Republicans Willingly Fed A Fire That They Can No Longer Control

As the resignations and denouncements roll in, it's important to remember the Republican Party's role in the rise of Trumpism.

Republicans Willingly Fed A Fire That They Can No Longer Control
Photograph by Anna Moneymaker-Pool / Getty

“The Snake”  was a song written and recorded by civil rights activist Oscar Brown in 1963. It was then re-recorded by singer Al Wilson in 1968. Oscar Brown and his children stated that his song was made as a pushback on racism. The song holds a story of a lady who finds a frozen snake near death and nurses it back to life. As she embraces it, it gives her a poisonous bite. She asks why, and then it replies, “well, you knew I was a snake.” President Trump has often used this song out of context on the campaign trail and at his rallies. He has dedicated it to Border Patriot officers and likened the snake to immigrants because that’s what he does.

Much like the ironic and unauthorized use of The Rolling Stone’s “You Can Always Get What You Want,” but as we enter the last days of the Trump presidency - the song takes a different meaning. As some Republicans now are trying to distance themselves away from their roles in propping up the image of Trump, the role of the song has changed. The Republican Party is the lady and losing consecutive presidential elections, they nurtured Trump, and now they are snake-bitten. In a May 3rd, 2016 tweet, Senator Lindsey Graham said “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed….and we will deserve it.” As his supporter stormed the Capitol on Wednesday where five people died and many officers were injured, that tweet feels like a self-fulfilling prophecy that most of the party were accomplishes.

During the campaign, President Trump called Senator Ted Cruz’s wife ugly and implemented his father in the plot to assassinate JFK. The night after the Capitol incident, he still joined with Trump with his baseless accusations about election fraud on the Senate floor. Right before that, he tweeted for people to stop storming the Capitol to still object to the election result.

Senator Lindsey Graham criticized President Trump over the Capitol riot and then said he didn’t agree with objecting to the election results, despite being Trump’s most ardent supporters in Congress. With the many resignations that have happened and to come, everybody is not heading for the lifeboats while the Titanic is sinking. Hoping that history will be kind to them and people will not remember where they stood when we look back at the hardships this administration caused and their roles in that. There is no valance that people like Elaine Chao and Betsy DeVos are now leaving the ship 12 days before the transfer of power because the hull has been breached by the ocean. Senator Mitch McConnell in 2016 said that the GOP would change Trump and not the other way around. Boy, was he wrong. A party that was more than willing to embrace the racist overtures of the Tea Party movement is now the personification of it. The rise of Donald Trump is the inside voice of the Republican Party, and now that it’s been known, people are heading for the hills.

You knew of his bankruptcies, his ad in the New York Times and comments about the Central Park Five, the ‘Grab Em’ video, the numerous accusations of sexual misconduct,  the lies, and the long line of hate speech and hitched a wagon to it. You hated that a Black man had a two-term presidency you jumped on board a drifting reality show figure to hijack your political standings. You loved the slogan, “Make America Great Again,'“ because that meant a time in the country where minorities and immigrants lived in fear and women “knew their places.” The going was good when you got tax cuts and deregulation, but now as you saw your knowable negligence manifest itself on Wednesday, you want to hideout.

We didn’t sign up for what you saw last night,” said Nick Mulvaney as he resigned. This was a guy who previously called Trump a ‘terrible human being,” while still willing to peddle his lies during his Chief of Staff tenure and after. “We didn’t sign up for what you saw” sounds like “I was just following orders.” The Republican Party was willing to go with the farces for as long as they could. Now that the monster has tuned out Frankenstein and King Kong is on top of the Empire State Building, you want the world to forget your role. Just like the end of the song and as he told you and multiple rallies even as recently as November 2020, “you knew I was a snake.” The fangs have left the scar of your party and poison now courses through what’s left of the democratic foundation of America.