Author’s note: For the indefinite future, my digital articles will be short and shorter. Why? Because I have gotten myself ensnared in writing another book – a book that will appear after the next one. My next book – to be published in September by Cambridge University Press – is co-authored with Todd Pittinsky. It is titled, Leaders Who Lust: Power, Money, Sex, Success, Legitimacy, Legacy.
No single Republican has been more abjectly loyal to President Donald Trump than has Texas Senator John Cornyn. The president would say, “Jump!” Cornyn would ask, “How high?” As Justin Miller noted, Cornyn “mastered the art of political subservience” to the Republican Party generally and to this Republican President specifically.
But things change. Contexts change. The situation in Texas has changed. In May, Governor Greg Abbott, eager to have Texas at the forefront of Trump’s push to restart the economy, reopened the state, allowing millions of Texans to head out to everything from shopping centers to movie theaters. Alas, Abbott’s move backfired. In the last week or two Texas emerged at the forefront of the virus crisis. Since late May, the average number of newly reported cases each day has more than doubled, up to about 3,500 from 1,500. Moreover, just yesterday Texas reached another milestone: it recorded more new cases in a single day than it has since the pandemic started.
Time for an about face. Cornyn, heretofore completely craven, finally took him on, took on Trump. When the administration announced that it was ending its support for testing centers around the country, including seven in Texas, Cornyn was frightened into fighting back. He issued a statement calling for the administration to reverse course, saying that with the “uptick of cases, now is not a time to retreat from our vigilance in testing. I believe that they need to extend that federal support in Texas, at least until we get this most recent uptick in cases addressed.”
Oh really? You found your voice, Senator Cornyn? Will you, a follower to your core, still have that voice when it comes to testing centers not in Texas but in Tennessee? When it comes to taking on Trump not out of self interest but in the public interest?