The firing of Homeland Security Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, one of Trump’s most faithful lap dogs, because she could not implement his image of a perfect illegal immigration policy has dire implications for democracy and the rule of law in the United States, not only for their immediate consequences, but for what it will tell us about the bankruptcy of Republican governance.
What Nielsen’s firing shows is that there is no way to accomplish Trump’s goals according to the rule of law and democratic norms. His lies, demagoguery, inhumanity, and refusal to face reality have hit a brick wall. Nielsen’s departure, of course, changes nothing. But we know what it portends: Trump will simply double down on his lawlessness and demagoguery. Surely, there are more children and entire families he can place in wire cages in concentration camps —and he will find lackeys even more willing than Nielsen to follow his whims. Attorney General Barr, given his despicable precedence handling the Mueller report, will be the first to fall in line.
But the most chilling of the likely results: Congressional Republicans, led by the ilk of Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, and Lindsey Graham, will once more roll over and play dead as Trump roars ahead with his contempt for the rule of law, democracy, and common human decency toward the suffering of innocent human beings. Any semblance of hope that Republicans will finally rise in support of what we used to think of as America’s basic values will go by the boards. Only the Democratic House of Representatives may save us from total degradation. The rest of us can only pray for its success—and the results of the 2020 tions.