The pattern seems established – a template formed in a political campaign and propagated by the Conservative hate media. Trump says or does something false, stupid, cruel, classless, embarrassing, dangerous – one runs out of pejoratives to capture the last year and a half. The response from his followers is immediate: “fake news” to “he didn’t say that” to “he didn’t mean that” to “what about Hillary?” Add a new one to the string: “who cares?” Junior got caught colluding with the Russians and the evidence (even as it continues to emerge) is undeniable. Up to this point, the mantra has evolved from “absolutely no one in the Trump Campaign has had any discussions with any Russians ever…” to “there is absolutely no evidence of any collusion…” to “The DNC (i.e. Clinton) colluded with the Russians…” to “everybody does it and would have done the same…” to today’s attempt at damage control: “Who cares? We should be colluding with the Russians…” Apart from the continuing pattern of lying, what the Trump campaign did may or may not have been illegal – we still don’t know all of the evidence collected by the special investigator – but what they did should never be normalized or accepted by patriots who care about the country more than politics.
The idea of soliciting, or accepting the material assistance of a foreign power to affect an election has always been considered crossing the line by all political parties. When that foreign power is also committing espionage to facilitate that effort it begins to look like treason. When Trump in effect admits accepting the help of Russian espionage to win the election and asks “who cares?” he is reiterating his contention that he could murder someone in broad daylight and still have the strong support from his base. Up to this point he seems to be right. Evangelicals strongly support him even with his history of misogyny, serial adultery and marriages, pathological lying, etc. No Evangelical would tout Trump as a model of Christian virtue, but he has their undying support. There is no wall, no end to ISIS, no repeal and replace so far, no immigration reform, no new infrastructure or jobs programs, etc. but his base remains supportive. The Trumpcare plan would devastate health care for tens of millions of Americans, most of whom voted for Trump, but the base remains supportive. Trump has taken the side of a foreign adversary over our own national security organizations, praised foreign despots and alienated allies, with no notable decline of support from his base voters. It’s a cult-like phenomenon with facts and reality routinely dismissed by supporters if adverse to their emotional conviction. This has obviously scared the daylights out of Republicans in Congress, who cower in silence even as they have been attacked and betrayed by the Trump Administration.
The idea that ANY American would dismiss collusion with a hostile foreign power to win an election would have seemed unthinkable before today, but it seems possible now. The fact that Trump appears to be floating the idea that no one cares about the collusion indicates that he is not only testing the boundaries of his own malfeasance, but also the very foundation of our Republic – the idea that we all have a responsibility to protect our democracy from foreign influence.