Even for Trump-era Republicans, a cattle call outside a criminal courthouse for the purpose of helping Trump evade his gag order is so tremendously undignified that one feels a physical urge to turn away from it.

The GOP has adopted the Chinese model of governance,” economist Patrick Chovanec said of the spectacle. One divine ruler surrounded by a bunch of eunuchs.” I won’t belabor this column with another ramble about the emasculation of Republican men under Trump except to say that watching them put on daddy’s clothes for their big-boy outing in the city is an unusually garish example.

To apologize, to show remorse, to seek forgiveness is the essence of weakness: That’s Trump, and Trumpism. That a person who treats remorse as a failing of character would become the great political idol of conservative Christians, whose faith sacralizes remorse and repentance, is one of the most disgusting political developments in modern American history. And it helps explain why Speaker Mike Johnson’s cameo outside the courthouse this week felt especially loathsome. It’s not (just) that Johnson is the highest-ranking Republican in government. It’s that he purports to be a serious Christian and yet there he was, extolling Trump’s remorselessness—in a matter involving adultery with a porn star, no less.

Nick Cattogio

May 17, 2024

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