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Saturday, August 25, 2018

President Trump brings mafia ethics to the GOP

Paul Waldman
The Washington Post
Originally posted on August 23, 2018

Here is an excerpt:

But Trump is big on people keeping their mouths shut. As head of the Trump Organization, as a candidate and as president, he has forced underlings to sign nondisclosure agreements forbidding them from revealing what saw while in his employ. In many cases, those agreements included non-disparagement clauses in which the signer had to pledge never to criticize Trump or his family for as long as they lived. The mafia had “omerta,” and Trump has the NDA.

So how will Republicans react to Trump’s diatribe against flipping criminals? Will they try to ignore it or decide he has a point?

The thing about a cult of personality is that its character depends on the personality in question. Republicans sometimes mocked Democrats for worshiping Barack Obama, and you might argue that some of his supporters got a bit starry-eyed at times, particularly in 2008. But Obama never asked them to suddenly offer a full-throated defense of something morally abhorrent simply because the president thought it might be good for him. Whether you agreed with his policy choices, Obama was a man of great personal integrity who ran an administration free of any significant scandal. No Obama supporter ever said, “Oh my god, I never thought he’d ask me to justify that.”

Trump does, on an almost daily basis. But if his supporters are having any doubts, they might want to consider that this won’t be the last time he asks them to abandon their principles.

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