Hey, Republicans: Your fake patriotism is showing.
With the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election continuing to heat up, Donald Trump’s allies are not even trying to hide their fake patriotism anymore.
And that becomes even more obvious as they turn their ire on special counsel Robert Mueller, a Vietnam veteran with a decorated combat record from his time in the Marine Corps.
After it was reported Friday that Mueller’s office would be making the first indictments in the Russia investigation on Monday, it didn’t take long for Trump and his defenders to go on the attack.
Many of Trump’s closest allies, including former White House official Sebastian Gorka and longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone, took to social media to lash out at Mueller.
In a series of tweets, Gorka called into question Mueller’s integrity and suggested that the Purple Heart recipient should be fired and investigated for doing his job.
Stone followed up a short time later, sending a series of tweets mocking Mueller and belittling his investigative work.
Not to be outdone, Fox News’ Sean Hannity also joined the pile-on, writing in a tweet that this had been a “HORRIBLE week for Mueller, Special Counsel’s office” and implying that the pending indictments are “ALL A DISTRACTION.”
These blatant attacks follow a series of statements by Trump’s allies in Congress, as well as a Fox News report impugning Mueller’s integrity and citing “new Republican pressure” for him to resign.
Among those calling on Mueller to resign is Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), a Trump loyalist who said Friday that Mueller is “compromised” by his relationship with former FBI Director James Comey.
“The federal code could not be clearer — Mueller is compromised by his apparent conflict of interest in being close with James Comey,” Franks told Fox News. “The appearance of a conflict is enough to put Mueller in violation of the code. … All of the revelations in recent weeks make the case stronger.”
Those so-called “revelations” include a report that Democratic donors helped fund the opposition research that later became known as the Steele dossier — a revelation that was already largely known, and which has no impact on Mueller’s work. The second “revelation” he was referring to is a debunked story about Hillary Clinton’s involvement in the sale of uranium to a Russian company. The uranium story was first reported last summer and has been so thoroughly discredited that it even has its own Snopes page.
The timing of the attacks on Mueller is notable, coming on the heels of Trump’s ongoing condemnation of NFL players who choose to kneel during the national anthem. Trump — along with other Republican leaders like Mike Pence — has spent weeks demeaning the players and claiming their peaceful protest is a sign of disrespect for our troops.
Suddenly, though, respecting our troops seems to be the last thing on Republicans’ minds as they turn on a decorated Vietnam veteran.
As commander of a rifle platoon of the 3rd Marine Division, Mueller was a recipient of the Bronze Star with Valor, two Navy Commendation Medals, the Purple Heart, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.
His citation for the Bronze Star with Valor, which he earned just weeks after arriving in Vietnam in December 1968, lauded his “courage, aggressive initiative, and unwavering devotion to duty.”
And Mueller is showing that same devotion to duty as he pursues the investigation into Russian interference. Just like he did on the battlefield, Mueller is once again defending the country from a threat posed by a hostile foreign nation — and this time, from a corrupt domestic government, as well.
Perhaps Trump would have a greater appreciation for Mueller’s devotion to America if he had actually stepped up when called to serve, instead of dodging the draft due to “bone spurs.”
But Trump and the GOP can attack Mueller all they want. It’s not going to work.