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Pledging allegiance to their corrupt commander, KY Republicans quickly kneel to convicted felon

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Pledging allegiance to their corrupt commander, KY Republicans quickly kneel to convicted felon

May 31, 2024 | 9:02 am ET
By Teri Carter
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Pledging allegiance to their corrupt commander, KY Republicans quickly kneel to convicted felon
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The worldview exposed in Margaret Atwood's novel is eerily similar to that of Trump's defenders, writes Teri Carter. Protesters, above, dressed as Handmaids in 2018. (Getty Images)

For a literary, nonpolitical project, I recently had to reread Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel and re-watch the Hulu TV series of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a dystopian story about a new United States which adheres not to the Constitution but to a strict, twisted, patriarchal interpretation of the Bible. 

In this new U.S., all women are subjects of the regime and, since the wives of powerful men are unable to reproduce, fertile females known as handmaids are held prisoner for the sole purpose of producing babies. 

As I watched the TV version, it occurred to me that Kentucky Republican legislators like Sen. Lindsey Tichenor, Reps. Josh Calloway and Nancy Tate, and all of those in our Republican supermajority seemingly obsessed with religion as it relates to sex, sexual deviance and public education, should be required to watch at least seasons one and two and then explain what is so appealing about this worldview that seems so eerily close to their own.

I again considered this as I watched Kentucky’s GOP response to former president and presumptive 2024 presidential nominee Donald J. Trump’s conviction on all 34 felony counts related to secretly paying hush money to a porn star (a campaign finance violation) in order to hide the story from voters days before the 2016 election.

Here are some of those statements from the alleged party of family values and the rule of law:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: “These charges never should have been brought in the first place. I expect the conviction to be overturned on appeal.”

Congressman James Comer: “ … another example of Democrats being relentless in their pursuit to weaponize the courts … and target President Joe Biden’s political opposition.”

Congressman Andy Barr:  “ … corrupt New York district attorney … sham trial … outrageous.” 

Kentucky House GOP primary winner TJ Roberts reposted Alex Stone on X, whose lengthy statement began, “It’s a sad day where we can no longer sing certain lines of ‘God Bless The USA’  without it being true. We aren’t free. This isn’t what freedom looks like. I know that this is cliche and so many people have said it before, but we ALL need to rise up against this evil, tyrannical system that has plagued the United States of America.”

State Sen. Lindsey Tichenor: “ … circus of a trial and verdict … political witch hunt … veil has been pulled back for the world to see clearly. They’re running out of options and growing Trump’s base of support every move they make.”

Retiring state Sen. and longtime Republican Floor Leader Damon Thayer: “ … best described by invoking … the horse who finished second to Secretariat … #Sham.”

A lengthy statement from the Republican Party of Kentucky began, “Today is a shameful day in American history that should send chills down the spines of anyone who respects a fair and impartial judicial system.”

Chills are running down spines, all right, because Donald J. Trump, the national leader of the Republican Party, is now a convicted felon. 

And, lest we forget, that is not all.

Pledging allegiance to their corrupt commander, KY Republicans quickly kneel to convicted felon
A pro-Trump mob breaks into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. as Congress held a joint session to ratify Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

He tried to overturn a federal election that he lost, seemingly not caring that his followers attacked U.S. Capitol Police and chanted about hanging his vice president, while he continues to falsely claim the election was stolen.

He took boxes and boxes of sensitive national security documents when he left the White House and, when politely and quietly asked for months, refused to return them, resulting in federal agents having to go and get them.

It was just months ago that Trump was found liable in civil court for sexual abuse and defamation of E. Jean Carroll for which he owes a judgment of more than $90M.

And it is not like Trump’s behavior is new.

Early in his first presidency, a judge awarded a $25 million settlement to students of Trump University, “which was not an actual university but a for-profit seminar series, and former students waged a years-long battle claiming the course misled them with claims of teaching real estate success. The program ended in 2010. Some elderly plaintiffs who paid $20,000-plus in tuition died waiting to receive their checks from the settlement.”

At some point — and, based on initial lawmaker reactions to his conviction on 34 criminal counts, we are now at that point — we have to assume that what the Kentucky Republican Party most reveres in their leader is his sexual debauchery and blatant, nose-thumbing criminality. 

Not a bug but a feature, as the kids say. 

I recommend Kentucky lawmakers watch, at minimum, the first two seasons of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and let us know which parts of the story do not apply or appeal to their quickly evolving, biblically twisted, women are second class citizens, laws are for other people platform. 

But if they continue watching into season three, they might most enjoy the episode in which the Washington Monument is converted into a cross under which hundreds of subservient handmaids — with their mouths now stapled permanently shut — kneel before their corrupt commander and silently pledge allegiance to him.

I promise it will sound familiar.