“Politicians are interested in people. Not that this is always a virtue. Fleas are interested in dogs.” – Murray Rothbard
Ever since last year’s midterm elections ended and America started looking forward to the 2024 presidential race, the subject of loyalty has been coming up more and more in conversations among conservatives and Republicans. In particular, the issue of loyalty to former President Donald Trump has been talked about more and more among members of the right-wing chattering class.
Supporters of Trump and the MAGA movement have criticized others on the right for seemingly not offering enough support for the former president. Indeed, I have even been accused of this even though I never identified as MAGA or a Trump supporter despite having voted for him in the 2020 election.
But now that it seems likely that the former president will be arrested in what is clearly a politically-motivated effort to influence the outcome of the 2024 primary and possibly general elections, some MAGA influencers are suggesting that those who are not speaking out forcefully enough are not loyal enough to Trump, which is quite strange from where I sit.
The Washington Examiner published a piece noting that the “potential indictment of former President Donald Trump is turning into a loyalty test for other Republicans, with MAGA-world pressuring Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and others to protest actions by New York prosecutors as the presidential contest takes shape.”
The author is correct, especially when it comes to DeSantis, who has been savaged since last year because he is expected to challenge Trump for the GOP presidential nomination. Indeed, Trump himself has criticized DeSantis for possibly throwing his hat in the ring since the former president helped DeSantis in his first run for Florida governor.
Prominent Republicans and members of conservative media have slammed New York prosecutors for targeting Trump for indictment while others have not been as quick to speak out against it publicly. The Washington Examiner noted that folks in Trump’s “orbit” were “furious” and “equating the lack of an outcry as disloyalty to the former president and his large base.”
Donald Trump Jr., the former president’s son, took to Twitter to tell his follower to “[p]ay attention to which Republicans spoke out against this corrupt BS immediately and who sat on their hands and waited to see which way the wind was blowing.”
Pay attention to which Republicans spoke out against this corrupt BS immediately and who sat on their hands and waited to see which way the wind was blowing. https://t.co/WJMq2528Gs
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 19, 2023
Trump Jr.’s tweet was a response to conservative influencer Jack Posobiec, who expressed similar sentiments:
It takes 10 seconds to send a tweet
“This prosecution of President Trump is a farce and does grave damage to our republic”
We have eyes to see today
— No Bailouts Poso 🚫💰 (@JackPosobiec) March 18, 2023
Posobiec later posted another tweet in which he urged his followers to “[p]ay very close attention to which conservatives are silent on the Trump indictment.”
Pay very close attention to which conservatives are silent on the Trump indictment
This isn't about the 2024 primary and all that gaga
This is about the very nature of our country itself
— No Bailouts Poso 🚫💰 (@JackPosobiec) March 18, 2023
The Trump War Room Twitter account noted on Sunday that it had been “over 24 hours and some people are still quiet.”
It has been over 24 hours and some people are still quiet. History will judge their silence.
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) March 19, 2023
Even after DeSantis lashed out at New York prosecutors for going after Trump, it wasn’t good enough for MAGA, who characterized his response as too weak.
Naturally, others have spoken out against the supposed loyalty test. In another Washington Examiner article, commentator Ian Haworth urged readers to wait for more information on the matter and see if New York prosecutors actually have the stones to arrest Trump based on that silly Stormy Daniels nonsense. “Because politics and culture both circle the drain of instant gratification, virtue signaling, and viral clickbait, taking your time to pause and simply wait for information is no longer seen as the expected first response of a mature adult,” he wrote.
Haworth continued: “But as conservatives — given that we claim to live in a world of facts over feelings — shouldn’t we wait for the facts before grabbing our proverbial pitchforks, let alone before grabbing our proverbial pitchforks and attacking those on our own side for insufficient loyalty to Trump and therefore conservatism all while other more important stories (such as the Biden family’s apparent Chinese money laundering scheme ) slip away?”
Others have pushed back against the idea that MAGA is trying to impose a loyalty test on the conservative movement. Breitbart News’ Joel Pollack posted a tweet stressing that it is “a test of loyalty to the Constitution.”
This — from @WashTimes — is wrong. It’s not a test of loyalty to Trump; it’s a test of loyalty to the Constitution. If you are willing to see your opponent jailed for no reason other than to eliminate him from the field, you have no claim to lead. https://t.co/O4ocplP7y2
— Joel Pollak (@joelpollak) March 20, 2023
To be fair, many who are lambasting New York for possibly targeting Trump are doing so based on principle. Pollack is right that this is about the Constitution, not Trump. However, I’ve seen the loyalty thing coming up far too often to pretend that some of these folks don’t believe Republicans are supposed to be loyal to the former president.
This is a dangerous line of thinking. As Americans, we the people should never have loyalty to a politician – at least not blind loyalty. These people are supposed to be working for us, not acting as our saviors. Any potential support of a politician should be dependent on how fervently they are fighting to protect and promote liberty, and even then, we should be skeptical. These are not our friends or family members – they are agents of the state and should be seen as such. Hero worship should have no place in politics. But unfortunately, it does.
If New York does decide to go through with the prosecution, it will be wrong because it is a brazen abuse of the state to target political opposition, not because it is being done to Trump. It is wrong regardless of who the target is or whether they have an “R” or a “D” next to their name. This development is about principles, not a man.
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