“The Ukraine issue is the one that has unified not only Democrats but many Americans across the political spectrum, even many Republicans, honestly, who are afraid to come out and say how wrong they think this is,” he said, referring to the president’s alleged pressuring of the Ukrainian government to investigate his political opponents.
Kildee echoed former GOP lawmaker Charlie Dent’s recent comments. Dent said that Republicans are “absolutely disgusted and exhausted by the president’s behavior,” but are unwilling to speak out and stand up to him, in fear of electoral backlash from Trump’s loyal base.
Kildee said that he has had similar conversations with Republicans in the House of Representatives, adding that many of them privately condemn the president’s behavior, but lack courage to do so in public.
The lawmaker said that “many” of his Republican colleagues “have tremendous courage in the elevator on the way to the second floor where the floor of the House is, and somehow leave that courage behind when they walk onto the floor of the House.”
The Michigan representative added that history will judge Republicans, who will have to “explain to their children and grandchildren” why they did nothing to defy the president.
According to Kildee, Trump “tried to trade American national security to investigate one of his political opponents and then obstructed the process of actually looking at that question.”
Other Democrats in Congress have made similar remarks. For instance, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown recently said that his Republican colleagues privately acknowledge that the president is a “racist” and a “misogynist.”
Trump is being accused of freezing military aid in order to force the Ukrainian government to investigate prominent Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. According to House Democrats, Trump’s alleged pressuring of Ukraine constitutes an impeachable offense.
Virtually all Republicans in Congress have stood by the president, defending him against Democratic accusations, and alleging that the impeachment investigation is another attempt by the Democratic Party to remove Trump from office before the 2020 election.
Echoing Trump, GOP lawmakers have also suggested that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 presidential election to help Democrats. Republicans have also taken legal action to derail congressional investigations, taking aim at top Democrat and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.
Trump remains exceptionally popular among Republican voters. According to a recent poll, 53 percent of Republicans believe Trump is a better president than Abraham Lincoln.