Lewis asserts, “there is no intellectually honest way to defend pressuring a foreign government to dig up dirt on a domestic political rival — or hosting the G7 at your own resort — yet Republicans were forced to do so.”
The Ukraine scandal, the Syria withdrawal and the Doral fiasco are only a few of the things Trump has done to frustrate fellow Republicans recently — Trump, Lewis points out, also “canceled a diplomatic trip because Denmark wouldn’t sell him Greenland” and “invited the Taliban to a secret meeting at Camp David.”
Lewis explains, “To be sure, I have omitted dozens of mini-scandals that have ensued these last few weeks. Still, each of these incidents required Republicans being forced to defend the indefensible. Each time, that depleted a little bit of their energy, a little bit of their self-respect and a little bit of their soul.”
Republicans, Lewis stresses, must realize that “there’s no reason to believe the chaos will ever stop…. We have arrived at the point where the pain that comes from sticking with Trump is finally starting to outweigh the pain that breaking with Trump might cause them.”
Some Republicans, Lewis notes, have “decided to retire” from office in order to escape Trumpism. One such Republican is former House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Although Lewis doesn’t mention Ryan in his Beast op-ed, the Wisconsin Republican is a perfect example of escaping Trumpism by leaving Congress: Ryan claimed, in 2018, that he wouldn’t be seeking reelection because he wanted to spend more time with his family, but it was painfully obvious that he was exhausted from Trumpism and feared that Democrats would retake the House of Representatives — which, sure enough, they did. Ryan saved himself a lot of headaches by not seeking reelection last year.
Trump’s far-right MAGA voting base loves the fact that he frustrates liberals and progressives. But as Lewis points out, he is also frustrating fellow Republicans at this point.
“Up until now, Trump’s ‘flood the zone’ style of politics has probably been more a feature than a bug,” Lewis stresses. “Whether you’re a journalist or a regular citizen, trying to keep track of this reality show feels like drinking from a firehose. Trump fatigue might have started off as a way to wear down the president’s critics, but it has ended up a way to wear down the president’s friends. And with friends like Trump, who needs enemies?”