Friday, October 18, 2019


The New York Times reports:
Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, threw the Trump administration’s defense against impeachment into disarray on Thursday when he said that the White House withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine to further President Trump’s political interests.

Mr. Mulvaney told journalists in a televised White House briefing that the aid was withheld in part until Ukraine investigated an unsubstantiated theory that Ukraine, not Russia, was responsible for hacking Democratic Party emails in 2016 — a theory that would show that Mr. Trump was elected without Russian help.

The declaration by Mr. Mulvaney, which he took back later in the day, undercut Mr. Trump’s repeated denials of a quid pro quo that linked American military aid for Ukraine to an investigation that could help Mr. Trump politically.

The comments sent Washington into turmoil as Democrats and some Republicans said they were deeply damaging to Mr. Trump.
Mulvaney's comments "were deeply damaging to Trump"? In what way? They're highly unlikely to hurt Trump's approval rating, which has been steady as a rock since just after the government shutdown ended in January, and has barely been affected by Ukrainegate.

If 43% of the country won't abandon Trump for any reason whatsoever, that means the overwhelming majority of Republicans won't, which means Republican officeholders, particularly senators, will never stop supporting him. So he'll never be convicted in a Senate impeachment trial.

Nothing fazes the Trump base. Here's what's happening in Syria, according to The Times of London:
The burns on the screaming child brought into the Syrian-Kurdish hospital at Tal Tamir were enough to reduce even hardened medical staff to silence yesterday.

Yet the terrible wounds that had all but flayed the 13-year-old Mohammed Hamid Mohammed’s skin from his torso, penetrating deep into his flesh, suggested his injuries were caused by something far worse than blast alone. They added to the growing body of evidence that suggests Turkey, a Nato member, is using white phosphorus against Kurdish civilians in its eight-day offensive into northern Syria.
And here's the polling:
Voters are almost evenly split on President Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria, according to a Hill-HarrisX poll released on Thursday.

The survey showed that 33 percent of registered voters support the withdrawal, while 37 percent oppose it. Another 30 percent said that they were unsure about the move.

When broken down by party, more than half — 51 percent — of Republicans back Trump’s decision, compared to just 21 percent of Democrats and 27 percent of independents.

... 19 percent of Republicans were ... against the withdrawal.
Nothing will budge them. ISIS was worse than Hitler a few years ago. Now the allies who died to defeat ISIS are being slaughtered and ethnically cleansed, and ISIS fighters are being freed to return to the fight. The GOP base response is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

On the radio earlier this week, Rush Limbaugh chided Mitt Romney for going wobbly on Trump:
“Asked whether he has made up his mind whether to support the House Democrats impeachment inquiry against the president, Romney replied, ‘No. I would have to look at the evidence as it’s presented,’ he said.” Mitt, there isn’t going to be any! There hasn’t been any evidence since 2015! There isn’t any evidence now! ...

What do mean you are gonna look like the evidence? The Democrats’ evidence, like you didn’t pay your taxes for 10 years, like you put the family dog on the top of the station wagon because you hate animals, like you had a gigantic notebook of the names of women because you’re misogynistic? This is what I don’t understand about these people. Harry Reid runs around and literally destroys Romney’s presidential campaign with lie after lie after lie. And at the end of the day Romney is thinking about siding with that group of people.

And that, folks, is the power of the Washington establishment. The elites, the deep state, administrative state, whatever you want to call it.
Democrats (and the "deep state") are evil, nothing we say is valid, therefore Trump is innocent of all charges.

Limbaugh continues:
Trump said, hell, I could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and my supporters would stick with me.... is there anything that would make Hannity and/or Limbaugh leave Trump? Yes, there is. There damn well is. If he threw in with the Democrats on a bunch of stuff. I’m not gonna sit here and defend somebody if he did that. If he did what many Republicans have done over the years, this is not a free ride.

This is based on real substance. This is based on a genuine belief that our country is at a crossroads in terms of what it’s gonna be. And Trump is the Last Man Standing. And if he ever threw in with these people, I wouldn’t care why. There’s no way.
That's it. Limbaugh is speaking for 43% of America -- they won't abandon Trump under any circumstances, because we're repugnant to them, and Trump unambiguously says he hates us as much as they hate us. Only one thing can damage Trump with his base -- cooperating with us.

He'll never drop below 38% in the polls. He'll never have the support of fewer than 75% of Republicans. Impeachment can damage him at the margins, and maybe the regular recitation of his offenses will motivate just enough fence-sitters to vote him out in 2020. But he'll continue to be an object of GOP base worship. We can never damage him in their eyes.

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