In response to a Republican senator's criticism that the GOP has become a cult of Trump, Donald Trump Jr. agreed.
"It’s becoming a cultish thing, isn’t it?" said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) on Wednesday morning, expressing frustration with the party's unwillingness to criticize Trump or contravene his policies. "It’s not a good place for any party to end up with a cult-like situation as it relates to a president that happens to be of — purportedly — the same party."
Thursday morning on "Fox & Friends," Donald Trump Jr. said, "If it's a cult, it's because they like what my father is doing."
"Well, yes, that’s how cults work," wrote Jonathan Chait of New York magazine. "They start off by inculcating some sense of group loyalty, then they are taught to disregard any external source of information — and, say, instead get their news from a source that is working for the cult, like Fox News — and pretty soon, they have lost any capacity to make independent judgments. Eventually, they are praising the toughness of Kim Jong-un and treating Donald Trump Jr. as a respected and accomplished figure."
President Trump has been criticized for meeting with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un this week, an idea Republicans criticized under a Democratic president. He conducted the meeting without preconditions or discussion of the brutal regime's human-rights violations, and left it with no commitments to denuclearization that Kim hadn't already made. Trump announced an end to joint military maneuvers with South Korea, without extracting new concessions from Kim. And in an interview with Fox News, Trump praised Kim as a "tough guy" and "very talented."
Corker had proposed a bill that would have enabled Congress to veto tariffs Trump has announced against Canada, Mexico and the European Union, which threaten to increase prices for American consumers and negatively affect U.S. farmers. But GOP leadership blocked it on Tuesday.
"'Gosh, we might poke the bear' is the language I’ve been hearing in the hallways," said Corker, who is retiring after this term, on the Senate floor Tuesday. "We might poke the bear. The president might get upset with us as United States senators if we vote on the Corker amendment, so we’re going to do everything we can to block it."
Corker's comments followed sporadic discontented rumblings from the old-school GOP. At an event on May 31, former House Speaker John Boehner said, "There is no Republican Party. There is a Trump party. The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere."