By John Klar
Gov. Phil Scott recently attacked Vermont GOP leadership for “continu[ing] with what I perceive as white supremacy dominating, racial inequity, and so forth.” That leadership’s sole offense? Refusing to endorse the governor’s call for the president’s resignation. This impugns all Vermont Trump supporters as white supremacists.
Scott, a nominal conservative, habitually grandstands against Donald Trump. He was the first GOP governor to support the Ukraine impeachment inquiry, endorsed Bill Weld, and voted for Biden. He was “first” (ahead of Sanders and Leahy) in the current push to oust the president:
In a stunning statement issued shortly before 6 p.m. that day, Gov. Phil Scott called for his fellow Republican to leave the White House immediately — or be dragged out of it…. “Make no mistake, the president of the United States is responsible for this event,” Scott said. “The fabric of our democracy and the principles of our republic are under attack by the president. Enough is enough.”
Next day, “Flip-Flop Phil” gallingly proclaimed: “The challenges we face demand the very best of all of us, that we rise above the partisanship and division, the pettiness and political games, to commit to the tough work ahead, to get through this crisis safer and stronger, and to do it together.”
Vermont’s Legislators enthusiastically seized Scott’s cue, producing J.R.H.1 calling for the president to resign or to be removed from office.
Vermont GOP Party Chair Deb Billado condemned the D.C. violence as “wrong, immoral and against the fundamental principles that we hold dear.” This wasn’t enough for Phil Scott.
On Jan. 8, GOP senator Joe Benning published a scathing condemnation of Trump’s followers:
Today I saw a picture of a busload of Vermonters on their way to Washington, D.C. They were Donald Trump supporters who remain convinced his election was stolen. I want to believe that all of them on that bus were heading down for a peaceful protest… I have to wonder whether anyone in that group got duped into joining the assault of that beautiful and historic building…. These thugs were Republicans devoted completely to Donald Trump. They are not “Patriots.” They are not “real Americans.” They are anarchists who believe in mob rule, plain and simple.
Benning declared he “can no longer tolerate extremists posing as Republicans,” and joined with other Vermont GOP to demand that Deb Billado and the Party leadership must sign the Legislative Resolution or resign.
GOP representative Scott Beck complained that the GOP statement failed to accuse Trump of direct responsibility or call on him to resign.
These elected officials share a “guilt-by-association” methodology: Trump is presumed guilty; all his followers are dehumanized using the actions of the few; hesitation to affirm this barbaric indictment is vilified. Where does this cannibalistic spiral lead?
Gov. Scott called for President Trump to be “dragged out of the White House” on Jan. 6th, declaimed the pettiness of political games on Jan. 7th, called for the resignation of GOP leadership on Jan. 8th, then charged that white supremacy dominates the Vermont GOP on Jan. 15th.
Could this be the same governor who criticized Deb Billado for questioning Robert Mueller’s investigation?
“Activating the base with this type of rhetoric probably isn’t new, it’s being used by both parties in many respects, but I think it’s unfortunate,” Scott said. “We see this political divide, polarization going on throughout our country and all the rhetoric that goes along with it, I don’t think it’s healthy.”
To recklessly declare white supremacy dominates the Vermont GOP is the “type of [unhealthy] rhetoric” that gets innocent people killed.
John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and the former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. This commentary originally appeared at American Thinker.