Will Hurd is a former CIA officer who now represents the 23rd district of Texas. He won his seat in 2016 by a single percentage point, as he resides in perhaps the only true swing district in America’s most famed red state. The reason you’re hearing about him now is thanks to an op-ed he published in the New York Times last night, titled “Trump Is Being Manipulated by Putin. What Should We Do?”
The piece contains extraordinary passages like this one:
By playing into Vladimir Putin’s hands, the leader of the free world actively participated in a Russian disinformation campaign that legitimized Russian denial and weakened the credibility of the United States to both our friends and foes abroad.
That said, this is where our “principled Republican stands up to Trump” story ends. As astounding as this op-ed is, it’s belied by Hurd’s outright hypocrisy. This line seems like it was written solely so we could throw it back in Hurd’s face.
As a member of Congress, a coequal branch of government designed by our founders to provide checks and balances on the executive branch, I believe that lawmakers must fulfill our oversight duty as well as keep the American people informed of the current danger.
Fact check: Hurd hasn’t done much to provide any checks and balances on the executive branch.
A reminder that @HurdOnTheHill votes with Trump 95% of the time, enabled Devin Nunes' nonsense on the HPSCI and has done nothing previously to actually curb Trump's corruption. He's just trying to save his ass. pic.twitter.com/UkSFDc8jNq— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) July 20, 2018
This sure looks like an extraordinary bit of ass-covering by the Texas Republican. This is still an important piece just because it puts this idea out there from someone in Trump’s camp, but its seriousness is betrayed by the fact that Hurd consistently enabled Trump’s lawlessness as a member of the House.
Hurd is a great example of the difficulty of being a Republican who wants to appeal to non-Republican voters. The party has turned into an outright cult, as poll after poll shows that “Republicans didn’t used to think X was great until Trump did it.” Hurd’s op-ed is a clear declaration that he needs rational votes more than cultish votes, but we cannot forget that Hurd himself consistently voted in line with the GOP.
The fact that other intelligence officials like former CIA Director John Brennan (who I believe was the primary source behind the extraordinary leak to the New York Times revealing that Trump knew before he was inaugurated that Putin personally ordered 2016 election interference) have come out and called Trump’s actions “treasonous” gives cover to people like Hurd to make similar judgements. Everyone with half a brain in their head knew that something was up after the Helsinki summit with Putin, but the problem is that Hurd’s primary voters don’t follow the rules of empirical thought. Trump is a demigod to them, so everything is reverse-engineered to fit that end.
Which means that Hurd is stuck between legislating like a Trump bootlicker while using his PR machine to convince independents that he’s not what his voting record indicates. This is why it’s important to vote all Republicans out this November, no matter who they are (or falsely claim to be). The party has been co-opted by a wannabe strongman who is clearly compromised by a foreign adversary, and every single Republican in office today helped enable this madness. As longtime Republicans like George Will have said: vote Democrat this November in order to save what’s left of America, lest we be stuck with congressmen like Will Hurd who claim that the man they voted with 95% of the time is trapped in the clutches of a foreign adversary.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.