Apologies in Washington—a city that runs exclusively on power and privilege—never really carried much weight before Donald Trump became president, and are even more meaningless now that the GOP’s “facts not feelings” crew has taken a wrecking ball to the myth of civility politics entirely.
Nevertheless, there are still myopic wienies out there eager to lap up the idea that simply being nice to one another is the key to neutralizing our current era of excremental politics—something Republicans are now gleefully exploiting by insisting that anyone who alleged that Trump may have been, uh, not super above-board in his dealings with Russia during the 2016 election should now be forced to say they’re oh-so-very sorry for hurting our poor, fragile president’s precious feelings.
PlEasE wO’nT YOU ApoLOGizE??!?
As my colleague Hamilton Nolan aptly noted way back in the halcyon days of 2018, politics is power and nothing more. Currently, the bulk of that power lies with Republicans who are feeling awfully emboldened by what they claim—but refuse to prove—is Robert Mueller’s total exoneration of the president. And so the Trump administration and its allies can pretend to take the high road and insist that, actually, they’re willing to play by the very same imaginary rules of civility they’ve spent decades ignoring.
It’s all bullshit, of course. No one, least of all the president and his goon squad, actually cares about apologies. Has Trump ever apologized for anything in his entire life? Probably not. But at least they can all pat themselves on the back for acting like these superficial things matter, while actively working to undermine everything else within arm’s reach.