Last year, 2016, then-Senator Jeff Sessions was the only senator to endorse Trump for much of the presidential campaign. His loyalty and dedication were not, however, what earned him the position of Attorney General under the Trump regime. His willingness to roll back certain civil rights protections and be tough on immigration issues were what earned him the position. His loyalty and dedication have earned him the right to be belittled, humiliated and bullied in public statements nearly every day by his boss.
And now, the bullying tactics have become an obvious attempt to coerce AG Sessions to resign. Speculation is that if he does not resign, Trump will seek an opportunity to fire him. This is how Mr. Sessions’ loyalty is repaid.
I have no sympathy for Jeff Sessions. He’s a terrible attorney general because he’s a terrible human being. Since taking office, he has encouraged police to increase asset forfeitures, told federal prosecutors to put people in jail for as long as possible, spoken to an anti-gay hate group, ended an effort to raise standards of forensic science, ramped up enforcement against undocumented immigrants, shut down reviews of abuses by police departments, threatened to take DOJ grants away from sanctuary cities, stopped a DOJ fight against a Texas law rolling back voting rights, and moved backward on transgender rights. That said, those are the very things Trump hired him to do.
Jeff Sessions is an employee of Donald Trump, and all other considerations such as legality, fairness, underhandedness aside, Trump can, in fact, fire Jeff Sessions. But the men and women in Congress are not employees of the president, they are elected representatives of We The People, and Trump cannot fire them. However, that does not stop him bullying them.
After Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky went on television earlier this month to oppose the Senate health care bill, Trump ranted to other Republican senators that Paul was ‘grandstanding’. One of his milder attacks, and Paul brushed it off.
But then there was his tirade against Representative Lisa Murkowski of Alaska after she voted against a motion to proceed to healthcare legislation despite heavy lobbying from Trump, saying she “really let Republicans, and our country, down.” I appreciated Murkowski’s response: “We’re here to govern. We’re here to legislate. We’re here to represent the people that sent us here.” Not only did Trump tweet publicly his displeasure with Murkowski, but then Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke phoned both of the senators from Alaska to tell them the vote had put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy. What kind of administration threatens one of the states based on the vote of a senator? Members of Congress are expected to vote in the best interest of their constituents, not to stroke the president’s ego. What is he going to do … give Alaska back to Russia?
Last month, after Senator Dean Heller from Nevada announced that he did not support the health care bill that was crafted by Senator Mitch McConnell, Trump’s PAC, America First Policies, ran a 30-second television ad in Heller’s home state of Nevada:
“Now with strong leadership and a chance to repeal and replace Obamacare with patient-centered care that protects American families, Sen. Dean Heller is saying ‘No.’ Call Sen. Heller, tell him America needs him to keep his promise: Vote ‘yes’ to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
They also ran a one-minute ad that went even further:
“…Now with the leadership of President Trump, we have a real chance to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered care that protects American families and provides health care stability. But Nevada Sen. Dean Heller is saying ‘No.’ ‘No’ to tax cuts to help small business, ‘No’ to ending Obamacare penalties, and ‘No’ to families who can’t afford to see the doctor of their choice. Call Sen. Heller and tell him to keep his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare — before it’s too late.”
After outrage from Senate republicans, the ads were pulled, but not before making their point.
And this is why a large number of republicans in both the House and the Senate are hesitant to cross the bully in the Oval Office. He is like a junkyard dog — mean, vicious, and with no conscience. When he does not get his way, it matters not who has given him loyalty in the past, he will strike out and take no prisoners.
Trump asked James Comey to swear his loyalty to him, and shortly after refusing, Trump fired Comey.
Loyalty: allegiance, faithfulness, obedience, adherence, homage, devotion.
Only it isn’t loyalty Trump actually wants from the people around him. There’s something noble in true loyalty – standing by a person who deserves your support and returns it. One of the key elements, perhaps the major element of loyalty is respect, and Trump respects … only himself. No, what Trump wants … demands … from not only his own employees, but ours as well, is fealty.
Fealty: Fidelity to one’s lord
For Trump, loyalty is a one-way street. It matters not how supportive his staff are, one misstep and they will feel the pain of the figurative whip. Donald Trump has no friends, for friendship, like loyalty, is a two-way street and requires giving as well as taking. In the mind of Donald Trump, all persons are here to do his bidding, to be used and then when no longer useful, tossed aside like the wrapper from a Big Mac.