Durbin: GOP responded to anonymous NY Times op-ed with 'silence of the lambs'

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) slammed the GOP on Sunday for its muted response to recent reports indicating internal chaos within the White House, condemning what he called a "silence of the lambs." 

"We are talking about consistent reporting, over and over again, about unpredictable, unprepared, unstable behavior by this president," Durbin said on NBC's "Meet the Press." 

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"In a matter of great national security and defense, can we trust this president to make the proper decision?" the Illinois senator asked.

"To make the proper decision? To make a thoughtful decision? These are things that I think should be addressed by his own party, but instead, we hear the silence of the lambs," he added. 

"[They're] basically quiet, have nothing to say when it comes to these events except for a few," Durbin said, acknowledging that GOP Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerPoll: More voters oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination than support it Ford opens door to testifying next week Police arrest nearly two dozen Kavanaugh protesters MORE (Tenn.) has spoken out. 

The GOP this week remained largely silent regarding excerpts from veteran journalist Bob Woodward's upcoming book, "Fear: Trump in the White House," and an anonymous op-ed written by a "senior administration official" and published in The New York Times. Both accounts report a network of White House staff regularly seeking to undermine President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE by staving off his "worst inclinations."

Corker said he was unsurprised by the op-ed, saying it is not "new news."

“I didn’t look at it as new news," Corker, a frequent Trump critic, said. "I mean, anyone who’s had any dealings over there knows that this is the reality that we’re living in." 

The White House has pushed back hard against the claims lodged in Woodward's book and the Times's op-ed, saying both accounts are fabrications from disgruntled individuals.

Asked if he is concerned that there may be "an unelected cabal of people thwarting the will of the people and trying to stop the president from doing things that he campaigned on doing," Durbin said he is paying more attention to "what kind of circumstances in the White House [that] would even give rise to this possibility." 

"If we have a [dysfunctional] White House, it’s inescapable that the president bears responsibility," Durbin said. "He’s the one who gathered this team, he’s the one who tries to keep them together, and yet there is genuine fear obviously among some of them that his behavior is going to result in terrible things for America."