Republicans claim the high road when it comes to their tolerance of President Donald Trump. The only thing that matters, they say, is moving a conservative agenda forward. But for America and for the party, it’s a devil’s bargain.

Republicans stay silent when the president, the nominal leader of the party, sucks up to dictators and trashes democracies. They speak up in support of budget deficits that were previously anathema to the GOP.

Republicans claim Donald Trump’s presidency is not really damaging their party, or the country—that his is just a different style of leadership.

Republican failure to stand up for beliefs they have always claimed and party members’ unwillingness to fight for the nation if it means crossing Donald Trump could have serious and long-term consequences.

A clear test of loyalty to the president vs. the national good will unfold when the Senate takes up the appointment of a new director of national intelligence.

No one could mistake former DNI Director Dan Coats for anything other than a rock-solid, conservative Republican. He served in Congress, including on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and he is experienced in overseas and government affairs. He was appointed in 2017.

The DNI, not the president, handles America’s secrets in order to protect the country. Coats consistently refused to adapt to Trump’s self-serving instincts even though doing so isolated him from national security decisions and forced his resignation.

If Senate Republicans continue their subservient ways, the next person up as America’s top spy will be a little-known three-term congressman from Texas whose only qualification seems to be a willingness to engage in the full-throated trashing of the findings of the Mueller report. As DNI, he will be responsible for reporting truthfully to the president about that and all other intelligence.

If Trump nominates Rep. John Ratcliffe, as he has said he will, Republicans can prove they really are about more than party and their own re-elections. They can prove their core values are more important than the politics of the moment. Or, they can vote yes to confirm Ratcliffe.

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