Urgent Alert: Attention House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and all Republican congressional leaders.
Americans of all political persuasions urgently require that you return to the White House – at once! You are being implored to undertake a new mission – one that is far more imperative than the joyful tax bill love-fest you performed for President Donald Trump just before Christmas.
That was a political celebration.
This must be a patriotic intervention.
You and you alone, as the leaders of your party, have the position and stature to take the action required to safeguard our U.S. homeland, to potentially save the lives of millions of people in South Korea and to preserve the fragile fabric of world peace. Those words are not being offered in a burst of hyperbole; they were typed with a carefully considered, realistic sense urgency.
The president that your Republican Party nominated to lead our nation has spun perilously out of control. You have seen it. You know you are personally concerned. Indeed, you know you share the concerns that are privately being expressed by many of the most responsible Republican global policy experts in our country's most famous conservative think tanks.
They have seen – and are very concerned about – the fact that President Trump has mounted, and then escalated, a campaign of taunting and goading North Korea's famously unstable dictator. They know this is conduct that is both mindless and dangerous.
They also know Kim Jong Un is an immature and inexperienced leader who loves to brag that he not only possesses nuclear weapons but can deliver his nuclear-tipped warheads halfway around the world.
Unfortunately, the entire world now realizes that what we are witnessing is a clash of nuclear-tipped leaders who really are two of kind. Trump, although he has been around the sun at least 30 times more than Kim, acts every bit as immature and inexperienced. Like Kim, Trump loves to brag and also seems unbothered when his boasts laughably exceed the easily discovered truth. Both leaders clearly have a penchant for out-goading the other about nukes. And our planet's future could be at stake.
On New Year's Day, Kim bragged in a speech: "The United States can never fight a war against me and our state. It should properly know that the whole territory of the U.S. is within the range of our nuclear strike and a nuclear button is always on the desk of my office, and this is just a reality, not a threat."
Just 12 minutes after Trump's favorite Fox News channel reported Kim's boast about his desktop "nuclear button," the U.S. president shamelessly reverted to his inner pre-teen on a playground. He tweeted: "North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the 'Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.' Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"
Never in the history of the United States has a president chosen to act so publicly in a way that is so juvenile, so reckless and perilous. And all responsible Republicans know their party now bears responsibility for having implored Americans to elect a president who risks the world's safety to boast of America's nuclear arsenal as a measure of his playground pre-manhood. Trump doesn't seem to care if his taunts cause his adversary to flip out and angrily launch his first nuke.
Like the 1974 day when the conscience of conservatives, Sen. Barry Goldwater, led a delegation of Republicans to the White House and told President Richard Nixon he must resign or be impeached and convicted for his Watergate crimes, so too all of the 2018 Republican congressional leaders know, deep down, what they must do.
They must go to the White House, and confront Trump as a sizable group with a 2018 ultimatum that puts patriotism ahead of politics. Tell Trump he must end his reckless, immature and globally perilous practices once and for all – or his fellow Republicans will begin a process to remove him for conduct unbefitting a U.S. president that constitutes a clear and present danger to us all.
– Martin Schram, a columnist for Tribune News Service, is a veteran Washington journalist, author and TV documentary executive. Readers may send him email at firstname.lastname@example.org.