The head of the House Democratic Caucus said this week there’s a simple reason GOP critics of President Trump’s tempestuous first month are few and far between: They’re terrified of him. 
 
“I think they’re tremendously scared of him,” Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) said Friday on C-Span’s “Newsmakers” program
 
“I think they feel one tweet away from a primary, one tweet away from being, you know, dismissed — and given a new nickname, I’m sure.”
 
Crowley said Trump’s brusque style, indifference toward convention and scandal-tinged first month are all making Republicans uncomfortable. But they can’t voice their frustrations publicly, he said, for fear of a backlash from the president — and the loyal conservative base he’s built.
 
{mosads}”There is angst on their side. They, too, do not know how to deal with this man,” Crowley said. “When I look at them, when I talk to them … they shrug their shoulders and turn their head.”

 
Speaking for a growing chorus of Democrats, Crowley said he’s particularly frustrated — not to mention bewildered — that Republicans have been so reluctant to investigate Trump’s potential financial and political ties to Russia. Although the Intelligence committees in both chambers have launched investigations into Russian hacking of last year’s elections — a probe they say could grow to include the administration’s ties to the Kremlin — GOP leaders have rejected the Democrats’ calls for more public examinations, including the creation of an outside panel akin to the 9/11 Commission.
 
Trump has insisted he has nothing to hide, and any suggestion otherwise, he says, is “fake news put out by the media.” 
 
“I have nothing to do with Russia,” he said Thursday during a rowdy press conference at the White House.
 
But the Democrats are dubious, and Crowley on Friday accused congressional Republicans of blindly defending the president at the expense of “everything they’ve stood for” in the past.
 
“They’ve always been the anti-Russia party,” he said. “I think we all can share in that [sentiment] … but they pride themselves on being the patriotic party. And here we have a real incursion by a foreign state — Russia! — into our national elections and: silence.”
 
“That is an issue we’ll continue to go after,” he warned.
 
Trump’s first month in office has been a tumultuous one. His unilateral travel ban angered Republicans, who were not briefed, and hit a brick wall in the courts, which have blocked its implementation. His pick for Education secretary was controversial enough to require an historic tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence to win confirmation, while his nominee to head the Labor Department, after attracting even less GOP support, was forced to drop out of consideration altogether. 
 
Trump dismissed his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, after just 24 days on the job when it was revealed Flynn had misled Pence about conversations he’d had with a Russian diplomat. And Trump’s White House raised plenty of eyebrows when it issued a Holocaust remembrance statement that excluded mention of Jews who were, by and large, the victims.
 
Trump this week dismissed suggestions of chaos, saying his administration is “running like a fine-tuned machine.” And he’s had plenty of backing from GOP leaders, who have both defended the president’s missteps and hailed his moves to eliminate Obama-era regulations and crack down on undocumented immigrants, among other policy changes.
 
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday that congressional Republicans and Trump are “exactly on track” to move their legislative wish-list this year. 
 
“We’re working on the same plan,” Ryan told Fox News.
 
On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) lobbed a rare criticism at the president.
 
“I’m not a fan of the daily tweets,” he told reporters in the Capitol.
 
But McConnell was quick to add that he’s highly supportive of the president’s policy agenda, equating Trump’s early actions to those that might have been taken if Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio had ascended to the White House.
 
“I can’t see much difference between what a President Trump is doing and what they might have done,” he said.
 
Democrats have a decidedly different take, warning that Trump’s approach to governing — combined with his reported ties to Russia — pose a threat to the very fabric of the country’s democratic institutions, particularly if Republicans don’t push back. 
 
“It’s not just about Trump … it’s about our Republican colleagues,” Crowley said. “When will they speak up against what he’s doing? Because he’s usurping their authority.”
 
Crowley hammered Trump for a recent series of federal raids on undocumented immigrants. And he was especially critical of the possibility, reported by the Associated Press Friday morning, that the president would call in the National Guard to help with deportations — a notion the White House adamantly denied. 
 
“It’s very reminiscent to what led up to World War II, quite frankly, in Europe. Seeing these kinds of actions potentially taking place, [or] even being talked about,” Crowley said. 
 
“Using the National Guard, the Army, to come into our communities, to police our communities, to disrupt and to gather people up for the purposes of deporting them, is a very, very scary thing,” he added. “It’s not a country that I’m familiar with.”
 
“Newsmakers” will air on C-Span Sunday at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Tags Marco Rubio Mike Pence Mitch McConnell Paul Ryan

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