At John McCain's funeral on Saturday, Americans displayed -- for a brief moment -- the better angels of their nature. But, David Leonhardt writes in The New York Times, for Republicans the display was an act of silent hypocrisy:
It was an act for Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. It was an act for Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House. It was an act, most jarringly, for Lindsey Graham, McCain’s dear friend and the senior senator from South Carolina. It was an act for Orrin Hatch, Rob Portman and nearly all of the other Republican members of Congress who attended the service.
It was an act because they have not kept faith with the principles that McCain held dear — and that he himself organized his memorial service to celebrate, as a clear rebuke to Trump and Trumpism. McConnell, Ryan, Graham and the others have instead done the very opposite of keeping faith. They have made possible Trump’s hateful, petty, law-defying politics.
Their record, under Trump, speaks for itself:
They have refused to defend America’s national security in the face of Russian attacks. They have refused to defend the rule of law against Trump’s attacks. They have refused to defend the F.B.I., the Justice Department and the First Amendment. They have refused to defend the basic civil rights that Trump seeks to deny to dark-skinned American citizens, including the right to vote and the right to hold a passport.
George W. Bush's praise of McCain was a rebuke to them:
“He was honorable, always recognizing that his opponents were still patriots and human beings. He loved freedom, with the passion of a man who knew its absence. He respected the dignity inherent in every life, a dignity that does not stop at borders and cannot be erased by dictators. Perhaps above all, John detested the abuse of power. He could not abide bigots and swaggering despots.”
And Meghan McCain's anger was aimed directly at them:
“The America of John McCain is generous and welcoming and bold. She is resourceful and confident and secure. She meets her responsibilities. She speaks quietly because she is strong. America does not boast because she has no need to. The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great.”
They should have sat in shame. But they didn't. Their hypocrisy will be in full display this week as they rush through Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court, and refuse to release 100,000 pages of the paper trail Kavanaugh created.
McCain knew who they were. One hopes most Americans know, too.
Image: The New York Times