House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has completely had it with his Democratic colleagues in Washington and with the elite (mainstream) media who continuously imply that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians in order to win last year’s presidential election. According to Nunes, there is no “there” there. No smoking gun. Nothing. It’s all innuendo. And it’s harming the country.
In a speech at the Orange County Republican Party’s annual Flag Day Salute on Saturday, Nunes said he looked into possible connections between Trump and the Kremlin:
I said, “OK, I don’t think there’s any collusion here.” And what happened to me? All the major papers in the country did a total character assassination on me. Why? Because I was telling the truth, that there was never any collusion between Donald Trump and the Russians.
I have to ask myself, Was this really an investigation in search of a crime? And I will tell you, if that’s what it ends up being, there will be a huge, huge division in this country.
Nunes went on to explain that he had one simple message for his fellow Republicans:
We have to stop chasing Russian ghosts around the closet and actually get to real work.
In other words, instead of arguing with Democrats about the Russians, Republicans have to start pushing their health care overhaul, their deregulation agenda, and their tax cuts.
Sadly, there’s one minor problem: as long as Democrats and their allies in the media continue to push the Russia meme, Republicans can try to talk about real issues as much as they want, but it won’t change a thing if the other side doesn’t play along. And this is the problem: they won’t. They’re not trying to take on Republicans on individual policy proposals; they want to delegitimize the entire Trump administration. So they’re playing a completely different game than Nunes wants to play. Or, perhaps better put, whereas Republicans like Nunes are hoping for a nice and clean knife fight, Democrats are coming out with guns blazing.
You can’t “fight for health care reform” while your opponent argues that you’re only in power because you cheated in the election.
Now, that doesn’t mean that Nunes isn’t touching on something important, namely that Republicans have to change their strategy. They certainly do. What they have to do is not just stop talking about Russia, but to go all in. They have to turn the tables on Democrats. Make this not about Team Trump’s ties with Russia, but about how Democrats are doing the Russians’ job for them by actively sowing chaos, discord, and distrust. Republicans aren’t “colluding” with Russia, Democrats are.
This is the single point Republicans like Nunes have to drive home every single day. Use the Democrats’ talking points to discredit that entire party and to show Americans that they, not Republicans, are treasonous.