Republicans seem genuinely grateful after eight long years to have one of their own in the White House to advance their party’s agenda.
At the same time, those in the GOP congressional majority find themselves straining every day to finesse some of President Donald Trump’s more controversial exploits.
When Neil Gorsuch faced the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing this week, he saw fit to distance himself from statements by the man who nominated him.
Gorsuch was asked on Tuesday about Trump’s nasty attacks on judges who ruled against his executive orders.
“When anyone criticizes the honesty and integrity or the motives of a federal judge, I find that disheartening, I find that demoralizing,” he said.
“Including the president?” asked Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
“Anyone is anyone,” Gorsuch said.
Try recalling another time when a Supreme Court nominee distanced himself from the president who put his name forward. He also avoided queries on abortion, after Trump insisted he’d appoint “pro-life justices” to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Still, the party faithful look forward to the confirmation, which would restore a conservative majority to the court.
Trump’s dark claim of being wiretapped by his predecessor, President Barack Obama, had House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-California) performing unique back flips to help the greater GOP cause.
After Nunes said Wednesday that members of Trump’s transition team came under “incidental” surveillance after the November election, Trump claimed “somewhat” of a vindication.
Such collection can occur when a person in the U.S. communicates with a foreign target of federal surveillance. In such cases, citizens’ identities are usually shielded.
On Thursday, Nunes reportedly said he regretted informing Trump before updating members of his committee, which includes Democrats. Details were still foggy.
Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) supported Trump in recent days by echoing the president’s denunciation of intelligence leaks.
But as a GOP majority member from the region, he also cautiously warned against slashing counterterrorism funding for the NYPD.
“Any reduction to NY & LI is dead on arrival,” King tweeted.
Maybe — just maybe — King, Nunes, Gorsuch and the rest see themselves as doing their best with the president they’ve got.