Time and time again, Republicans have issued strongly worded statements and tweets expressing their concerns about President Donald Trump. But none of it matters, because once again, they’re likely about to vote to carry out his agenda.
This time? Confirming an accused sexual predator to the Supreme Court, selected by an accused sexual predator, so they can secure a conservative majority on the court and ensure Trump’s judicial legacy for decades to come.
Of the Republican senators who have condemned Trump through words but not action, perhaps the chief offender is Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
Flake said Friday that he planned to vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh “unless something big changed.”
“I don’t see what would,” he added.
Flake took a tiny stand last week by calling for an FBI investigation into the multiple allegations against Kavanaugh, thus delaying the confirmation vote.
“It does no good to have an investigation that gives us more cover,” Flake said Monday. “We actually need to find out what we can find out.”
But after the White House imposed limits on the scope of the probe that Democrats criticized as a sham, the investigation likely did just give lawmakers the political cover to push through Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Like Flake, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) appeared undecided and pushed for a delay in the confirmation process, urging the Senate to hear testimony from one of Kavanaugh’s accusers, Christine Blasey Ford.
On Monday, she said she was “confident that the FBI will follow up on any leads that result from the interviews” in its investigation of the assault and misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh. She also expressed concern about the president, calling his attacks on Ford “just plain wrong.”
Yet after much anticipation and drama, Collins announced Friday afternoon that she would vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
Though not a senator who was on the fence about the Supreme Court nominee, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) also tried to assume a principled stand, sort of.
Late Wednesday night, Sasse — another Republican senator who has expressed concern about Trump but has backed his policies and appointees — took to the Senate floor with an emotional speech.
He first called out lawmakers for a “broken” process and for “grandstanding” for “soundbites,” before hailing the Me Too movement as “very important” and again criticizing Trump’s inability “to restrain his impulse to divide us.”
Joining other Republicans who expressed concern about Trump openly mocking Ford earlier this week, Sasse called the president’s disgusting rant “wrong” before recounting the stories of two of his friends who are survivors of sexual assault.
Spoiler alert: By Friday morning, Sasse announced he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, whom he had defended throughout the confirmation process.