This is what the Republican Party has always been.

The second most shameful thing about Donald Trump’s racist rant about “shithole countries” has been the cowardly reactions of elected Republicans.

But on Sunday morning, one of them let slip what it’s quite likely many of them are thinking.

On “Meet the Press,” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told host Chuck Todd that the “only thing” he regrets about Trump’s racist rant isn’t Trump being a racist, but people calling Trump a racist.

Paul also chided members of the media for “going bonkers” about Trump’s racist attack.

And he appallingly declared that calling out Trump’s racism for what it is will be the thing that dooms immigration reform.

The only thing I regret from all of this, other than I think some people in the media have gone completely bonkers with, you know, ad hominem on the president, but what I regret is I do want to see an immigration compromise, and you can’t have an immigration compromise if everybody is out there calling the president a racist. They’re actually destroying the setting, and he was a little bit of it, but both side are now destroying the setting in which anything meaningful can happen on immigration.

What’s truly remarkable is that Paul, like many Republicans, doesn’t bother to dispute that Trump made the remarks, but thinks people calling them out for what they are is the real problem.

That sentiment, bluntly expressed by Paul, differs very little from that of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who weakly called Trump’s rant “unhelpful.”

This is who Republicans are. They only care about Trump’s racism, incompetence, recklessness, or lawlessness to the extent that it interferes with their political goals.

That those goals almost always line up with this racist, incompetent, reckless, and lawless president tells you everything you need to know about the party as a whole.