Juan Williams: The GOP has been corrupted by Trump

Juan Williams: The GOP has been corrupted by Trump
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Wow, what happened to Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Juan Williams: Biden's child tax credit is a game-changer Trump clash ahead: Ron DeSantis positions himself as GOP's future in a direct-mail piece MORE (R-Wis.)?

In the last year, Ryan has squandered his stellar reputation as a smart, conservative visionary. By excusing President TrumpDonald TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' MORE’s bad behavior, he has made it clear his only priorities are that Trump put conservatives on the Supreme Court and sign tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit the rich and corporations.

Similarly, what happened to Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  MORE (R-Tenn.)?

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The man who once called out the president for turning the White House into an “adult day care center” vowed never to vote for a tax cut bill that added “one penny” to the deficit.

 

Corker voted against an early draft of the tax cut law. But he then jumped on board when a provision was inserted into the law that would greatly increase his personal wealth through tax treatment of his commercial real estate holdings. Corker denied any impropriety.

The fact remains that Corker switched his vote and voted for a bill that added billions of pennies to the deficit while feathering his own nest. He could have shown real courage and voted ‘No.’ He did not.

And what happened to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Trump takes two punches from GOP MORE (R-Ky.)?

McConnell once took pride in defying Trump by having his Republican majority pass a law last year to punish Russia by imposing sanctions on countries buying military equipment from that nation. The penalties were intended to penalize Russia for interfering in the 2016 election and stop its ongoing meddling in American politics.

But McConnell had little to say when the Trump administration said in late January that it would not impose Congress’s sanctions.

Ryan, Corker and McConnell are leading GOP lights who have ceded their party’s moral center in service to protecting Trump.

Until Trump came along, the party stood for cutting federal spending. It was the pro-immigration party. And after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Republicans backed the secret surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act to protect against spies and terrorists.

Now it is a different party.

Currently, congressional Republicans make excuses for refusing to put checks and balances on the excesses of Trump’s executive branch.

Today’s GOP offers political cover for a man with no history in the party as he denigrates, degrades, and destroys vital American institutions, including law enforcement, the free press and the GOP.

Ryan is the biggest disappointment.

Even if you disagree with him, Ryan has a history of standing up for what he thinks is right.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, a fearless Ryan said Trump, then the leading candidate for the GOP nomination, was wrong to attack an Indiana judge because the judge had Mexican ancestry. Ryan pulled no punches in calling out Trump for making “the textbook definition of a racist statement.”

Now Ryan is looking the other way on far more damaging Trump behavior.

He ignored pleadings from the Justice Department and the FBI to stop the release of a classified memo — written by Republicans — that purportedly showed wrongdoing by law enforcement in obtaining a warrant to conduct surveillance of a known friend to Russian intelligence, the Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Ryan said the memo had nothing to do with Special Counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE’s investigation into the Trump campaign. It was about misconduct by some agents, he said.

But once it was out, Trump tweeted that the memo “totally vindicates” him, even though it said nothing about collusion or obstruction of justice, the focus of Mueller’s work.

When Ryan was asked about this, he mumbled and walked away from reporters.

He had no explanation for allowing his credibility to be used by Trump.

Fox News host Sean Hannity, a Trump supporter, said on the basis of the memo that the Mueller probe ought to be disbanded — and that charges brought against former Trump campaign manager Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortLobbyist Tony Podesta returns to work for Huawei Former bank CEO convicted of bribery in scheme to land Trump admin job Trial begins for Chicago banker who exchanged loans with Manafort for Trump job MORE and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn should be dropped.

Ryan opened the door to this nonsense.

“I have been a consistent defender of his good intentions,” conservative columnist Michael Gerson wrote of Ryan recently in the Washington Post. “But after the 17th time saying he ‘knows better,’ it dawns that he may not. By his recent actions, the Speaker has provided political cover for a weakening of the constitutional order. He has been used as a tool while loudly insisting he is not a tool.”

“I believe Ryan to be a good person,” Gerson continued. “But the greatest source of cynicism is not the existence of corrupt people in politics; it is good people who lose their way.”

It has been said that corruption is worst when it happens to the best.

The GOP used to be one of the two great American political parties. It gave the country some of the best statesmen of the last hundred years: Jacob Javits, Everett Dirksen, Edward Brooke, Howard Baker, Bob Dole and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain to produce 'Don't Sweat the Small Stuff' Lifetime movie starring Heather Locklear An August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done Meghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' MORE.

But in the age of Trump, there are no more GOP profiles in courage — only profiles in cowardice.

It’s time for all Republicans to speak out against Trump’s corruption. If not, their party will be forever damaged by the time this Trump horror show fades to black.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.