Apparently, complicit is THE word for 2017, according to Dictionary.com.
As an adjective, the word means “choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others.” Many around President Donald Trump are guilty of this behavior.
Of course, there is also a resistance against Trumpism. But events in the last few weeks are showing weakening checks and balances.
Of all those who are complicit, Exhibit A is the Trump’s family and senior staff. Even the so-called “adults in the room” are unwilling –or unable – to control Trump’s worst impulses.
In the White House, Chief of Staff John Kelly is seemingly unable to deter Trump’s outlandish tweets. As Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders defends Trump in an eyebrow-raising but loyal manner. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, may well be creating chaos in the Middle East.
From State to the Department of Homeland Security, many Cabinet Departments are carrying out actions that are questionable, if not illegal.
Recently, a Mexican diplomat reported that the State Department is encouraging DC embassies to patronize the DC Trump Hotel. The State Department is “gutting” its senior staff, at a time when global crises are proliferating.
Over at the Department of Homeland Security, they are carrying out Trump policies that lack evidence. An example was the various versions of the travel ban.
Initially, lower-court judges were able to check the bans. However, the Supreme Court sided with the Trump administration.
Early in his term, Trump successfully placed conservative Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. While this did not change the Court’s ideological balance, Gorsuch’s youth gives conservatives a long-term advantage.
Further, Trump has been successful in packing the federal lower courts. He has nominated eight appellate judges, “the most this early in this presidency since Richard M. Nixon.” These judges hear many more cases than the Supreme Court.
A recent example of a judge appointed by Trump ruling in his favor was the CPFB Director mess. Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, sided with the Trump administration’s interpretation of the law.
Incompetence aids complicity. The American Bar Association has rated 8 percent of Trump’s nominees to be “not qualified.” For recent previous presidents, this number ranged from 0 to 1 percent.
Even Republican Senator John Kennedy couldn’t stomach two recent Trump nominees. Both had blatant conflicts of interest, and one has never tried a case.
However, such rebellions are rare and possibly declining.
For two main reasons, House and Senate Republicans go along with Trumpism.
True, some Republican Senators are resisting Trump. Unfortunately, three of five to six such Senators are on their way out.
Perhaps even a negative Mueller report will fail in making this Congress less complicit.