At the beginning of the week, House Republicans voted to gut the Congressional Ethics Office. The next day they voted to reverse their decision after being scolded by their leader on Twitter. Some claim that Mr. Trump showed his leadership skills. But Frank Bruni wasn't fooled. He wrote in New York Times:
Is it any wonder that House Republicans felt O.K. about trying to slip free of some of their own ethical shackles, no matter how ugly the optics?The story here isn’t what, specifically, they attempted to do. Nor is it their abandonment of the plan once the media gasped and their dear leader wagged his finger at them.It’s the tone that Trump has set and the culture that he’s creating. He operates with an in-your-face defiance, so these House Republicans did, too. He puts his own desires and comfort first, so they reserved the right to do the same. With more than a few of his cabinet picks, he demonstrated little sense of fidelity to what he promised voters and even less concern about appearances. House Republicans decided to treat themselves to a taste of that freedom.
They were simply listening to their Master's Voice. David Brooks pointed out a couple of weeks ago that Trump has never been accountable to anyone -- a board of directors or shareholders. And, now that they are in control of all three branches of the government, Republicans feel that they are only accountable to themselves.
That's an extremely dangerous situation. It means that the only thing that will limit their hubris is public outrage.