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Bil Lepp: Capito could denounce Trump, but she won't (Opinion)

Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., has such a big political crush on Donald Trump that Delegate Eric Porterfield, R-Mercer, may need to take Mooney swimming.

It’s hard to track down the responses of West Virginia’s senators and representatives to Donald Trump’s recent explosive tweets because, apparently, they haven’t said much.

“Instead of passing another resolution falsely attacking @POTUS @realDonaldTrump, Congress should come together and work with the President to secure the border,” said Mooney on Twitter.

I bet Mooney used the handles “POTUS” and “realDonaldTrump” in hopes that the President would notice him. I like to imagine Mooney checking his feed every 10 seconds to see if POTUS clicked the throbbing heart button at the bottom of the tweet.

Rep. Mooney is far more interested in gaining Trump’s approval than the people of West Virginia.

I’m old enough to realize that I am not going to like very many politicians. I’m not fond of any of West Virginia’s U.S. senators or representatives. But is it too much to want to respect them? Even a little? Just for nostalgia? Half of the things in West Virginia that don’t move are named for Sen. Robert C. Byrd because, like him or not, he actually got stuff done for the people of West Virginia.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito’s, R-W.Va., response to President Trump’s tweets suggesting that four U.S. House of Representative members should go back to where they come from was that it is “useless to engage in that rhetoric.”

Sen. Capito isn’t someone who needs to worry much about reelection. The Moore family has long been a ... um ... colorful part of traditional West Virginia politics, and she has her position pretty well locked down.

Just as President Trump claimed that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York and not lose any voters, so it is that Capito could more strongly denounce Trump’s racist tweets and not lose much support. And the supporters she would lose would be racists, so that’s not much of a loss.

When she says it is, “useless to engage in that rhetoric,” what does Sen. Capito really mean?

Is Sen. Capito saying that President Trump said something he shouldn’t have said? And if she is saying that, why doesn’t she just say it?

Sen. Capito is in a powerful position. She is not in any danger of losing her job. She has rarely, if ever, criticized or voted against the current president. I’m not crazy about her politics, but I want to respect her, or at least her office.

Capito wouldn’t lose her job if she took a stand and spoke what seems to be in her heart.

The president can’t fire Sen. Capito. The president could slander Capito all he wants, but, again, the Moore family, like the Manchin family, are practically political royalty in West Virginia. It would actually be dangerous for Trump to badmouth Capito.

So why does she acquiesce? Why waiver? Why not take a stand?

How much courage does it take to speak the truth if you’re in a secure position?

Alex Mooney’s entire vocabulary is composed of praise for Trump and rancor for his opposition. I never expect Mooney to take an independent stand. His whole life is tied to his political identity. If he were to ever disagree with the president, the out-of-state donors that keep his political ambitions afloat would find another chump with an even smaller vocabulary to replace him.

If Sen. Capito clearly said, “I think Donald Trump shouldn’t have tweeted that,” she’d be fine. Her actions might even inspire other safe lawmakers to speak their hearts. She could start a revolution.

Which is exactly why she won’t do it.

Bil Lepp, of South Charleston,

is a professional storyteller and a

Gazette-Mail contributing columnist.

Funerals for Saturday, August 24, 2019

Barron, Dennis - 11 a.m., Airborne Church, Martinsburg.
Baylor, Elizabeth - 1 p.m., Snodgrass Funeral Home, South Charleston.
Bonds Jr., Patrick - 1 p.m., King of Glory International Ministries, Charleston.
Burgess, Corey - 5 p.m., Aldersgate United Methodist Church.
Burns, Helen - 11 a.m., Stump Funeral Home & Cremation, Inc., Grantsville.
Caldwell, Gary - 6 p.m., Long & Fisher Funeral Home, Sissonville.
Casto, Carroll - 1 p.m., Raynes Funeral Home, Eleanor.
Casto, Roger - 2 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Winfield.
Duty, Fred - 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.
Fisher, Bernard - 2 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.
Gwinn, Lloyd - Noon, Church of Christ, Craigsville.  
Habjan, Nathan - 1 p.m., Wilson-Smith Funeral Home, Clay. 
Hall, Daniel - Noon, Witcher Baptist Church.
Hinkle, Ethel - Noon, Church of Christ, Craigsville.  
Hoffman, Bruce - 2 p.m., Foglesong - Casto Funeral Home, Mason.  
Kinder, Siegel - 1 p.m., Leonard Johnson Funeral Home, Marmet.
Kyler, Virgil - 11 a.m., Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Reedy.
Palmer, William - 1 p.m., Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, Charleston. 
Raynes Sr., Steven - 1 p.m., Tyree Funeral Home, Oak Hill.
Truman, James - 2 p.m., Newton Baptist Church, Newton.
Turner, Keith - Noon, Full Gospel Assembly,  Huntington. 
Webb, Antoinette - 11 a.m., SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Oak Hill.
Wilson, Greg - Noon, Roach Funeral Home, Gassaway.
Withrow, James - 1 p.m., Cooke Funeral Home Chapel, Cedar Grove.