Washington Post columnist and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, Michael Gerson slammed President Donald Trump for his moral ambiguity as this latest scandal involving his son’s contact with a Russian lawyer unfolds.
The op-ed “An administration without a conscience,” published Thursday in the Washington Post, made no reservations in labeling the contact between some of Trump’s most senior advisors and a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin as collusion. In the piece, Gerson railed against Trump’s unapologetic response to these recent revelations, writing:
“… the most shocking thing is that no one on the Trump side was shocked. The most offensive thing is that no one took offense. Trump’s son, son-in-law and campaign manager treated the offer of aid by a hostile foreign power to tilt an election as just another day at the office.”
The explanation for this “toxic moral atmosphere,” Gerson argues, is Trump himself. In is his lust for victory at any cost and his paranoid belief that the system is rigged against him, Trump created the bedrock for this ethically questionable meeting to take place, even though he did not attend himself.
“Trumpism is an easygoing belief system that indulges and excuses the stiffing of contractors, the conning of students, the bilking of investors, the exploitation of women and the practices of nepotism and self-dealing. A faith that makes losing a sin will make cheating a sacrament.”
But the Trump’s aren’t alone in their guilt. Many Republicans, Gerson says, have too often and too easily employed excuses for the inept president. In some cases, even the most Christian of conservatives have tossed aside moral and ethical considerations when it comes to the administration’s scandalous behavior, wrote Gerson, who was raised as a Christian although his grandfather was Jewish.
“Their innocence, the argument goes, is proved by their guilt. This might apply to minor infractions of campaign finance law. It does not cover egregious acts of wrongdoing. Putting a future president in the debt of a foreign power — and subject, presumably, to blackmail by that power — is the height of sleazy stupidity. It is not a mistake born of greenness; it is evidence of a vacant conscience.”