The U.S. political world was rocked by the release of the Access Hollywood tape on October 7, 2016. In that recording, Donald Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women. (Not coincidentally, the Russians began to leak the emails stolen from the Clinton campaign a mere 29 minutes later.)
The revelations in the infamous Access Hollywood tape reverberated in Nebraska’s CD01 race. On October 11, 2016, Jeff Fortenberry was interviewed by Coby Mach about his reaction to Trump’s atrocious behavior. Fortenberry made the following remarks: “I’m not going to be associated with his racially tinged remarks.” The long time CD01 incumbent described it as a “scandalous tape” and correctly stated that: “Donald Trump is literally celebrating the sexual assault of women.”
Fortenberry went on to say: “I could not stand idly by and say nothing. It would not only be hypocritical of me but felt that I would be complicit in that.” He said that the former TV reality star had “abused women” and that: “It’s all wrong.”
In the interview, Fortenberry called for Trump to “step aside” as the GOP nominee and be replaced by Mike Pence. The former Louisiana native was so upset that he was literally shaking during the interview. Nonetheless, Fortenberry said he was still going to vote for Trump.
Fortenberry continued his fealty to his hero Donald Trump after he was inaugurated. At the time Trump was inaugurated, Fortenberry lavished praise on his inaugural address and claimed it “was a striking and direct call for a new healthy nationalism.” (In contrast, former President George W. Bush said: “That was some weird shit.”)
In 2018, Fortenberry defended convicted felon Michael Flynn on his Facebook account — falsely contending it was “slanderous” to call the disgraced former National Security Adviser a Russian agent. The CD01 member of Congress supported Trump’s trade war that cost Nebraska farmers $1 billion in 2019 and has voted with his hero 98% of the time in the current Congress. As recently as this year, he praised Donald Trump for his so-called “leadership” and “sacrifice.”
Recently, we’ve seen a major change of tune from Mr. Fortenberry. In two hours of debates with State Senator Kate Bolz, Fortenberry didn’t mention Trump one time, even though Bolz repeatedly tied him to his hero’s failed presidency. In addition, Trump is not mentioned in any of Fortenberry’s paid advertising.
It’s evident that Fortenberry knows that Trump is toxic and will lose on November 3. As a matter of fact, Fortenberry has joined with the likes of Ben Sasse and other Republicans in distancing himself from his hero Trump. Beginning on or about November 4, a wave of Republicans like Fortenberry and Sasse will claim they never supported Trump.
There will come a day where you won’t be able to find any Republicans who will admit that they once were fired up about Trump. We can’t let the voters forget about a second consecutive failed GOP presidency. GOP propaganda relies upon amnesia and bad memories. We can’t count on the mainstream media to remind people about Trump’s failures. As Democrats, we have the duty to refresh memories.
Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum said it best: “When this is all over, nobody will admit to ever having supported it.” We can’t let the GOP away with it.
I expect 2020 to be a good cycle for the Democrats. Trump is an historically unpopular president and the Trump/Fortenberry trade war has devastated Nebraska farmers. This is our time! Let’s repeal and replace Fortenberry! Let’s send Kate Bolz to Washington!