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Each Monday, Tommy Tomlinson delivers thoughtful commentary on an important topic in the news. Through these perspectives, he seeks to find common ground that leads to deeper understanding of complex issues and that helps people relate to what others are feeling, even if they don’t agree.

History will reflect badly on the enablers who stand behind Trump

North and South Carolina’s Republican congressional delegations have sprung to the defense of former President Donald Trump after his conviction. In his "On My Mind Commentary," WFAE’s Tommy Tomlinson says that will taint their legacies.

You know how this works if you’ve ever spent a day in high school. There’s always that one bully. He or she is irredeemable. There’s no point in trying to use reason. The only thing they understand is force. The only way to stop them is to beat them. Over and over, if necessary.

The bully always drags along a sad crowd of flunkies. They know in their hearts that the bully is a terrible person. Maybe they suck up to the viper to avoid getting bitten. Maybe they feel reflected strength in the bully’s wake. But all it does is magnify their weakness.

Welcome to North and South Carolina’s Republican congressional delegation.

Most of them could not wait to issue press releases standing up for Donald Trump, who was convicted on Thursday of 34 felonies related to, deep breath here, falsifying business records to hide the evidence that he paid off a porn star to not tell the world that he had sex with her while he was married.

Trump has so thoroughly warped the souls of his political supporters that they abandon whatever principles they once had.

Not that long ago, Sen. Thom Tillis worked to compensate those who were harmed by North Carolina’s eugenics policy that lasted into the 1970s. I know he has decency in him. But now he rushes to defend an indecent man.

Before he became a South Carolina senator, Lindsey Graham was the Air Force’s chief prosecutor. I know he has a sense of justice. But now he falls all over himself to support a man who mocks the notion of law and order.

They are two of many, not just in the Carolinas but all over this country, who have chosen Trump over decency, Trump over the rule of law, Trump over elections, Trump over democracy.

Last week some other people had to choose. Twelve ordinary Americans served on the jury in Trump’s hush-money trial. They represented the best our imperfect system has to offer— a panel of impartial citizens given the immense task of listening to evidence and rendering a verdict.

Among the jurors was an investment banker who said he kept up with Trump’s social media posts. In the end, that juror voted the same as the others. Guilty, 34 times.

Trump’s defenders complain that the system is broken. The truth is that they are the ones who want to break it, no matter the cost to our country, because the only political identity they have left is tied up in the bully they serve.

Their bully is on a losing streak. He lost to Joe Biden. He lost to E. Jean Carroll. He lost to Stormy Daniels. He keeps losing to our system when it works as intended. This is why he wants to get rid of it.

He will never feel shame for any of this. But I bet his lackeys will, one day, when the bully goes away, and they are left to account for themselves.

Tommy Tomlinson’s On My Mind column runs Mondays on WFAE and WFAE.org. It represents his opinion, not the opinion of WFAE. You can respond to this column in the comments section at wfae.org. You can also email Tommy at ttomlinson@wfae.org

Tommy Tomlinson has hosted the podcast SouthBound for WFAE since 2017. He also does a commentary, On My Mind, which airs every Monday.