The GOP Love Criminals

Photo by Max Letek

As we head toward the 2024 election, it appears clear that the GOP has a love affair with criminals. Trump faces 91 indictments and was already convicted of being a business cheat to the tune of several billion dollars. His violent rhetoric—he threatened NBC News with treason, called for the former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, to be executed, and called for defunding the FBI and Federal Department of Justice.  GOP Representative Matt Gaetz led the assault on McCarthy. The Florida Republican faces proceedings from the Ethics Committee for pedophilia, sex trafficking, and misuse of campaign funds.

Some 397 GOP supporters went to jail for trying to overturn the 2020 election by invading Congress to disrupt proceedings, and another 500 are on probation. Three Republican presidential candidates have already promised to pardon Trump for his criminal behavior, and only two said they wouldn’t support a criminal for president if he’s convicted.

Recently, GOP Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton faced 16 articles of impeachment but retained his hold on power after only two Republicans voted for his impeachment. He still faces a state security fraud with penalties of up to 99 years in prison. Before the last election, eight of his employees and staffers in his office accused him of bribery, abuse of power, and other federal crimes. Nevertheless, Republicans still reelected him, 53% to 44%, over his Democratic rival.

GOP Congressman George Santos was indicted for fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and false statements, and he lied on his resume during his campaign for office. Few Republicans called for his dismissal.

GOP lawyer Rudy Giuliani faces indictment in Georgia, along with 18 other Republicans, for trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and he still faces possible charges brought by the Justice Department. Recent reports indicate Giuliani was often drunk while advising Trump in the White House. Now, he owes the IRS $500,000 for cheating on his taxes.

Before leaving office, President Trump pardoned a rogue’s gallery of political criminals, including National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, former White House strategist Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, his former political advisor, and his former fundraiser Elliot Broidy. These men continue to have a strong influence and following among the GOP. Steve Bannon, who claims the 2020 election was stolen and Mexicans are “invading” our border, has 2 million viewers and asserts that his “War Room” organized the ouster of McCarthy.

Former campaign chair Paul Manafort received a pardon after he lied about Trump’s business and political connections to Russia and its attempt to subvert the 2020 election. Seven more GOP Congressmen received pardons after being convicted of various crimes, including lying to the FBI and fraud.  The list is shocking and doesn’t include what some consider legislative crimes, such as opposition to health care, child poverty, refusal to raise the minimum wage, resistance to regulate water, air, and land toxins safely, and the GOP’s support for invading Iraq and Afghanistan, which cost $8 trillion, significantly adding to the national debt.  Nor does the list include the fact that GOP states are the most dangerous states in the country. The GOP rules eight of ten of the highest murder rate states. Even New York, which has 4.11 murders per 100,000, is dwarfed by GOP states like Mississippi, with 20.5 per 100,000, and Tennessee, with 9.90 per 100,000. Overall, states that voted for Trump saw murder rates 40% higher than states that voted for Biden.  The “what-about-it” crowd will point to the President’s son, who lied about buying a gun while addicted to cocaine, and Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, who took bribes from his supporters.

Over half of Congressional Democrats called for him to resign, compared to only seven GOP members who asked George Santos to resign. Can there be another conclusion, except the GOP loves criminals?

Could the GOP be more concerned about gaining power “by any means necessary,” as Lenin said? Why do 66% of loyal, faithful servants of the GOP say they will still vote for Trump if he’s convicted? Can democracy continue without a shared notion of what constitutes a crime?