Time for G.O.P. to Threaten to Fire Trump

Republican leaders need to mount an intervention.

Comments: 218

  1. Amen

  2. You think Trump's prior cabinet was the A Team? A Secretary of Education who wants to dismantle public education? A Secretary of State with no diplomatic experience? Treasury people from Wall Street but without graduate education in economics? He STARTED with the B Team.

  3. @Shaun Eli Breidbart I have no love for T's prior cabinet, and it was never an A-Team. But I find it discouraging that at this time when, more than ever, all non-Trumpers should stand together and get serious about strategizing constructive action (goal: defeating Trump), that your email has risen to the top of Reader Picks. Myself, I can't joke about this Administration anymore...

  4. @Shaun Eli Breidbart I don’t think Friedman meant “A Team” as a term of praise. Those people were an A Team for Trump’s purposes.

  5. @Shaun Eli Breidbart More like F Troop. Will the former EPA Director, former Secretary of Interior and current Secretary of Commerce need pardons? Ken and Barbee Kushner, Junior and Eric, "Uday and Qusay" Trump?

  6. I’m no fan of Trump, but this article is bizarre. America is considered the most dangerous nation in the world by everyone except ourselves. For good reason. Think Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, Guatemala, Syria, East Timor, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Korea, just to name a few. Bush 2 was a far worse President so far, and our running of the world has been devastation. The complaints against Trump are superficial, so far. He may yet commit a real horror, but for now, I cannot help thinking that this writer and others hate him so much for the same reasons the right hated Obama. Personal.

  7. I agree that W created more damage than DJT (so far) but I don’t think the opposition to him is primarily personal. He has done incredible damage already, from the tax bill to the Supreme Court. And the potential for a complete meltdown, with unimaginable consequences, looms larger. The GOP has gotten what it wants (as noted above). Is there any chance that they might be frightened enough by the recent events to join the bandwagon for 25th Amendment or impeachment? Or will it take a military coup, led by those inspired by Gen. Mattis? I am actually dreading the next few weeks and months.

  8. @Mr. Little I am not sure how anyone can see what the Trump White House has wrought domestically and on the international stage and yet arrived at your conclusion. It is really true that people can observe the same thing and arrive at different conclusions.

  9. @Mr. Little Your fallacy is the notion that if America just minds its own business, other countries who are even less nice will do the same. They won’t. Power abhors a vacuum.

  10. I don't think they have it in them, unfortunately.

  11. @Blue Jay Being “a congenital liar” is just a symptom; psychopathy is the disease - a brain that lacks the ability to care about anyone but himself. The Republican Congressmen are not afraid of Trump; they’re afraid of the Republican voters who overwhelmingly back him. These voters are puppets of Fox News; what they believe of Trump is instilled by Fox News. Fox’s master, Rupert Murdoch, a man who, like Trump, feels no loyalty to America, is the ultimate Republican overlord; but he is rarely held personally responsible.

  12. @Blue Jay I don't see a Barry Goldwater or a James Baker in the lot of them. I hope I'm wrong.

  13. Certainly True that American and the World would be better off with Trump dumped. Regrettably unlikely that the Republican can muster the integrity to do it. When Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan were presented with evidence of Russian intervention in the elections in 2016, they declined to join in a bi-partisan condemnation. They have given absolutely no evidence of a willingness to uphold their Oath of Office since then.

  14. @Democracy / Plutocracy All it takes is for Wall Street and the oligarchy to tell the Repubs to ditch him or no more money.

  15. @Democracy / Plutocracy McConnell and Ryan not only declined to join a bi-partisan condemnation of Russia meddling. When the White House and F.B.I. showed them the evidence, they refused to have anything to do with exposing it and instead wanted it concealed, claiming it was partisan. This was the beginning of McConnell's rubber stamp on permitting Trump anything as long as McConnell gets judges and legislation his donors want.

  16. @Democracy / Plutocracy McConnell and Ryan are part of the cabal that took NRA money that was filtered into that despicable organization by Russia. It was Russian money....Mueller will continue to follow the money, but it is reasonable to wager that the silence from many Republicans is because they too have been compromised by Putin and his secret service teams.

  17. A great Friedman piece, as always. And while I sincerely hope that the GOP finds the courage to do as Tom writes, I fear they won't. The vast majority of the GOP lack the moral and ethical courage to act in defense of our country. They prefer to cower in fear of trump's "base" and their own voters. To them, their jobs, and all the lobbyist money they rake in, matter more than the future of their - OUR - country. I pray that I am wrong. And I haven't prayed in years.

  18. @Sua Sponte Sadly you are correct. The primal urge to get re-elected is stronger than crack cocaine.

  19. @Sua Sponte Of course I won’t even ask you what exactly you were doing in Beirut. I am sure you were invited by the locals to enjoy their superlative cuisine and a delightful bottle of Chateau Musar from the Bekaa Valley. Gaston Hochar is one of the best wine makers I had the pleasure of tasting some of his masterpieces. Next time you are in the neighborhood please try some.

  20. Friedman has been writing columns for many years telling world leaders what they ought or ought not to do. I cannot think of any occasion when any of them has taken his advice, and I doubt they will in this case either. GOP politicians care about what their voters think, not what folks at The Times think. So long as a solid majority of GOP voters support Trump, so will they. Their thought process is, "If I call out Trump it won't change his behavior, but it may get him to support my primary opponent in the next election, which will mean either that I'll get replaced by some nut job or we will lose the seat to a Democrat. So what's the point?"

  21. @Mrsfenwick The GOP's donor class can tolerate misogyny, racism, juvenile tweets and more, but threatening their wealth with a market crash is quite another matter. We already see members of Congress starting to voice criticism and it's likely to get worse. As for the base, realizing that his promises of manufacturing jobs are hollow, watching the hit their 401K's are taking and worsening of their healthcare insurance options will erode his popularity. The GOP was wounded by the recent midterms. They have to be worried that 2020 might turn into a bloodbath. Nothing is certain, but for the first time, I see the possibility that his party might turn on him.

  22. "GOP politicians care about what their voters think " Unfortunately, they *ought* to care about what *all* voters think.

  23. So it’s all about keeping their jobs. What ever happened to honor, country, morality

  24. I love you, Tom. But there is about as much chance of the Republicans doing what you suggest as Trump abandoning his Twitter account in favor of reading a briefing paper. The GOP long ago became the party of Trump and abrogated their responsibility to protect and defend the Constitution, much less their constituents.

  25. @Lew Unfortunately Lew is right: the Rkons have dug themselves so deep in their fetid hole that they are afraid to come back out. No one can ever again trust those who supported Dumpf. re the 25th Amendment, who is left in the cabinet to counter Dumpf? No one can imagine Pence ever doing anything forthright. Impeachment is our only hope.

  26. @Lew The Republican Party is run by big corporate donors, once they have had enough of Trump he’s toast. I suspect they are almost there.

  27. Tom , you have said it all. It is sad but true. Please listen Mitch McConnell. America can and must do so much better than Trump. Will a Republican challenger please stand up to Trump? I am a conservative democrat but will vote for a Republican challenger in 2020 if he or she is a person of integrity who will uphold our constitution and bring sanity back to the White House.

  28. @jpe Republican and integrity in the same sentence is an oxymoron.

  29. The GOP will not get rid of Donald Trump unless the stream of conservative judges the Senate is approving is stopped and linked to Trump. This is all they care about. Find a few honest GOP senators who are willing to vote no for every judge who comes up for a vote unless Trump leaves and something could happen. Of course, what I wrote is fantasy, so we will have two more years of this craziness, at least. Let's not assume the American electorate won't do this again.

  30. Excellent Tom. The markets are voting and going to make the GOP Senators feel an excruciating amount of pain, so much so, that they will have no choice.

  31. @Northcountry By the time the markets hurt GOP lawmakers they will have destroyed many middle class savers and retirees. We don't get big Federal pensions, we only have our personal savings and Social Security.And the Republicans will probably go after Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and unemployment insurance.

  32. Until the gazillionaires who fund the Republicans' reelection campaigns feel the pain in their pocketbooks, it is pointless to expect the GOP to do anything to remove Trump. Not until Trump's base viscerally understands that HE is the cause of their economic pain and not the answer to it, not until Trump's base understands that the GOP is the reason they are left behind, and not until the GOP begins to feel the economic pinch and voters desert the party, only then and only maybe then will the Republicans in power consider removing Trump from the Presidency. Until then, they have no incentive to change the status quo.

  33. Certainly, damage has been done. I am worried that it may be too late to remove him without serious consequences to our democracy. In my opinion, Pence might actually be worse, because he would have his own agenda and would work toward more extreme Republican goals. I favor, allowing the Supreme Court to nullify the 2016 Election, removing Trump, Pence, the entire Cabinet, and three Supreme Court Justices from office. Democracy can be messy, at times, it isn't pretty, but all of us deserve much better that what we have received over the past two years. I am absolutely terrified and horrified over what might happen. We need to remember what happened with the 2016 Election and make the necessary solutions/changes so that this never happens again. Mr. Friedman, I agree with your column, but I think Pence might be worse.

  34. "nullify the 2016 Election, removing Trump, Pence, the entire Cabinet, and three Supreme Court Justices from office" Kathleen, this is the best idea yet. (But so far I count two, not three.)

  35. @Kathleen It's absurd to think that Mike Pence would pose the kind of danger to the country and the world that Trump does. I see this often in comments, and it's never from anyone with an Indiana location who has actually observed Pence in action from day to day. Pence is an ordinary politician with conservative Christian views that are particularly repulsive when it comes to gender roles. He lacks Trump's louche charisma and ability to inspire cult devotion; his reelection to a second term as Indiana governor was in doubt when Trump tapped him as VP. As governor, he was nowhere near as diabolically destructive of the norms of governance as Scott Walker or Sam Brownback—he lacked the steel and spine. Really, if he couldn't bend the state of Indiana to his will, do you think he could somehow occupy the White House with the mad-emperor petulance of Trump? If you are afraid of Mike Pence as something worse than Trump, then you don't understand what Trump is and why his presidency is so frightening.

  36. @C Wolfe I see Pence as being more dangerous, but in a different way. He would obviously continue the right -wing agenda, the war on women, etc. He does scare me as much, if not more than Trump. On the other hand, would Congress stand up to Pence? I don't know the answer, but I would hope so.

  37. I disagree that "Vice President Mike Pence could not possibly be worse." Pence may not be mentally unhinged, but he is on board with all of Trump's domestic policies + has his own obsession with rolling back both women's reproductive rights and gay rights. All I want for Christmas to for Mueller to report that BOTH Trump and Pence are legally comprised regarding Russia and the 2016 election after January 1. President Pelosi would be the perfect gift.

  38. @mindy There is zero chance of that happening. Overwhelming evidence may lead to impeachment and removal of Trump, but Republicans won't go along with it unless Pence becomes president, so they still get to pack the courts with young, right wing extremist, activist judges, which is what their base cares about the most. No matter how strong the evidence against Pence, they would never vote to remove him if it meant Pelosi would become president.

  39. @mindy The best thing about Pence is, he's boring and has no 'base.' So although Trump can dog-whistle and rally "hugely", and dominate the press, I don't believe Pence can do that. Even conservatives say, "Oh Pence! (yawn)" which suits me fine.

  40. @mindy I think Pence is actually a real weirdo, what with his calling his wife "mother" and not being able to dine with another woman without "mother" being present.

  41. GOP politicians became political mistresses of Trump during his campaign Then they decided to become married to him for better or worse 'till death do they part There are those that may be realizing that this marriage might have been a mistake and want a divorce In politics this is called impeachment They especially GOP senators need to hire the legal team of Pelosi and Schumer better known as Nancy and Chuck to represent them and start legal proceedings ASAP so they can legally dissolve their sordid union with Trump with as little pain as necessary for the children: the American citizens

  42. Tom, GOP officeholders are not in control here. Faux News and the conservative scream machine is in control here, by continually misleading an increasingly radicalized GOP base - the base that GOP elected officials need to turn to be reelected, and hence are terrified of. GOP officeholders will not step in until the conservative media turns against Trump. At what point will that happen? Your guess is as good as mine. As it is, this media continues to daily define deviancy down, by supporting literally the worst human being to ever hold the Presidency, and the worst President in American history. At the end of the day, I fear that only a complete stock market meltdown will convince the Rupert Murdochs of the world that their financial bet on Trump has not paid off, and they now need to cut bait.

  43. @Matthew Carnicelli Yes. And thanks Bill Clinton for revoking the fairness doctrine.

  44. @Gem The FCC vote was 1987, no? That would have been Bush Sr's presidency.

  45. @Gem Ugh. That was done during the Reagan Administration.

  46. Remember when the Republicans threw a fit because Obama wore a tan suit to work? Now, they're putting up with a paranoid, immature, no-nothing solely because he's a white Republican. How I wish we had a real president, even if he wears a tan suit.

  47. @Linda Yes, Linda. The GOP mantra, when things are going well for the Democrats, lets find something really petty to go after. Note, they don't offer solutions of substance, but are all over it to tell Obama he should wear a blue or gray suit. Brilliant!

  48. @Linda "Know-nothing" Republicans don't care about "real".

  49. @Linda Obama looked good in that tan suit. What an intelligent, educated and respectful American he was, a fine person in the White House.

  50. Fully agree. Right on. Hey GOP Senate (forget the hopeless GOP House which thank God is departing) , if America were a company, and the GOP Senate were the Board of Directors, and Trump was CEO of the company, and Trump was making decisions that the Board strongly disagreed with and threatened the integrity and well-being of the company and its shareholders, and Trump was making these decisions solely on his own and against the advice of his own company advisers, the Board would be beyond gross negligence in not dismissing him ASAP. Is that language that you can understand?

  51. @Ken They understand it. They're just too encumbered by dark Russian rubles to do anything about it. Mark my words: The president isn't the only one beholden to their foreign benefactors. #leverage

  52. @Ken Potus does understand "You're fired"! Listen up, Senators!

  53. Trump would not back down from that threat. He would escalate by threatening to ruin the Republican party for decades, which he could do. You still don't understand how Trump works. After WW2, the US offered Japan and Europe a deal: Establish democracies, eschew war, focus on economic development, and the US will guarantee your security while providing a fair system for world trade and finance. This was quite separate from the cold war, although the USSR was what the security blanket came to be protecting Europe and Japan from. That guarantee by the US, which asked for little in return, set the stage for the triumph of liberal democracy, the peace and prosperity that we celebrated at the end of the last century. Moving back to a world where the US, Europe, and the rest of the world simply pursue their own interests puts us back to a poorer and much more dangerous world, the world of 1914. That's what Trump and most Americans don't understand. American hegemony was never about winning a cold war military conflict with Russia and China. It was about providing a safe environment for liberal democracy to flourish, particularly in Japan and western Europe. The American system was so successful that the USSR and communist China gave up without a (big) fight. That success, and the peace and prosperity it brought, is what we risk losing by simply "acting in our own interests". In the long run, our own interests are the interests of liberal democracy everywhere.

  54. @Tom, and it worked pretty well, but that was just the sales brochure. What was being protected was the growth of industry and the exploitation of undeveloped countries. The USSR (Russia) didn't just give up. It was literally starved to death, and incorporated into the system, initially as a consumer, but eventually as a player of competitive proportions. Now a whole generation of Russians who were taught that capitalists are criminals have managed to prove that their fathers were right. While a benevolent monarchy may be beneficial, it's only for the life of one king. Churchill was right: Democracy is the absolutely worst system, except for all the others. Meanwhile, China...

  55. @Tom Agreed. I remember a time when it was the goal of the U.S. to spread and empower liberal democracy everywhere. To be patriotic meant to embrace those values and to support them, not to wave a flag and spew insults at anyone who disagrees with you. Neither did it mean to proselytize Christianity. Our Constitution guaranteed "freedom of religion," thereby insuring freedom from state-run religion. By inviting the church into the state, the GOP has changed the U.S. in many ways, none of them good.

  56. @Tom Affronted as ever that you state liberal democracy was brought to Europe thanks to yourselves. Europe (and Canada) fought for it long before you entered the fray.

  57. A thoughtful indictment based especially on recent events. Like Friedman, I was strongly against impeachment but unless Trump can be reined in, it might be our only alternative. One of Trump's biggest problems is that he can never admit (even to himself) that he is wrong, and so he can never learn from his own mistakes.

  58. @Charles Schuster Forget impeachment. Indict and try and throw the sentencing book at him!

  59. @SouthernLiberal There is a lot of doubt as to whether a sitting president CAN be indicted. Impeachment is the remedy specified in the Constitution.

  60. People should be reminded that change/disruption is very different from progress, which implies steps towards the achievement of beneficial goals. 1. Are we creating more jobs? Well, job creation in Trump's first 22 months was slower than Obama's last 22 months, so we're not making progress there. The good news is even somewhat slower job creation is enough to keep the unemployment rate falling, as it has since 2010. 2. Are we covering more people with health insurance? No, for the first time since 2010, we actually had more people uninsured versus the prior year (2017 vs. 2016), thanks to Trump's ACA sabotage. 3. Are we putting our national fiscal trajectory on a sustainable path? No, Trump has added 60% to the 2018 deficit and 45% to the 2018-2027 debt addition trajectory, versus the CBO forecast when he was inaugurated. 4. Have we fixed Social Security, to avoid the 25% decline in payments that will happen in the early 2030's under current law? No plans yet. By making the deficit worse, fixing the Social Security shortfall has become more difficult. 5. Do we have a plan to reduce healthcare costs, which are about $10,000 per person vs. $6,000 for the best European systems? No plans as of yet. It isn't about change, it's about progress, and we're heading the wrong direction. Americans, not just Democrats, should insist on progress.

  61. @David Doney, As much as Americans seem impressed by "meritocracy," goal setting and winning, they are oblivious to facts. They want a good show. It doesn't matter if Trump actually accomplishes anything as long as he "speaks his mind." Never mind that lately, every time he speaks his mind, someone's life is affected negatively, and neither he nor his party seem to care.

  62. @David Doney Thank you for a concise, drama-free assessment of our national needs -- and the lack of progress we've made under Trump. Well done.

  63. "Vice President Mike Pence could not possibly be worse." Questionable. That would depend on the willingness of the VP to be guided by people with knowledge of history, governing, internal national issues and the importance of world alliances. Would Pence be able to draw in intelligent centrists who see the value of maintaining the United States role in the world as it has been built since the end of WWII? Or would Pence set about further tearing down democracy to replace the democracy with a theocracy? This is the man who defined himself by his religion first; "I am a Christian, a conservative and a Republican". Left out of that loyalties pledge list was I am an American. That is a problem.

  64. @Myrasgrandotter Pence's pledge is revealing. "Conservative" precedes Republican, and American is not on the list. My theory is that those two groups don't consider themselves "American" as in part of the whole. Americans as a group are not relevant to their plans, and need not be considered when consequences are weighed, because they're not of the owner class. "Conservatives" and Republicans have demonstrated clearly that they are interested in money and power only, not in governing or even pretending to govern. They are a purely destructive force now selling the US for parts. Pence is lying in wait while he impersonates a human being.

  65. "Vice-President Pence could not possibly be worse." I am not so sure. To the extent that Trump stands for anything other than himself, they have the same policies. With the exception of the trade business, Trump has basically followed the Republican playbook- feed the rich, take healthcare away, destroy public education. And Pence will be more effective at implementing that (who wouldn't). Other than blowing up the world (don't know the Vegas odds on that), I'd rather have Trump bring down the whole Republican party with him. Let the progressive era begin in 2020.

  66. @Peter Wolf I would rather have Pence in control of nuclear weapons than Trump. At least he is rational.

  67. @Peter Wolf Pence is weird and not particularly bright but not nuts.

  68. @Peter Wolf Well, not blowing up the world is something.

  69. The chaos that Trump has brought about and will bring about is straight out of the Vladimir Putin playbook to destabilize the world to allow Russian hegemony unless Trump is swiftly removed. Mr. Friedman is correct that the removal needs to start with the Republicans. Only the Republicans have the votes to control an impeachment conviction outcome. Why they haven't done so with Mike Pence a suitable 2 year caretaker is because of Trump's appeal to his base and the fear that a Pence caretaker Presidency will produce a Democratic victory in 2020. Unfortunately I think we will need to await a major negative event clearly caused by Trump before the Republicans are persuaded in sufficient numbers to join the Democrats in an Impeachment conviction.

  70. @Speculator Seems to me the cumulative effect of the tens of stupid moves by Trump equals at least one "major event?"

  71. @JKberg in normal politics that would be true but the present Republican Party is so beholden to the super rich that benefited from the recent tax cut and also seek the destruction of social programs that only a truly major event like a depression, terrorist attack or war will shake lose that alliance. I don't even believe that evidence from the Mueller Report of a complete sellout to the Russians would be enough to shake the loyalty of the super rich to Trump. They don't care if Trump helps the Russians run the world as long as taxes are as low as possible,

  72. @Speculator That may be changing. After all, Thomas Friedman is very closely linked to the super-rich, and his opinion may noy be unique any more in that sphere.

  73. The presidents vision does seem to be disruption without a plan for what comes next. There is a real crisis and instability caused by having such an impulsive, provocative leader who thrives on sowing division, and creating constant chaos in the White House. Key vacant positions have been left without qualified people, highly qualified people are resigning because of impulsive decisions where they have been left out of the loop, there is uncertainty about trade deficits, concern over financial markets, rampant dishonesty and misrepresentation of facts, his closeness to autocrats and dictators, pushing away our allies, misusing the shutdown for his own ends, many investigations into possible serious wrongdoing, and the list goes on... The president needs to admit his almost complete lack of experience in government and yes, the Republicans need to intervene and threaten to fire Trump unless there is real change in how he conducts himself, and protect the vital interests of our country.

  74. @Sally "unless there is real change in the way that he conducts himself" and pigs sprout wings. An individual with a serious personality disorder, by definition is unable to monitor and correct his behavior, dispite all the "or else's".in the world.

  75. Of course, the Republicans will have to initiate terminating POTUS's employment. The Democrats mission should be to make the political life of POTUS miserable; not to empower VP Pence, a competent politician and a man just as dangerous to the Republic as POTUS. The VP would seem to want Christian Shaira, a state run on theocratic norms, desired by a small segment of the population, to reverse social justice gains made by women and by LBQTQ and to marginalize those of different faith and those of no faith. The VP is a true movement conservative who probably favors ripping apart the safety net. The Democrats' first order of business should be a positive set of new legislation, shout down by a do nothing senate. By investigating POTUS, his family, and his business ties, the Democrats might be able to politically emasculate him and energize a successful campaign for the White House and for Congress. If the Republicans turn on POTUS, they might actually be punished by his base. The Republicans will stick with POTUS because he has helped them deliver a huge tax cut for the wealth and deregulation or business, at the expense of environmental safety and terrifying deficit.

  76. @Arthur Agreed. The Republicans will go down with the ship.

  77. The Pence Plan: 1) Trump agrees to step back from major role in presidency or face impeachment which the GOP will affirm. We'll let him have the glamor glory of the office and be a figurehead, but Pence and his team run things. 2) In exchange he has to agree a) no more tweets b) no more attacks on anyone c) all his outgoing press has to be reviewed, no more press conferences. He also has to agree to not run in 2020 and to support the nominee.

  78. It’s more likely that Santa Claus is real, and coming to dump presents down your chimney tonight.

  79. @Dano50 I offer that he, Trump be exiled to Mar a Loco with not internet, no cell service, no landline and have that grand and beautiful wall he so desperately needs built around his palace-not to keep people out, to keep him in.

  80. @Dano50 No -- just no. Kick him to the curb. And do it sooner, rather than later.

  81. The "GOP" that this author references is not the old GOP. Instead, it is Democrats like Mr. Friedman- who favor globalism/free trade, strong interventionist foreign policy including endless wars in Syria/Iraq,Afghanistan, open borders with lax immigration enforcement, buying most of our goods from China with no protection for American workers, identify politics based upon race/gender/sexual orientation and the list goes on. The people who voted for Trump are the new GOP. They are completely behind what Trump is doing. If Friedman wants Trump fired, then Democrats will need to win on those policies in 2020. That is unlikely - look at the list - it is "America Last".

  82. Thank God that Trump's base is a minority. It is up majority to demand action and also to vote. The GOP has ceased to be a political party in that they do not disagree with Trumph. The GOP is harming the country.

  83. @Dan The last part of your first paragraph has some merit, but the rest of it has little basis in fact. You might want to do some research on what happened between 2001 and 2008, for example, before recycling the same easily debunked talking points. You might want to do some research on the number of deportations from 2009 to 2016 rather than repeating the same old nonsense about who wants "open borders." Facts matter.

  84. @Dan I guess we see history from our own perspectives. As I view it, the Republican Party has long been the champion of free trade, at least before DT. Indeed, globalism was the Republican mantra. It is somewhat laughable to claim that it was the Democrats who gave us Chinese goods without protecting American workers. We import Chinese goods and export American jobs. Strong interventionist foreign policy? Remind me who got us into Iraq and Afghanistan. As for open borders, that is such an overused and phony claim that it has become trite. I agree with one statement you made, though: Trump supporters are the new GOP. The race-pure, Christian (in name, not in policy), misogynistic, xenophobic and rapidly shrinking GOP. As women, millennials and all minorities reject the party that has rejected them, I don't see a very bright future for your Party.

  85. Thanks again, Mr. Friedman for your commonsense voice. We are all in peril, the time for action is upon us. Are there any Republicans with the courage to speak up? You would think Mattis falling on his sword would generate a little courage among conservatives. Democrats are afraid to overplay their hand. History will judge those who kept silent.

  86. I had previously thought that it would be safest to have the Democrats in Congress keep Trump in check and effectively neutered, because Pence was likely to be more sneaky and effective at pushing through radical conservative and Christian policies. Now, I'm worried that Congress may not have enough checks on Executive branch power to prevent Trump from doing immense damage to America and the world, even if the Congressional Republicans' lockstep support weakens and some of them finally start opposing him. It does not seem to be safe anymore to wait until the end of his term, even if he loses the 2020 presidential election.

  87. The silver lining to the Trump storm cloud is the destruction of the traditional Republican party. Since the catastrophic implementation of Reagan's slogan "Government is not the solution, government is the problem", Republicans have had a singular mission of cutting taxes, particularly for the wealthy. Oliver Wendell Holmes famously said "I love taxes. They buy me civilization." America became great and more civilized during and after the second world war as the result of acceptance of the importance of government for not just our protection, but our infrastructure, education at all levels, and research and development. The Republican party has made us less great and less civilized. Good riddance!

  88. Your view of Trump is one-sided. In foreign policy, he has disrupted the liberal internationalism that has guided American foreign policy since 1945. It was well described in Dean Acheson's important memoir, "Present at the Creation." That policy led to a series of limited but vicious wars the U.S. fought in Korea, Viet-Nam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. We also engaged in a civil war in Greece on the side of right-wing army officers, and toppled legitimately elected governments in Iran, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and Chile. Unlike every president since, except for Jimmy Carter, Trump is disengaging from other countries and has not fought any new wars. He has threatened to intervene in Cuba and Venezuela, but so far has not. He has avoided rigidity and overconfidence in foreign affairs. Perhaps intuitively he has a sense of the limitations of American power in a new environment. In 1945, American was the world colossus. It was the only nuclear power, and had the industrial and economic strength to restore the devastated countries of Europe with the Marshall Plan. Today, it is one among several other titans, including Russia and China. Like England in 1945, we have lost an empire, and must adjust to our new position. Foreign policy is mostly the purview of the executive. In domestic policy, Trump is cabined by Congress and the Courts, especially the Republican Congress, which has held to a policy of cutting taxes since Reagan.

  89. The unwritten 'norms and values' of the presidency are like the ligaments and tendons that tie the body's bones and muscles together, with just enough flexibility and 'give' so that the occasional shock does not cause real damage. The bones and muscles are like the written laws, and - perhaps strangely - a broken bone or stretched muscle is not as serious, long-term, as ripped ligaments and tendons. In fact, a once-broken bone can be stronger after it is healed than it was before. But ripped ligments and tendons do not simply snap back into place when the stress is removed. In fact, this can become a life-long disability. Once Trump is gone, there are years of political and psychic therapy ahead, if we are lucky.

  90. Mr. Friedman writes that "the time is long past for [the GOP] rise to confront this crisis of American leadership." Long past indeed. And what makes Mr. Friedman think that the Republican leadership will suddenly say to itself, "You know, we have to admit that we really should have threatened Trump with impeachment long ago"? Mr. Friedman still hasn't taken the measure of the moment. Trump is a symptom of a Republican Party that "long ago" rejected a fact-based understanding of the world, embracing instead a paranoid, conspiracy-driven culture of fear and hatred for "others," including other non-Republican Americans, that rejected America's bedrock pluralist constitutional tradition in favor of more and more openly authoritarian politics. It needs to be said that Mr. Friedman and other pundits of a similar stature should have recognized this utter moral collapse of the Republican Party long ago. But they didn't, and they still don't. I see no reason to expect that they will soon.

  91. @TMSquared Excellent comment! In many ways Friedman is delusional. Only with severe prosecutions and possibly executions of senior republican traitors can we begin to cleanse our nation.

  92. Well, the country needs 20 republican senators to come to their senses after the democratic house votes for impeachment following the publishing of Mr Mueller's investigation. Whether we actually go to an impeachment or whether Mr McConnell and Ms Pelosi sit him down in the Oval Office and offer him a deal to resign, it will still require the 20 republicans. The next 12 months will be one of the most politically important years in the history of our nation.

  93. On the other hand, if Trump manages to finish his term, I think the accumulated damage would put a lot of pressure on congress to finally do away with the archaic electoral college. I'm willing to pay the price.

  94. @MMM - I agree 'the accumulated damage would put a lot of pressure on congress to finally do away with the archaic electoral college.' However, I'm not too sure I am willing to pay the price. In his remaining two years Trump could totally destroy US credibility (he's well on the way), the stock market and world trading (he's well on the way), our revered democratic rule of law (he's well on the way), any national social consciousness of the diversity of our nation (he's well on the way). That's if he doesn't totally sell us out to Putin (again, he's well on his way). Will there be any air worth breathing left? Will there be any land left untouched by drilling, or mining? Will there be anything left of all the environmental protections put in place over the last 20 years for us to enjoy, besides our children and grandchildren? Will we be able to stop the insidious fascism that is beginning to invade all walks of American life? I don't think I want to chance the further damage that can be caused by this man's infantile 'gut instincts', narcissistic behavior, or consuming need for control and approval. It will already take some years to reverse actions taken by his stupidity and a Republican congress that hasn't got the backbone to admit their mistake in backing him in the face of the disaster that he is for my country, and your country.

  95. Agreed. But what to do? I suggest as a small first step that Congress ought to immediately reconvene and pass a veto proof CR and reopen the government. That will not solve the problem of our demented dictator but it will show that Congress is willing and able to stand up to him. And it would tell the markets that there are adults in the room. This should then be followed by other concrete steps that look like governing once Democrats take control of the House. The weak link in this plan is whether there are enough Senate Republicans to go along with it.

  96. The success of impeachment would not be a question if Senate representation actually reflected the population of the states more realistically. If Wyoming has two, California should have 50. At least.

  97. @FilmMD We are the United States of America. Each state needs to have equal representation in the Senate, otherwise the big states will walk all over the little states. The people in each state should have some power to decide how their state should be. Representation by population in the House should be enough to balance out the Senate, as long as it is not overcome by gerrymandering. If anything has to change, it should be the electoral college.

  98. @FilmMD The ratio of California's 39.54 million population (2017 Census figure) to Wyoming's .3954 million is 68. Wyoming senators would have a phenomenally lopsided advantage if it ever came to voting not to impeach our stark raving Tweeter-in-Chief. They certainly had it when it came to voting in favor of a raving self-righteous judge, Brett Kavanaugh.

  99. @Al Bennett The size of the landmass people sit on should have no influence whatever. What matters is the will of the people. As for gerrymandering, you know as well as anybody it is epidemic.

  100. Trump has done the bidding of Mitch McConnell and Heritage Foundation by filling the Federal bench with conservative judges- and appointing 2 [and soon 3] picks to the Supreme Court. The GOP is going to leave Trump right where he is - and only hope he will vacate the White House in 2024.

  101. Thank you, Mr. Friedman, for this lucid, comprehensive, and compelling analysis. I am pessimistic that our Republican leadership will in fact provide the leadership you point out is so sorely needed. But we all need to pay attention to ALL the details of your analysis if anyone is going to be able to step up to make change happen.

  102. There is nothing in the past actions of Mitch McConnell that would even remotely indicate that he could follow this path. McConnell has shown time and time again that he will put up with anything in order to achieve the legislative and judicial agenda of his corporate minders - including a disaster in the White House.

  103. @Bill W Karma has got to catch up with Mitch somehow. Politics is a dirty business, ok, but he took it to the level of evil, starting the day Obama took office up until the present moment...

  104. Our only hope is for Trump to switch parties. If he became a Democratic he’d be gone before the end of the year.

  105. @Conrad HA! That's why he switched his party affiliation for the start of his 2015 run. He knew very well Republicans would turn a blind eye to anything he did providing the money rolled into their pockets. It did and they have. It's up to all of us all over the country to put our Congresspeople on the hot seat and make it crystal clear that yhey won't be allowed to weasel out of their responsibility.

  106. They're more of their Trump-lovin' voters than they are of Trump taking the nation down in flames with him. Trump just said: "Mitch McConnell just told a group of people, and me, that he has been in the U.S. Senate for 32 years and the last two have been by far the best & most productive of his career." I don't doubt he said these things. McConnell has a lot riding on the Trump presidency and his continued patronage by the Kochs. He has a wife in the cabinet and many, many corporate interests happy to fill his and the Senate GOP coffers. I don't see McConnell pulling the plug on Trump any time soon. The Republicans are unconcerned with the damage Trump and his administration have been doing. Rolling everything back to pre-1861 was the plan all along and that is exactly what they've been doing. Only something major, perhaps a Mueller filing of serious charges against the Trump children and Jared Kushner, may shake the GOP awake. Until then, Trump holds all the cards through "the base." --- Things Trump Did While You Weren’t Looking https://wp.me/p2KJ3H-2ZW

  107. @Rima Regas I fear you are correct. I hold McConnell in as much or more disgust as the Donald. What a horrid moment GOP faux_gold _plated pig trough’s!

  108. Sad but true when speaking of this president which makes me think that the presidency has evolved into a position with too much power. The constitution gave us three branches of government as a checks and balance on each other. What the last two years have proven, and maybe even further back in time, is that the president has taken a disproportionate amount of power at the expense of the Congress. Congress has acceded its power to support this president and that falls mainly on the shoulders of Senator McConnell and Speaker Ryan. We need to, as a country, find a way to take power away from the president and redistribute it back to the People via congress. It’s clear that living day-to-day, on pins and needles, wondering what the president will do next, is no way to live.

  109. Agreed, but I am not optimistic. The steady drip-drip of corruption and lowering of the bar on expectations has normalized much of what Friedman describes. How does change happen, if everyone expects to be able to save face?

  110. So Trump is replaced by his stooge and accomplice Pence who has loyally collaborated in the creation of this mess. The Republicans are in any case not going to remove him because three quarters of their voters think him wonderful. Sorry Mr Friedman you are being totally naïve and unrealistic. Alas we are stuck with Trump for the next two years.

  111. @John Indeed stooge. I picture these two as Frank and Claire Underwood...

  112. Trump doesn't listen to the Republican leadership. In fact, the only step McConnell can take that will get his attention is to signal support for impeachment. That is a high bar for sure and Trump will go nuclear if it happens. Face it, this will not have a happy ending, so choosing the lesser of evils is the best that will come of this. I encourage people to please stop fantasizing that Trump will resign or go away quietly after Mueller issues his report. This coming year is going to be really bad on all fronts. Get ready for it.

  113. Down on one knee, in praise and thanks for Thomas Friedman's honest, clear-eyed, calm, caring and thoughtful conclusions on this American debacle. We the people MUST rise up, directly or through our duly elected officials, regardless of party, to rights the wrongs that are leaning the planet off its proper axis. There is madness on the global doorstep - we must be the world's doorstop.

  114. Just imagine the upheaval should Ruth Bader Ginsburg have to retire from the Supreme Court for health reasons while Trump/Pence/McConnell are in office. The crisis is already well upon us.

  115. I suspect the Republicans will find their consciences only when their largest donors instruct them to. Until then, they will continue to stand silent as the absolute foundations of our democracy are dismantled. I truly wonder how they sleep at night.

  116. To correct this ship, we need the repeal of Citizens United and the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine.

  117. @Upstage the Instigators If the fairness doctrine was reinstated there would be many political hacks out of work in the broadcast world. Hmm. Not a bad idea.

  118. 38% approval rating, but 80% are Republicans. He has 56 million followers on twitter and likely most of them support him. Fox & Friends has and endless supply of candidates to fill vacancies. VP Pence is nowhere to be found. Congress during this crisis just ups and leaves for holiday. And Trump marches on. I don't see Republicans standing up to him, quite the contrary, they avoid him like the plague. Or more so, as though he isn't even there. They just dabble along waiting for the Democrats and Mueller to fix it come next year.

  119. His cabinet is doing just what the Republicans want in the way of policy. Why do you think they would intervene?

  120. President Madman will not be impeached. Why? He's still the GOP's best bet for a 2020 reelection and remaining in power another 4 years. Their concern for the American Republic has been nonexistent for some time. This group of non-patriots know full well the Democrats have major issues going into 2020 (e.g., we're still talking Bernie as a legitimate candidate) and will bank on the Dems stepping all over themselves again. Sorry for the cold shower but this won't end unless Mueller can convince the GOP to end the madness.

  121. @Michael -- "the Democrats have major issues going into 2020 (e.g., we're still talking Bernie as a legitimate candidate)" If you think you can elect a Hillary-clone this time around, you'll just re-elect Trump or worse.

  122. The truth is that Trump would not be able to do all the damage he's doing without a lot complicity from his party. So frankly the Republican party is just as much if nto *more* responsible for Trump and the damage he's doing to the US as Trump is himself. And I'm also tired of Republicans saying they don't like him but support him because other people decided to make him their leader. He started the GOP primaries at less than 10% support and slowly grew it to 50%+ - the people in his party had every opportunity to stop his rise but they *chose* not to, and supported him despite all of his obvious flaws. So this is on the Republican Party's head as a whole. I only hope in the years to come as we look back on this mess they will be able to take *personal responsibility* for their mistakes and...you know...learn from them - the same thing they like to constantly whine and complain about *others* not doing in America. So do the mature thing, take responsibility for this situation and FIX YOUR MESS GOP. 'nuff said

  123. I agree with Tom, Pence" could not possibly do any worse because we have a Democratic House and most of the damage he may want to do can at least be stopped. In the end, it will be up to the Supreme Court to show if they will put their country first before Republicanism especially with the four conservative judges (2 of whom was appointed by trump). The problem is that this group of republican sycophants unless something knocks them in the head won't do what is necessary to get rid of this cancer on the nation. But we can always pray and hope.

  124. @dupr -> "we can always pray and hope" Nope. Enough with the "hopes and prayers" response, we need something that works. Like action and more action. This man isn't just endangering our fellow Americans, he is endangering billions of people around the world. It's time we did something about that. If Republicans are so enamored with their political "prizes" that they refuse to take responsibility for the welfare of our nation and the world, then we vote them ALL out in 2020. The time for talk is over. It's time we stand up and be counted, and make sure our voices are heard.

  125. @dupr How long will we have to wait for Mr. Friedman to conclude that it is true that Pence is or could be worse than Trump? When it's too late? As long as it took him to realize Trump is awful and needs to be boxed in? Pence would be worse because he is a more palatable politician whose political beliefs are just as wrong as Trump's. It is foolishness to say Pence couldn't possibly be any worse. He most certainly would be.

  126. This is not the time for angry and divisive talk, although I am very angry about what Trump has done to our Country. Yet calm level heads must proceed with haste as Friedman has said to disrupt the disruptor. Whatever happens Trump will look to blame someone. It is time for Fox and Friends to tell Trump that he must resign immediately and hopefully he will follow their advice as he did with the infamous wall.

  127. not so fast; i'd say let's wait until nancy pelosi takes over as the 2nd in line. republicans wanted trump so badly and now need to take responsibility. no need for a pence interregnum period.

  128. The problem with your analysis, and for the country, is that it fails to recognize the entire Republican party is complicit. There's little doubt the vice president was part of the scheme to work with the Russians to win the election. The Republican party has actively covered-up these crimes by allowing political operatives, i.e., David Nunes, to preside over investigations. In the senate Mitch McConnell has actively prevented protections for Robert Mueller to make to the floor. So while it's conceivable the Republicans will turn against Trump if they believe he's become an election albatross, that's really doesn't solve our problem about what to do with the rest of the criminal Republican party. Trump must go, but so too my all his enablers.

  129. You're right Tom. Some of us have been saying this for months. Maybe the first step is to convince these enablers that Trump can't actually help them get elected, but rather defeated. Not getting re-elected scares them to death and drives their every decision. That need is more addictive than some back alley street drug.

  130. If we let "Trump be Trump" we risk his mental instability plunging America and the World into authoritarianism. Yes, it can happen here. By all rational accounts the 2016 presidential election was tainted - the Russian intrusion had a much greater effect on the electorate - with assistance from "Trump TV" and Trump trailed by nearly three million votes. Pence is as illegitimate as Trump and therefore I don't want him anywhere near a lever of power.

  131. It had better work. Otherwise it will just make him more paranoid, if that is possible.

  132. Trump will never resign. He would rather take the GOP down with him in 2020. In bizarro Trump world, McConnell will beg Pelosi to impeach Trump, but she will say no.

  133. He is our modern-day Caligula and Nero rolled into one. How many other dictators have become unhinged and wreaked havoc on their nation and the world, while their party stood complacently by and watched because they wanted to cling to power? The GOP has become the party of power at all costs...other people's and other nations' costs, that is. And they have learned the lesson of having a stooge in the WH (starting with Reagan) as a frontman who they can manipulate. This one may be insane and not yet beyond their control...they will keep pulling his strings (through Fox News) as long as it allows them to maintain power. They've shown they don't care about free elections (Wisconsin comes to mind) as a source of their power. As the noose tightens and he becomes more desperate, the GOP will stun us with what they will tolerate. They are devoid of morals or they would have admitted long before he was elected that he's stone-cold unfit for office.

  134. As long as Trump maintains the ability to sic his base and media supporters on independent thinkers within his own party it is foolish to expect Congressional Republicans to show courage. Just ain't gonna happen. Two big truths explain GOP dynamics: First, the main job of all modern politicians is to get reelected; and Second, his base knows he's a lying sleeze, but he's their lying sleeze. Can Trump survive until 2020? I doubt it, but more expect a resignation, rather than an impeachment. The job's not turning out to be as much fun as he expected.

  135. I'm a portrait and nature artist. I've sketched thousands of animals, and thousands of human faces. Trump eyes most resemble those of a reptile. Let your representatives know that you'll be satisfied with nothing less than the banishment of this man from government.

  136. I only wish we had the B team or for matter, at this point in time, the C team. No what we have are the playground pick-ups, who typically stand outside the playground fence looking for an opportunity to take the place of an injured player---even with pick-up's, you let them play---evening out the sides, but never pass them the ball.

  137. I don't think Trump expected to win. More alarmingly, I don't think he wanted to win. He mounted a campaign purely for the ego boost, the notoriety and the money he could make through venues that would emerge after the presidential bid. He is now a reluctant president, doing the minimum (or less) amount of work. Couple that with the fact that he is not very bright, that he has no management skills, and that he is delusional and you have the mess that we are in. I agree: he should be removed post haste!

  138. The Republicans will only take that dive if Mueller gives them a strong push.

  139. Mr. Friedman is right that if a Presidential removal is to be successful, in a broad sense, it must originate with a concurrence from Republicans. It won't happen in the present environment; the Republican leadership isn't a leadership, it has an umbilical cord attached to Trump. Every once in a while one of the Republican spiders scurries out and says something critical of our Chief, Donald, but then scurries back under a rock and votes the Trump line. Trump supporters keep up their lame position based on the nihilistic position that Trump hasn't created any catastrophes yet and therefore he is a great president. Sorry, but that attitude is beyond delusional and unrealistic. Catastrophes can take years to emerge. The errors of invading Iraq and destroying the regime in Lybia were absolutely not obvious within a year or two. Experts who study history are ignored in their predictions; we wait until the catastrophe becomes obvious to even the lowliest New York real estate thug. The only thing that will remove Trump is the catastrophe he is making of the world economy. The stock market is headed down and it will continue down. It was at ludicrous heights because of fictitious profits from tax cuts and unrealistically low interest rates. Let Trump fire Powell to satisfy his ignorant urges. The consequences should spur Republicans to move or else voters will move them out in 2020, if we still have a democracy then.

  140. Mr. Friedman, I congratulate you on your clarity of thought, and significant alarm. Thank you. My question to you is: Why is the most dangerous man in America getting a free pass? Not Trump, Mitch McConnell? Psychologists state that ‘evil’ is malignant ignorance. Hence Trump. Malice is willful and deliberate actions to cause harm. Might we focus on ‘malice’ at this point?

  141. I think the problem is SIMPLICITY. Trump is a simpleton. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Einstein said that "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but NOT simpler." Trump makes things too simple. Trump, the real estate developer, with no political experience tends to see the presidency as "The Art of the Deal", his deal. Yes, Tom, perhaps some Republicans, in or outside politics, can come to the rescue. Maybe, when the Democrats take over the House, in January, they can work with a few Republicans to invite Trump back to Trump Tower, where he belongs, now. Maybe, this New Year we will really have something to celebrate! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  142. Mr. Friedman: All of this was glaringly obvious about Mr. Trump before the election. Senior republican "leaders" could have gracefully pushed him aside and spared the country and the world the disruption, the chaos, and, honestly, the danger. They chose not to. Nothing is different now. Mr. Trump is still completely unsuitable to be a minor town officer, never mind a President. Plus his campaign and his administration are clearly bending the knee to foreign powers. And I am sure the republican "leaders" knew that as well. They have gone to great lengths to hide it. We can't rely on the patriotism of the Republican party. That ship sailed a long time ago.

  143. As a reminder to those we have elected....their job description is to put the country first, not one's self-interests or ego. The country needs a mission statement, one that will be followed whenver a decision needs to be made. Is Trump part of our mission?

  144. Time to threaten?! No, waaay past time for him to be removed. For the past two years Trump has been a danger to the nation and the world, every single day. That we have survived this far is sheer luck, and every new day is a new spin of the Russian roulette gun. Welcome to the real world, Tom. Never too late.

  145. Republicans can barely govern. The motivated base of the party still supports Trump, and the GOP knows it. Republicans care more about the extreme wing of their party than they do about the damage an out of control President can inflict on our nation.

  146. Well, Mr. Friedman, I'm trying to do my part. I nearly shouted at my wife's clergy-person about the way Trump essentially killed the little girl at the southern border. And now, I've got a letter into this small-town newspaper calling for the man's removal. I'm not welcome in the local Republican establishment, but they hear what I say and the sound of a few brave souls beginning to whisper that they agree with me. Let me say, too, that you are like Voltaire's version of God: if you didn't exist, somebody would have to invent you. You have heft in certain circles in this country that nobody else has.

  147. When he costs enough of the financial overlords too much loss of their sacred profits, he'll be out the door.

  148. Lying, tossing out staff like tissues, disengaging from the world, and ignoring experts are not grounds for impeachment. Indeed, George Washington wanted to disengage from the world. Trump's behavior is mostly a threat to the elite globalist interests, which are very strong in the Democratic and Republican parties. Trump probably could and should be impeached, but not for the above reasons.

  149. @No green checkmark I'm getting tired of this argument that, because a few politicians from America's earlier centuries wanted to disengage from the world, it's a valid policy in 2018. Technology has changed the world (and the denture business), so let's put old George in today's world and ask him how he feels about the airplane, telephone, computer and nuclear proliferation.

  150. Mr. Friedman’s characterization of those remaining in the Trump administration is a serious instance of grade inflation.

  151. I have said in another comment that DJT is the thorn in the public's foot. Symptomatic treatment will not work. The thorn has to come out first.

  152. If our nation has to rely on Republicans to do the right thing, then we are lost.

  153. This has all been obvious for some time. Republicans have ignored it because they perceived short-term benefit to them from going along. Surely there are some Republicans left who can see beyond short-term benefit and realize the long-term disaster--even for them--to which the Trump "administration" is leading. The Republican party has prided itself, especially over the last fifty years, on being the party of patriots. (That was and is a slander on Democrats, but that is beside the point.) Now, Republican Members of Congress, we will all find out whether you are really patriots. Do you care more about your country, your compatriots, your children and grandchildren, or about yourselves and nothing beyond. There comes a time when you have to stand up and be counted. Those who continue to sit by will be counted as well, but history will scorn them. Donald Trump thinks that if he turns his back on the ocean, that stops the tide from coming in. He is making all of us potential drowning victims. I feel some sympathy for him. He is the most unhappy individual I think I have ever observed, and I have known individuals unhappy enough to have killed themselves and who did. Trump is absolutely miserable, day in and day out. He desperately needs professional help, but I am sure he cannot ever admit to himself that that is the case. He cannot save himself; he cannot save us. He is to be pitied. Where is the party of Lincoln?

  154. For all that I agree, Mr. Friedman, your litany does not get past your own sense of distaste. To date, there have been precious few consequences to Trump's behavior. That is just the truth. "Bad stuff could start happening" is not a reason for an unprecedented, forcible removal of a president (and we all know it would have to be forcible), which is a solution likely to be worse than the cause. But, after we have the Mueller Report, after people see for themselves the impact of the Trump Tax cut, etc., and after potential consequences become actual consequences, like the shutdown lasts for months, other nations cozy up to China in preference to the US, and there is a major terror attack or three, then we will have grounds and motive to break precedent. And on that last topic, why is the press not framing the flood of fentanyl onto our streets and the outrageous increase of overdose deaths (28,000 in 2017, and 2018 is likely to be much worse, with the most deaths among males 25-44) as a terrorist attack? Because the fentanyl is manufactured in China (80 percent of it) and smuggled in through Mexico -- two nations Trump decided to target for political gain. Do you not think there is a very close connection? Of course there is. So Trump provoked a slow motion terrorist attack that dwarfs 9/11, has done nothing to stop it or even adequately address it, and the press has given him (another) free pass. Shame on you all.

  155. You've got to be convicted of high crimes and misdemeanors before you get impeached. None of the criticisms Mr. Friedman levels against President Trump rise to that level. They are arguments against voting for Trump in the next election.

  156. What about the unconstitutional appointment of “acting” cabinet members without the advice and consent of the Senate?

  157. I predicted all of this before the election, that if he won we would quickly be in a crisis, which we now are, on many fronts. In fact, the currently reality was clear to anyone who had followed Trump through the years and had even scant knowledge of his behavior and history. The scary thing is, what happened to the 63M some Americans who voted for him? How did they make such a clearly bad decision at the ballot box? I can only surmise that they are ignorant people, who aren't paying attention whatsoever to the world around them. Right?

  158. So? Have you ever met Mitch McConnell? Trump’s gone only if Mitch feels it is in the best interest of his “long game”.

  159. "If the C.E.O. of any public company in American behaved like Trump has over the past two years — constantly lying, tossing out aides like they were Kleenex, tweeting endlessly like a teenager, ignoring the advice of experts — he or she would have been fired by the board of directors long ago." Elon Musk got a slap but was not fired. Unfortunately there is a sad history of boards of directors overlooking despicable behavior from CEOs and other higher ups as long as they bring in the money...

  160. Mr Friedman spoke of "what if corporations.....". Imagine that, the Boards of Directors at IBM, Google, Facebook, or Microsoft would hire a new executive from the poultry or meat packing industries - whom never used a computer & with Twitter as his only experience with electronic devices. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED ON THE NIGHT ON 08 November 2016.

  161. Nice piece, and I hope the GOP discovers a spine. That being said, my theory is that the reason we got Trump was for the sole purpose of destroying the disaster that the Republican party has chosen to become. Time to scrub the GOP slate clean and start with grown-ups and people who care about the nation.

  162. Maybe Ivanka can get him to resign. I don't think he'll listen to anyone else.

  163. Mr. Friedman, it’s beyond incontrovertible proof that the president of the United States is of unsound mind. He has never really fulfilled the role of his office. Not really, in the way(s) that Americans reasonably expect a normal president to function. I do not wish to be unkind to the president in this particular forum. He is to be greatly pitied, I think, for daring to assume that he could possibly shoulder the awesome and lonely burdens of the chief civilian officer of our democracy. But it has become clear, however, with every passing minute—not hour or day or week or month—that Donald Trump’s continued presence in office constitutes the single most security breach and threat to our national sovereignty since 9/11 and 12/07/41. As culpable as this president is as he stumbles about as blindly as Oedipus did after his fearful discovery, the more criminal leaders are the Senate Majority Leader (yes, you, Mitch McConnell) and Speaker of the House (you too, Paul Ryan) Republicans who both looked the other way and held their tongues while this puerile man compromised the dignity of the office of the presidency and attempted to short-circuit any investigation into his personal finances and/or his possible conspiracy with a hostile foreign sovereign entity that has been an American enemy for most of the past 70 years. But so cowed are Republicans of Donald Trump that they would rather flay their own skin than to confront a potential nation-deciding crisis by saying “No more!”

  164. One can only hope the damage Trump is doing will alienate him from his base, as that seems to be the only way the GOP will help oust him. I don't wish more hardship on Americans than we have already been enduring. But I have to admit that a part of me is glad the economy is taking a downturn. That seems to be the only thing capable of penetrating Trump fans' zombie-like loyalty. Let's hope it's just enough to get Trump out but not one iota worse.

  165. Tom, I'm afraid things are going to have to get still worse before Republicans in Congress turn on Trump. And that is what it will take to dislodge this cancer of a leader. It shocks me to hear myself say it, but Pence would almost certainly be an improvement, especially since the Democrats now hold The House.

  166. Has anyone posed the possibility that many of these GOP legislators, and maybe even a few Democrats, have like Trump, been compromised by Russian money and/or hacking? We are way past abnormal behavior with “the Don” and now into the rhelm of insanity. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence and concern for the country has to realize this. Those that don’t are way past reason and are as much a threat to the country as Trump himself. Having said such, it is near impossible for me to accept these Senators and Reps not being aware of the danger. So what is tying their hands. Lindsay Graham and his clan sound as crazy as the Pres.

  167. If Trump has made 7,546 false or misleading claims over 700 days, I think that is 10.78 per day. The inauguration crowd may have not been the largest ever, but Trump can, paradoxically, say one truth: He has told the largest number of lies by any President ever.

  168. If the Republicans had a lick of sense they would impeach Trump tolerate Pence for 2 years , primary Pence with either Kasich or Haley both of whom will beat any current Democrat hopeful . This will keep the White House for them . Thankfully for the Democrats they Republicans do not have the courage to challenge Trump and will succumb to the tyranny of the far right. So the Republicans will fail their country , Trump will lead us into recession ,crippling debt and a very divided country and losing allies and ground to China .

  169. All true. Won't happen. Real conservatives have left the GOP. It has been taken over by ignorance and xenophobia. I would be curious to know how many newcomers into GOP are from traditional blue collar democrat segment and the Bernie populist wing. Regardless, if you are a GOP representative you can't remain one and be against Trump. Those who had not lost their moral compass already made their exists. Those who remain are all-in. There is only one option - the country must fire GOP. Alas, the hard left wing of the Democratic party isn't making it easy by driving the party further and further to the fringe. We need someone to step up (hear that Bloomberg and Kasich?).

  170. Vice President Pence? His military adviser today wrote an editorial in the Washington Post praising the withdrawal of our troops from Syria agreeing with Trump that ISIS has been defeated.

  171. Who thinks the Republican Congressional leadership has the intelligence, the principles, or the fortitude to stage an intervention with Trump?

  172. It is beyond obvious that the GOP will do nothing. Take notes, America, stay calm and prepare for 2020 and beyond. The Republican party needs to go the way of the Dodo. I just hope the Democrats, or whoever emerges then, are able to articulate and execute a vision of democracy and capitalism that the vast majority can embrace. Or this is the start of a long, cold winter...

  173. We are headed for a Civil War if the Republicans don't start taking control of Trump instead of visa versa.

  174. Not. Going. To. Happen. As long as the “party and power before country Republicans” retain control of the Senate, at most we’ll hear some sincere sounding statements of “concern”, maybe even a bit of outrage from those already on their way out. That’s it. Besides, what about Hillary’s emails?

  175. Considering that Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and the rest of the spineless members of the GOP continue to be silent, I believe it's time for the Joint Chiefs of Staff each and every Main stream media company to call upon the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office. No one on the Cabinet need worry about the "base" as they are not elected.

  176. What behavior in Mitch McConnell's last ten years makes you think he'll even entertain the idea of removing Trump from office. He's thriving, his wife is a cabinet appointee. He's in control and blocking all efforts to even slow Trump down let alone remove him. Based on his actions there is no step too far for Trump to take that will cause McConnell to say anything other than "no." He used that word effectively through Obama's entire eight years and even to a resolution protecting Mueller and his team. Until his donors insist he won't budge and they're too busy counting their money from deregulation and bargains in the market to fret about such things as democracy and citizenry. Trump is their puppet and they're thriving. A lovely column, Tom, full of good points, but so what?

  177. He is a transactional president and may also, time will tell, be also an accidental one as well. However, make no mistake, Trump has only been able to do this much because he has a sycophantic chorus in the House and Senate that posture to him. These sobering details are just more amplified. They were there before the election conferred this status. His acceptance speech for the GOP nomination would all any rational person would have needed. You cannot just excise this cancer by expelling Trump. You must also excise the surrounding tissue (Pence and to be determined decisions that may be rendered mute by the Muller investigations).

  178. You are so right Mr Friedman. Anyone paying attention could see such as this coming however. My great fear is that Trump will create a national emergency, suspend the Bill of Rights, and put troops in the streets to keep order. Perhaps he wants to be one of the autocrats who would like to divide up the world. Congress has no excuse to continue to reject their constitutional responsibilities. If they continue to do nothing, then they should be sent packing in all subsequent elections.

  179. @Wayne Logsdon I don't think Trump commands the kind of loyalty from the military that would allow him to order troops onto the streets. This is a big country, not easy to "create" a national emergency.

  180. "If the C.E.O. of any public company in American behaved like Trump has over the past two years — constantly lying, tossing out aides like they were Kleenex, tweeting endlessly like a teenager, ignoring the advice of experts — he or she would have been fired by the board of directors long ago. Should we expect less for our president?" Unfortunately, we have a craven GOP congress and not a sane board of directors... no, McConnell, Graham, Cotton, and the rest of them will not do what's best for the country, they, like Trump, are simply grubbing for themselves. Here's hoping Mueller gets busy here real fast, otherwise our only hope is 2020.

  181. Everything you say is true, but I'm not optimistic. Republicans in Congress are led around by the same leash that Limbaugh, Coulter, et al., used to lead Trump away from compromise on the budget. As long as Republicans answer to the small right wing rather than the larger country, an intervention with Trump is impossible.

  182. As a card carrying member of the "chattering class" Tom Friedman has taken his disdain of Trump to a new level. Now the entire country is in danger of becoming a grifter like our President. I suggest Friedman calm down. The rule of law still prevails here. The mid-term elections proved that if people want change and work for change, under our democracy, change will occur. The country will survive Donald Trump. It's just self important people like your columnist who may survive but no longer thrive, as have done in the past, due the indifference of the American people to their pronouncements.

  183. Things are much worse than you know or can tell from what comes out in the media. But more importantly, change starts with an honest appraisal of the current situation, which ain’t good. It’s fine to believe in the resilience of the American system, but who provides that resilience if not those first to see the warning signs?

  184. @Richard Straus "I suggest Friedman calm down." That's exactly what people said about Winston Churchill, who was seemingly the one person who recognized the true threat that Hitler posed, as others dismissed Churchill as an alarmist. "The country will survive Donald Trump." "The world will survive Adolph Hitler." The world did survive-barely. At least 6 million Jews did not survive. Millions of others did not survive. I don't know how it is possible that people like yourself can choose to ignore the facts. Stating :"The country will survive Trump " is the equivalent of someone having said "The Titanic will survive this glitch, " as it continued to take on water.

  185. @Richard Straus So what exactly would it take for a Trump supporter to say "yeah, well, he may not have been the best choice after all."? American cities in flames and starvation on the streets? Cuz there doesn't seem to be anyplace short of that that seems to convince the 40 percent. Most intelligent people act on clues before we get to the point of no return.

  186. If U.S. senators and representatives could not take one dime more than their government salary, imagine how different how nation would be. At this point, I think many of them are just hanging on in order to pad their bank accounts with lobby money.

  187. Wow! I'm going to cross my fingers and hope the the GOP gives us the best Christmas gift the American citizens ever got. Wouldn't a 2019 without Trump be a shot in the arm for the majority of Americans and our Allies. I am so tired of hearing people say they don't like Trump's personality but like what he is accomplishing. Are these people delusional. Would someone please give me a list of all his accomplishments. Tom you have hit the nail on the head but unfortunately the majority of Americans won't ever read your editorial since we live in an age of uniformed Americans.

  188. @Stefano "I am so tired of hearing people say they don't like Trump's personality but like what he is accomplishing. Are these people delusional." Yes, for the most part. Others are just racists who found their dream president.

  189. Not the majority....Trump lost the popular vote, and his approval rating has hovered between 38%-44%, not a majority. Those of us like-minded and sober like Mr. Friedman must convince our neighbors to put continual pressure on Congress until they put fear into the President.

  190. Stefano, I am hoping that Mr. Mueller and the media will, together, have so much proof of corruption, tax evasion and conspiring to destroy OUR United States government and the world economy that the entire 2016 election will be thrown out. It was not an election. It was a hostile financial takeover by the International Mafia.

  191. This apoplectic reaction comes from the Establishment elite which doesn't want to respect the voice of the people. Just because Tom Friedman and his colleagues are mystified about the course of the country doesn't mean that the American people didn't consciously vote for this -- and they did so with good reason. Tucker Carlson correctly states that electing a populist like Trump is how people make the ruling class pay attention. Friedman and the liberal media adamantly refuse to respect, analyze, and attend to the concerns raised by the people. They'd rather write about "New-Age" things like technology, globalization, and the new frontiers, while ignoring the people's concerns. This is exactly how this globalism got started. It's time for some humility and introspection. It's time for some soul-searching.

  192. @Eugene If you are truly interested in seeing that we "respect the voice of the people" can I assume you believe that Hillary Clinton - who won the popular vote by a large margin - should in fact be president and not Trump?

  193. And how has Trump provided relief to the working class, exactly? We tried isolationism and nationalism before, and it lead humanity into a series of disastrous and ultimately wasteful conflicts. The problems the world faces today can only be solved by a global cooperative effort, something Trump and his populist base reject. Oh, and Trump’s 7500 lies on the 700th day in office is over ten lies per day on average, not 5, unfortunately.

  194. @Eugene Just a reminder: the election was influenced by entities outside of the US populace and Hillary got 3 million more votes, so it would, therefore, be hard to agree with you that Trump's win was "the voice of the people". The fact is that Trump came into office illegitimately and is proving himself more incompetent- and dangerous- every day. way and it isn't only the "elite" that feel this way. Try watching something other than FOX to get a more balanced viewpoint.

  195. We did not need a disrupter. What we needed, and still need, is an actual democracy that encourages all people to vote, regardless of party affiliation. Make it easier to vote, have more early voting days, have mail in voting. Make election day a national holiday or better yet, make it over a weekend. Put a stop to all corporate money and have all elections, from the president to the city dog catcher financed solely by the federal government, and shorten the election season. End gerrymandering and create districts mathematically. Finally, all primaries should be open, not closed by party registration. Doing these things will shift our parties to the middle, and eliminate the yelling on the right and left. And it will allow our house and senate members to respond to their constituents, rather than spend so much time raising money and bowing down to their corporate funders. That trump should be removed from office is a no brainer. But unless we fix our broken system, the next "trump" is not far behind.

  196. @j I would add that no government employee (ie president, senator, congressperson) gets anything that is not available to the general public. in other words, no separate health care. no separate retirement plan. If they get it, we all do.

  197. There is a difference between total incompetence and gross mental instability. Trump entered office totally incompetent. We all could see that from the day one, even his Republican lap dogs. But they made a deal with the devil thinking that Trump could be managed in their overwhelming desire to cut taxes for the rich and pack the courts with pro big business judges. Well guess what? Trump has moved beyond incompetence into the realm of serious mental instability. He is not just incompetent of policy, he is incompetent of mental function. He is incapable of making decisions. He can no longer function as president. He has even told us so. He now states he is making critical decisions with his gut. Trump is trying to emote his way through global policy actions instead of thinking his way through. This is exactly what people do when their logic and analytical centers shut down. All they have left are their feelings. Trump demonstrating that he is truly mentally unfit to remain as president. I am not attempting to be hyperbolic or playing politics. Trump has lost it. It's all gone but the hysteria, the paranoia, and the delusions. A person doesn't have to be a psychiatrist to realize that someone has lost it. Trump is telling us, everyday, through his words and actions that he is incapable of reasoned thought. That may not fit the legal definition of insanity, but it sure disqualifies someone from occupying the most powerful office in the world.

  198. @Bruce Rozenblit Trump IS legally insane - what with his paranoia, delusions, and mythomania (compulsive lying).

  199. Right on Bruce! As a retired physician having worked 45 years (23 years as a General Internist and 22 years as a Hospice and Palliative Care physician) in the “trenches” I think that I’m a pretty good judge of psychopathology. You are right, Trump has morphed from incompetent to mentally unstable and is now a “clear and present danger” to our Republic and the world! Republicans must step up to the plate and begin the work of removing this cancer from our country before we are all irreparably harmed!

  200. @Bruce Rozenblit I couldn't have said it better and, in fact, in my comment, I didn't say it better -- to my great regret. Thank you for clarity and concision. I will use your opening sentence with my students as an example of clarity and concision. Thank you.

  201. I have little use for the appalling DJT but this piece is mostly hyperbolic nonsense. WWII did not occur because the US allegedly disengaged from the world in the 1930s. Lots of reasons for that war but the absence of the US in the Sino-Japanese relationship, for example, wasn’t one of them. I understand Mr Friedman would prefer DJT wasn’t president. That makes two of us. But the solution lies in an election in less than two years. And that solution also requires both parties not nominate venal and duplicitous people like Trump and Clinton for any fix to succeed.

  202. @EGD Can we really afford to wait 2 years? At the rate he is going, there may not be anything to salvage. Or if there is, it will be much harder to do so. The question is, How can he be removed? The 25th amendment is a non-starter because of the steps it calls for and the people who must act. Impeachment will take time, but if the Republicans could really consider it, maybe they can persuade him to resign -- as a previous generation of Republicans persuaded Nixon that his support had disappeared. Maybe that is wishful thinking, too, but Tom Friedman is right: the consequences of not doing so are frightening to contemplate.

  203. I do not understand why the NYT would pick a response that puts Trump and Hillary Clinton in the same category. Is this a Russian bot?

  204. @EGD What you fail to understand is, the reason trump won in 2016 was not due to him or Hillary. It was because people like you were misled into believing many false attacks against Hillary Clinton. What people fail to understand -- and is only now being disclosed by the media -- is that the Russian tampering in our election was not done only to help trump. It impacted Jill Stein, Johnson, Bernie, Hillary, and EVERY candidate. The Russian cyber-war was aimed not only at candidates, but at our democracy and our social stability. Putin's military hackers aimed social media as their weapons -- at your mind. YES, at YOUR belief system in our nation, against Obama's policies, against Washington, against the so-called "elite", against Hillary, against "Wall Street", against every element of soceity... most of their attacks were invalid grossly fake attacks. The same is occurring in other nations. Russian hackers are creating the same instability in France - targeting the rural ("red state") masses of France, to make them hate Macron and the Parisian leadership ("elites", i.e. their "Washington")... over fuel prices! Fires and riots and massive unrest over fuel prices. This happens when a marginalized rural populace is prodded and angered and turned into a frenzied mob. Putin is targeting the entire West. You are part of his mob, who believes Hillary was bad. And people just to your "right" think Obama was bad. And 38% believe everyone except trump is bad. Open your eyes!

  205. Tom, you are a bit late in coming to the conclusion many others have gathered, and that is the urgent need to send Trump packing, as he is beyond remedy and certainly beyond redemption. He has become an ever present danger to this suffering democracy, and his malevolent destructive force knows np limits nor borders. We knew his mantra in ruling, divide to conquer, as a candidate; this has not disappeared, exacerbated instead, and the only constant is his doubling down in instilling 'fear and hate' of 'the other' (read 'non-white', and the democrats, and now his closest allies), isolating himself from even the most constructive criticism and the urgently needed expert advise before he plunges further into chaos and despair. He has become not only disruptive, despicably disruptive!

  206. @manfred marcus DT is also not well. He would have been asked to retire by now if he were CEO of a private-sector organization. The present situation is unsustainable over the long run. The Republicans will begin to find this out to their sorrow if they do not act soon to put Mr. Trump far away from the levers of power.

  207. @manfred marcus. And nothing has changed in the 2020 election process - still, absolutely zero vetting. Get ready for another despot!

  208. @manfred marcus A "bit late" is an understatement.

  209. I am shocked how fragile our democracy is. Have we placed too much power in the hands of the office of the President? Have we allowed the extremely wealthy to easily subvert democracy( Mercer Family and Koch brother types and others I do not know about) so the parties and candidates represent them and not the constituents ? Has the science of political psychology advanced to that reason and evidence are overcome by tribalism ? We have some fixing to do.

  210. Unfortunately, I fear there is still some validity to the argument that removing Trump through either impeachment/conviction or 25th Amendment would tear the country apart. Perhaps a "middle ground" would be for Republican leadership -- and yes, I'm squarely looking at you, Mitch -- to tell Trump they have the votes to make that happen, but will not exercise those options under three conditions. First, he signs legislation requiring Congressional approval for a first strike. Second, he agrees not to seek re-election, as in, "I will not seek nor will I accept," and immediately disbands his re-election committees. I think that if an immature, irrational and spiteful finger could be removed from the nuclear trigger and we assure the world that this really shall pass, the damage would be considerably reduced.

  211. Friedman is 100 % correct. The Republican Party must take action to remove Trump from office now for the sake of the country’s economy and Homeland safety. The man is insane, his decision making faulty and our country headed for disaster.

  212. No, Tom, it is way past time to "threaten" Trump, it is time to FIRE him. No threats, no more chances. Act. Now. It is, in point of fact, past time for that, too. We can no longer allow the Republican Party, a minority party, the power of dictating to the rest of us how are lives are just going to have to conform the results of the actions of their fearless leader, because he is their ticket to absolute, permanent power. Trump is emotionally, intellectually, functionally, a child. Children aren't completely stupid. They are quick to pick up the pattern of threats not carried out. Their behavior, then, becomes increasingly tyrannical to the point of being malignant. And Trump is past that point. The United States is in the throes of a Lear-ian level tragedy. All the world's a stage and we are in the spotlight. Did I say "tragedy?" That is true, but not to all the rest of the world. To Russia we are a Keystone Kops-ian slapstick farce; to China, a clueless Inspector Clouseau, destroying our house in senseless combat with our housekeeper. Remove Trump now. Russia is standing still.

  213. @Glen I obviously omitted "not" from my last sentence. Err in haste, rue at leisure.

  214. No President has ever faced a press as malicious, deceitful and in the back pocket of the opposition party as Trump has. Any Republican opposes Trump at his or her political peril. If Republicans walk away from Trump, the base walks away from the party. It's that easy. Remember Flake and Corker are not the party. I know it can be tough to remember that because the press features them as the head's of the party. Republicans have done the bare minimum to support Trump, even as he got elected, campaigned for others and made real progress on ISIS, Jerusalem, Criminal Justice, Justices, taxes and military spending. None of that happens without Trump.

  215. @TL"the base" does NOT represent the majority of this country.

  216. The Republicans are completely complicit in this storm. They have sold their collective souls to ride his coattails - they are getting their tax cuts, immigration crackdown, abortion limits, conservative judicial picks and more.they are not going to get off the “Trump Train” any time soon.

  217. Trumps is what conservatism has brought upon our country. He is the symptom. It is the Republican party that needs to be destroyed to save our country.

  218. No, Tom, it’s time to fire Trump, not threaten him with firing.