EDITORIAL: Who did House condemn again?

Dispatch Editorial Board
Republican lawmakers, from left, Rep. Scott Perry, R-Carroll Township, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Lee Zeldin R-N.Y., arrive Monday for a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill.

It would take whole a team of surgeons to implant a spine in U.S. Rep. Scott Perry.

This past week, the Carroll Township Republican flanked his mentor and House Freedom Caucus sibyl Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, as Jordan defended President Donald Trump's decision to abandon the Kurds in northern Syria. The move ensured a Turkish incursion into the region and a humanitarian crisis.

Days later, Perry offered a ham-fisted defense of the president's willingness to burn an ally and tacitly endorse ethnic cleansing.

It's "complicated," Perry said of the issues at play. Trump's actions were a justified expression of a campaign promise, he swore.

All the while, the Republican establishment — especially in the U.S. Senate — turned on Trump over Syria, even as it defended the self-dealing and petty grift that's pervasive throughout the Trump administration.

And then, on Wednesday, something happened. That's when a resolution condemning Trump's military exodus from Syria reached the House floor. 

It passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 354-60. Dissenters included Perry's Freedom Caucus chums, Jordan and Matt Gaetz, from whom Perry typically takes his cues. 

Perry, however, voted for the condemnation.

Interesting. Did Perry suddenly grow some courage amid the slaughter of men, women and children? 

Not so much. 

When asked Thursday about how his vote squared with his previous defense, Perry offered some Olympic-caliber mental gymnastic.

His vote was a condemnation of the Turks, he said. But the "President made the best decision he could under the circumstances for the sake of our troops," Perry continued.

Let's be absolutely clear hear: The resolution approved by the House, which Perry supported, was a condemnation of Trump's action. Yet a day later, Perry twisted and bent his rhetoric to expressly avoid criticizing the man named in the very legislation for which Perry voted. 

It's just another example of the rank cowardice that permeates the Trump-era GOP. Perry's response is unfit of anyone who considers himself a member of a co-equal branch of government.

His unwillingness to call out Trump's sophomoric, transactional view of the world is that of a sycophant in some royal court.

But that's what we have now in Washington. Lawmakers such as Perry are eyeing the 2020 election cycle. They see polls that show Trump, though disliked among Americans, remains incredibly popular within the GOP. They see a party infrastructure that's been completely overhauled to Trump's liking.

And Perry and too many others in similar situations debase themselves to keep their jobs. They kiss the ring in a system that requires that they stand up to an unhinged chief executive. 

But doing so might incur Trump's wrath on Twitter. 

Anything for a cushy job?