WATERS: A Clear and Present Debacle for Local Republicans

James Waters is a Greenwich native and resident and an Unaffiliated voter. He works at a private investment firm and served in the Bush Administration’s White House Office of Management and Budget and then as a US Navy SEAL officer. January 12, 2021

The nation watched in horror last week as domestic terrorists stormed the US Capitol at the urging of President Trump. Their objective: disrupt the democratic process confirming Trump’s defeat and hunt for elected officials like Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Exactly what the president encouraged them to do.

By all definitions this was sedition and an attempted coup in violation of the United States Constitution. One police officer was killed and over 50 others injured, a gallows was erected, dozens of arrests were made, extensive planning was uncovered, and plastic zip tie handcuffs, weapons, and bombs were confiscated. And it could have been far worse.

The nation is on edge in the waning days of a failed administration, Americans fearing their safety and eager for leaders to stand up for us. They see the consequences of repeated and false election fraud allegations made by the president over the past two months, all of which were thoroughly repudiated in courts across the nation. Some of these conspiracies were propagated by elected Greenwich Republicans, even though Trump was crushed in Greenwich, 63-37%.

And yet, for five days the Greenwich Republican Town Committee (RTC) had nothing to say.

To his credit, First Selectman Fred Camillo, a Republican, quickly condemned the violence. Many prominent Republicans around the nation took it a step further, condemning the violence, placing responsibility on the president, and calling for his removal.

And yet, for five days the Greenwich RTC had nothing to say, refusing to back Camillo up. Not one additional elected Republican in town spoke out.

Yesterday the Greenwich RTC finally spoke. In an eight-paragraph missive, they started by generically condemning violent rioters as undermining democracy. And then, in a jarring pivot, they blamed it on the Democrats and used many falsehoods to talk about their agenda. No mention of terrorism, the coup attempt, the president’s clear role in inciting insurrection, or that noble police officers were attacked by
the president’s mob.

This wasn’t leadership, nor was it conservatism. Rather, it was an absolute surrender to Trumpism. The RTC failed to take or place any responsibility, express regret, resolve to do better, or repair the damage that was done. Sadly, most of us are not surprised that this was the result.

It has become well-known that Greenwich’s RTC is tone deaf. Controlled by extremist partisans in the Trumpist fringe, they routinely say and do things at complete odds with what our residents want. Sometimes they cloak their radical agenda and manage to win an election, but typically only when turnout is low. When residents are engaged and educated, they hand RTC candidates loss after loss after loss.

And so, as our town transitions beyond a failed president, carries out its business, gets vaccines in the arm, and ultimately prepares for local elections this November, let us keep this in mind: our local Republican Party cannot be trusted to lead.

The RTC will put forward candidates who say they hold “conservative” principles to earn votes. But these are “conservatives” who routinely discard their talk of personal responsibility and accountability, law and order, fiscal discipline, the economy, and even the Constitution in the pursuit of two things: power and fealty.

They will do whatever it takes preserve them. They will spread lies to manipulate voters. They will even, apparently, abandon police officers dragged down the Capitol steps and beaten with an American flag or
bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher. They didn’t even condemn these specific acts, carried out by fellow Trumpist fringers. So much for law and order.

If we want to usher in the brighter day that our town so desperately needs, let our eyes be opened – and let turnout be high.

2021 is a pivotal year for us and it’s time to start cleaning house.