Bill Press is old enough to remember the Watergate scandal. He also is a fierce Democratic partisan who cheered the resignation of President Nixon in 1974.
He’s now a Democratic Party “elder” who writes commentaries on occasion and speaks for Democrats who are engaged in a fight with another Republican in the White House, Donald Trump.
He wonders now whether there are any Republicans who will stand up to Donald Trump the way they stood up in 1974 to Richard Nixon. Press isn’t holding his breath. Neither are many of the rest of us.
Trump is fighting with House and Senate Democrats over the president’s assertion of executive power/privilege at the expense of the legislative power. Congress is demanding that Trump turn over his tax returns; Democrats want to talk to key White House aides; they are insisting on seeing the full, unredacted report filed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
Trump is having none of it.
Press wonders whether any of the Republicans in the House and Senate who are standing up for Trump will begin standing up to him if he continues his assault on the constitutional concept of “co-equal power” shared by those three branches of government: Congress, the White House and the courts.
He fears the worst. Press concludes in an essay: “The difference is, under Watergate, there were brave Republicans willing to stand up to their president: Bill Cohen of Maine and Lawrence Hogan of Maryland in the House; Barry Goldwater of Arizona and Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania in the Senate. Today, especially among cowardly Senate Republicans, we’re waiting for the first one with enough guts to stand up against Trump. It looks like it’s going to be a long wait.”
It took a GOP congressional delegation to troop to the White House to tell President Nixon he didn’t have the votes to withstand a Senate trial once the House impeached him. That’s when Nixon quit.
Is there a hero among the current crop of GOP lawmakers? I fear not.