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The Washington Post described Oklahoma Republican Rep. Tom Cole as a “frequent defender of President Donald Trump” Saturday when he blamed House conservatives for forcing Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to pull his American Health Care Act at the last minute.
The bill also had its fair share of critics from the more moderate wing of the party — which has led some to conclude it’s not about Ryan or Trump but the hard-to-reconcile nature of the GOP right now. “This is not a failure of leadership; it’s a failure of follow-ship,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a frequent defender of both Ryan and Trump.
Here are the top five times, in ascending order, this “frequent defender” of Trump went out of his way to attack him:
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5. Cole: Trump must apologize to President Barack Obama
Politico reported March 17:
Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican, said Friday that President Donald Trump should apologize to former President Barack Obama for accusing him of ordering an illegal wiretap of his phone lines, given that there is no public evidence to support it.
“I see no indication that that’s true,” Cole told reporters. “And so it’s not a charge I would have ever made. And frankly, unless you can produce some pretty compelling proof, then I think the president, you know, President Obama is owed an apology in that regard.”
4. Cole: Trump’s proposed budget cuts short-sighted
Talking Points Memo reported March 17:
The Republican congressman said that the CDC protects Americans from diseases like Ebola and that the NIH does crucial research on cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease. “So these in my view are cuts that are very short-sighted. These are investments the country ought to be making,” he said, adding that funding for health research is as important as defense spending.
Cole also indicated that Congress would not approve the deep cuts Trump proposed to the Environmental Protection Agency, though Cole said he had not studied that part of the budget blueprint closely.
3. Cole: Trump needs to stop shooting from the hip, I oppose his Muslim ban
On NPR’s July 18 On Point program Cole said:
Still, Rep. Cole conceded his party’s soon-to-be standard bearer could clean up a few elements of his fiery campaign rhetorical style.
“He’s very much a shoot-from-the-hip kind of guy,” Cole said. “Let’s take the Muslim ban: I would disagree vehemently with that, it’s just not constitutional.”
2. Cole: Trump’s captured audio disgusting, crude, and vile
Ada, Oklahoma’s Ada News reported Oct. 13:
U.S. Rep. Tom Cole weighed in on the controversy surrounding Republican candidate Donald Trump’s remarks on a 2005 recording in which Trump was heard having a vulgar discussion with then-Access Hollywood personality Billy Bush on a live mic.
“Absolutely appalled,” Cole said. “It’s disgusting. It’s crude. It’s vile. There’s no defense for it whatsoever. People shouldn’t be shy about saying that.”
1. Cole: Trump must stop using “pejorative” term “Pocahontas” to refer to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
The Washington Post reported June 10:
Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), normally a ferocious Trump foe, was similarly unfazed.
“It’s pretty funny, I thought,” Graham said. “I think what he said about the judge was racist. When you’re talking about a politician, you got to be able to take a joke. . . . If this bothers you, you need to get out of politics.”
But others were alarmed.
“He needs to quit using language like that,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a member of the Chickasaw tribe and one of two Native Americans in the House. “It’s pejorative , and you know, there’s plenty of things that he can disagree with Elizabeth Warren over, this is not something that should, in my opinion, ever enter the conversation. . . . It’s neither appropriate personally toward her, and frankly, it offends a much larger group of people. So, I wish he would avoid that.”
It should also be noted the Cole worked behind the scenes to make Ryan the GOP presidential nominee at the Republican National Convention in late May and in early June told MSNBC’s Morning Joe program that the speaker endorsed Trump under pressure, because he had no choice.
This is also the same congressman who joked about lighting up a cigar with ultra-liberal Rep. George Miller (D-CA) as he and the rest of his friends on both sides of the aisle crafted the 1,603-page omnibus spending bill in December 2014.