For months Donald Trump has made almost daily frontal attacks on the rule of law and done everything in his power to undermine and halt the Mueller investigation into potential Russian meddling in the 2016 election. At the same time he has branded all media which is in the least bit critical of him as “the enemy of the people”. The Republican Party, the only body in the country with the power to rein in the President in the short term, has either actively supported him or else remained quiescent. The Party has become Donald Trump’s principal enabler, failing abysmally to protect us from his assaults on two of the core pillars of our democracy. This has left the embattled judiciary as the principal remaining restraint on the President.

Between the Mueller investigation and Donald Trump’s implication in Michael Cohen’s confessed election crimes, there is an ever-increasing likelihood that the President’s legal issues will end up in the Supreme Court. Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s latest nomination for the Supreme Court, believes in an expansion of the power of the Presidency (a “unitary executive”). This is a deeply troubling concept at a time when the Presidency is constantly over-reaching. Kavanaugh has explicitly stated that he does not believe a sitting President can be held accountable for his/her crimes while in office (“I believe that the president should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office” and “we should not burden a sitting president with civil suits, criminal investigations, or criminal prosecution”). In the current situation, Kavanaugh’s nomination is highly inappropriate.

The Republicans are now trying to ram Kavanaugh’s confirmation through the Senate. Can you imagine the outrage on the Republican side if a sitting Democratic president in a similar position to Donald Trump made a similar nomination and did so less than three months before an election? Remember, this is the same Republican Party that held up Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court for eight months on the basis the nomination should not proceed that close to an election (it should be noted that Senator Susan Collins argued for confirmation hearings to be held). It is a measure of the extent of the hypocrisy within the Republican Party that those who enforced the delay with respect to Merrick Garland are now opposed to a similar delay with respect to Brett Kavanaugh. We should demand at the very least that the confirmation is put off until after we, the people, have had a chance to vote in November.

It seems almost daily the Republican Party surrenders one step more of the moral high ground to Donald Trump’s contempt for the norms and underpinnings of our democracy. Hopefully, this will end in tears for the Republican Party before it does lasting damage to the country.

Nigel Calder, Newcastle