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Opinion | Alabama lawmakers back Trump, prove they’ve learned nothing from recent scandals

President Donald Trump speaking in 2017 just outside Harrisburg. Staff Sgt. Tony Harp/U.S. Air National Guard

Why do our people never learn?

You would think that in a state where at least eight lawmakers and multiple politicos have been indicted or convicted in recent years of public corruption that we would take from that a few lessons on how to behave.

You’d think our lawmakers would, at the very least, learn how to respond after allegations of wrongdoing hit the table.

But if you thought that, you would be sadly mistaken.

On Wednesday, Michael Cohen, the man who served for 12 years as Donald Trump’s personal attorney, testified under oath before a Congressional committee about the various misdeeds of Trump over the years.

Cohen told the committee of felonies. He told them about hush money payments to a porn star. He told them about Russian deals. He told them of the many deplorable acts and lies of the man who astonishingly holds the office of President of the United States — at least for now.

Cohen didn’t come empty handed. He brought receipts with him to support his claims. And most of those claims matched reporting and evidence brought to light in various investigations of the Trump family and Trump businesses.

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All of this was quite the blow to Alabama Republicans — the Trumpiest of all Trump supporters out there.

They love Trump, because who better represents paycheck-to-paycheck living, Bible-reciting, soldier-loving blue-collar workers better than a self-proclaimed billionaire who’s been married three times, paid off a porn star, dodged the draft with fake bone spurs and never worked a day in his life?

But despite their love, you would think that, given recent history in this state, there would be some pause given prior to expressing their unabashed support for the man.


Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh tweeted, as Cohen was in the process of explaining how Trump violated multiple campaign finance laws to pay hush money to the porn star, that he was backing Trump.

“Every day liberals and the media try to tear down our president,” Marsh tweeted. “I support President Trump, and think that our leaders should work with our president, not criticize his every action.”

The chairwoman of the Alabama Republican Party, Terry Lathan, tweeted during Cohen’s testimony: “This is ridiculous. A man going to prison for lying to Congress is the Democrats lead witness and now he’s lying again under oath? Their hatred of the president is blinding them.”

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And on it went with retweets and whining and declarations of unyielding love for a man who shares zero of their personal beliefs and has been an unmitigated disaster for this state in every area except racism.

All of them apparently unaware or uncaring of the recent history that surrounds them.

Look at what happened to those who took a stand against the corruption of Mike Hubbard, Robert Bentley and so many others. Look at the people in office who have been outspoken supporters of tougher ethics laws and outspoken critics of those who break them and those who try to weaken them.

They have thrived with voters.

Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, who most people couldn’t pick out of a lineup with The Beatles three years ago, took a stand against Hubbard and in support of tougher ethics laws. He upset a lifelong politician who took the opposite track.

Others who took a stand have been similarly rewarded — with either higher officer or easy re-elections.

On the other hand, those who have chosen the other path have been miserable failures, some of them on a grand scale.

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Luther Strange was already picking out drapes in U.S. Senate office, when he made the mind-boggling decision to hop in bed with Robert Bentley. The result: he couldn’t beat a guy who got banned from a mall.

Countless House and Senate Republicans took a stand behind Hubbard after his indictment. Many of them are without jobs (or serving prison time themselves). They have lost standing and respect, and in any state that doesn’t allow straight-party voting they would be toast come election time. 

Hell, even with it, they were scared to death.

Last year, when it came time to put a bill on the floor to weaken the state’s ethics laws, not a single member running for re-election would touch it.

That’s because, as our lawmakers should have learned by now, partisan spin and whataboutisms only work until the cards hit the table. Then those voters that you’ve been fooling see the light, and they get angry.

Alabama lawmakers should be able to teach this class by now. They should be giving lessons in restraint and in hedging your bets. Or they should be smart enough to recognize a crook and run the other way.

Instead, they are again lining up behind a man who is far more likely at this point to be indicted and/or impeached than not. A man who has clearly violated every moral code they claim to hold dear. A man who is, at his core, an awful human being. 

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Because our people never, ever learn.


Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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