Why Trump Supporters Will Never Change on Impeachment

Donald Trump’s supporters will almost certainly not change their stance on impeachment, despite the fact that strong evidence continues to grow in support of the allegation that Trump used the power of his office for personal gain.

The testimony of a number of highly respected witnesses corroborates the the intelligence community whistleblower whose complaint was the catalyst for the Trump impeachment inquiry. A number of the witnesses have served honorably under both political parties, and stress that they are loyal to the country, not to a president or political party. Yet Trump’s supporters will have none of that.

It’s not just because Trump’s supporters are loyal (often irrationally so). It’s not because they see Trump as an honorable, or even innocent, man. It’s in large part because many of Trump’s supporters seem unable to fully connect the dots between Trump’s alleged conditioning of military aid to Ukraine, and the importance to the U.S. of Ukraine’s position in the world (and its relationship with the U.S.).

Many Trump supporters, taking their cue from GOP lawmakers, now acknowledge that Trump may well have required that Ukraine investigate one of Trump’s political rivals (Joe Biden) and Biden’s son, Hunter, in exchange for (already allocated) military aid. (“Do us a favor, though,” said Trump.) And, parroting Trump, they maintain that what Trump did was not wrong.

But the idea that the impeachment inquiry is nothing more than folly goes beyond simply the belief that Trump did nothing wrong.

Many Trump supporters feel we shouldn’t be helping Ukraine, anyway. Other countries, according to Trump and, consequently, his supporters,  are far behind the U.S. in their aid to Ukraine, and should step up. Let Ukraine help themselves, they say, or let other countries help them for a change. We should be focusing on America and Americans.

That mindset, however, shows an ignorance of the strategic diplomatic balance required not only to support Ukraine in its fight to remain free from Russia, but also to help maintain the balance of freedom and national security for other countries, including, yes, the United States.

The U.S. cannot afford to be an island. It’s in our best interests, not just those of Ukraine, for the U.S. to continue to offer its support, and to avoid dangling support in front of Ukraine on condition of a “favor” in return.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the U.S. has consistently provided aid to Ukraine, in part because Ukraine is a key Russia-bordering country. Pro-Western political and military links in Ukraine are vital to the U.S, as well as to the well- being of the Western world, in general.

“Our efforts have been designed to promote stability, to protect the integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, and to help it reform,” said former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine John E. Herbst, now director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council.

And according to Ned Price, a member of the National Security Council during the Obama administration, “(Military aid to Ukraine) is to send a signal that Russia cannot violate one of the key tenets of international affairs, and that is that big countries cannot bully small countries. Our aid has been an integral part of a deterrence against Putin’s worst ambitions.”

The idea put forth by Trump that other countries are not doing their part to provide foreign aid to Ukraine is false. Since 2014, European countries have provided approximately two-thirds of all of the aid given to Ukraine. The E.U. has sent more than $16.5 billion in loans and grants to support Ukraine’s reform process, and Germany and Britain, on their own, have each offered millions of dollars in assistance. Japan, too, gave $3.1 billion to Ukraine in the early 1990s to establish diplomatic relations.

To Donald Trump’s supporters, withholding aid from a foreign country is, in part, what “America First” means. Global security, to them, may mean eliminating our perceived enemies, but it doesn’t consider strategic protection and global relationship-fostering. And, to Donald Trump’s supporters, loyalty to country means loyalty to Trump, who preaches that not only do we not need to nurture relationships with other countries to Make America Great Again, other countries don’t need us, either.

Why U.S. Aid Is So Important To Ukraine | NBC News Now
NBC News  [2019-10-14]

Camerota asks voter how she would vote if Trump shot someone. Hear her response | CNN  [2019-11-06]

Mulvaney: ‘Get Over It;’ Democrats: ‘We Don’t Think So, Mick’

Though “Get over it” seems to be the Trump administration’s response whenever they’ve been caught in a lie, called out on wrongdoing, or…caught placing the country at risk, Mick Mulvaney may have been the first to say the actual words out loud and in public.

During an October 17 press conference, Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff, admitted that Trump used U.S. Congress-appropriated military aid as leverage to further his personal political agenda. Trump, he said, withheld the aid, badly needed by Ukraine to resist Russian aggression, in order to pressure Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate a conspiracy theory about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the 2016 election. A quid pro quo, in other words.

“We do that all the time with foreign policy,” said Mulvaney. “I have news for everybody: Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy.”

The Department of Justice, however, distanced itself from Mulvaney’s claims that Trump had its blessing for this particular “foreign policy” exchange.

“If the White House was withholding aid in regards to the cooperation of any investigation at the Department of Justice, that is news to us,” a DOJ official told the Washington Examiner.

Others, too, including some GOP lawmakers, were aghast at Mulvaney’s admission. 

“Totally inexplicable,” said one, who requested anonymity. “He literally said the thing the president and everyone else said did not happen.”

After you’ve denied a whistleblower’s allegations, what else can you do, though, when a rough transcript of the phone call between Trump and Zelenskiy, along with a number of current and former State Department officials and White House employees, confirm the whistleblower’s account — that not only was there a quid pro quo, but it was to benefit Trump personally? If you’re Mick Mulvaney or Donald Trump, you brazenly change your tack to “Yeah, we did it. Get over it.”

Though Mulvaney argued that every administration makes deals like this with foreign governments  — seeking concessions in exchange for aid — it is done to aid the interests or protection of the United States. In this case, however, Donald Trump sought to use the U.S. military aid to further his personal political ambitions.

According to U.S. law, “soliciting anything of value” from a foreign government in connection with an election is illegal. Asking a leader of a foreign country for a “favor” — to dig up dirt on a political opponent — is illegal (let alone, unethical). A U.S. president using his office to further his personal interests is impeachable. 

Shortly after throwing Trump under the bus, Mulvaney tried to walk back his words, claiming the press had misrepresented what he had said. Everyone in the room, however, heard what Mulvaney said, and there are multiple video records of what he said.

Considering the recent and upcoming testimony of several diplomats and other U.S. Foreign Service officials, including today’s scheduled testimony from acting U.S, Ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor, Jr., it’s clear that lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives do not intend to just “get over it.” 

Mulvaney: ‘Get Over’ Political Influence in Foreign Policy | Bloomberg Markets and Finance [2019-10-17]

Fleischer: Mulvaney made a ‘terrible mistake’ by contradicting Trump |
Fox News | [2019-10-18]