Hey, what’s a little quid pro quo among friends?
Donald Trump and his spokesmonkeys throughout the administration and the “conservative media” spent the first weeks of the furor over Trump’s alleged use of promised U.S. assistance to Ukraine as a bargaining chip for Ukraine’s help in providing dirt on Joe Biden’s son shouting, “There was no quid pro quo!” They used the expression exactly the way they had previously used “No collusion!”
Suddenly, over the past few days, many in the GOP have changed their defense in mid-trial, as it were. Now they are saying, with a performative thoughtful stroke of the chin, that even if there was a quid pro quo, that wouldn’t be an impeachable offense. After all, goes the new party line, haven’t presidents always placed conditions on foreign assistance; and for that matter, aren’t such exchanges part and parcel of foreign policy itself?
Well, give-and-take arrangements, taken in general, are one thing. Withholding security assistance promised to a country under immediate threat from a major global thug that has already annexed a disputed territory on that country’s border, and withholding it on the condition of receiving dirt one hopes will be damaging to a domestic political opponent, is quite another.
Two points of interest here:
- Why are so many in the Republican Party suddenly changing their tune on the question of whether there was a quid pro quo, after vehemently denying it until last week?
- Buried in all this vacillating and pretzel-making, it seems to me, is the fact that Trump, in this quid pro quo, this perfect phone conversation, or whatever it was, may once again be seen showing reticence to support the government of Ukraine, i.e., an opponent of Vladimir Putin. Trump will not support an opponent of Putin. He will never flat-out stand up to Putin or deny Putin anything. He will only stand up for Putin publicly, demand that other nations be more forgiving of Putin, tout his personal relationship with Putin, propose handing global security concerns over to Putin to solve, and overturn even his own party’s congressional resolutions against Putin. Why is that, I wonder? I know I am the only one who wonders anymore. But I wonder.