The maturing of Chris Murphy

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., stands during a media availability on Capitol Hill on June 20, 2016, in Washington. Facing a re-election race in November, he has ramped up his criticism of President Donald Trump in recent days. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., stands during a media availability on Capitol Hill on June 20, 2016, in Washington. Facing a re-election race in November, he has ramped up his criticism of President Donald Trump in recent days. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

When Donald Trump appeared before television cameras this past week and discussed the latest twist on his on-off North Korea summit, at his side was Small Business Administration administrator Linda McMahon, gazing admiringly, almost as rapt as the sycophantic vice president, Mike Pence, who also was in the scrum.

McMahon, the aspiring Connecticut Republican who spent — wasted?— $100 million losing two Senate races in her home state, has curiously found her place in Washington at Trump's side, as the two men who defeated her in the Senate races have emerged as two of Trump's most consistent critics in Congress.

Indeed, this past week Sen. Chris Murphy has ramped up his attacks, focusing on the president's aborted North Korea summit, the bailout that unfolded with McMahon at his side.

In one of his now frequent cable TV appearances, and in the latest of his successful fundraising emails, which have helped him deposit more than $7 million in cash into his campaign stash, Murphy warned about the hawkish impulses of some in the current Trump circle.

Murphy is fundraising on his belief that Congress needs to pass legislation prohibiting the president from taking military action in North Korea without congressional consent. This could well be a giant diversionary tactic, taken perhaps as investigators close in with more Trump world indictments.

Needing Congress to authorize military action, Murphy says, should not be controversial.

On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" this past week, Murphy joined in the general alarm over the president's ongoing attacks on the country's judicial and intelligence communities, as the noose seemed to tighten around his fixer's neck, a guy who was shaking down big corporations and Russian oligarchs with abandon, once he could peddle access to the Trump swamp.

"As usual, the president is simply making things up in order to create a cloud around very bad news for him," Murphy said, commenting on the president's new Spygate yarn, with its bizarre, made-up plot worthy of staging by Linda McMahon's fake wrestling juggernaut.

There could be Donald Trump, in the middle of the ring, his whipped dyed blond hair askew, as he fake-kicks a wrestler dressed in a tank top with FBI printed on the chest in big letters.

Trump's attacks on the nation's justice system, even as his campaign remains a target of criminal investigations, is, Murphy said, an assault on democracy itself. It is indeed despotic.

In seeing much more of our Connecticut senators as the strange Trump presidency unravels, it is interesting to watch Murphy mature. At the age of 44, he still projects a wide-eyed youthfulness, but it seems to me he is maturing fast politically.

He even looks more serious as he spends more time in a national spotlight turned up to television brightness in the Time of Trump.

It is also interesting that Murphy, who will face an unknown pub proprietor in his next Senate race, one without a $50 million war chest, is taking a more prominent role in state Democratic politics.

I like to think he will go on to help state Democrats vanquish those Connecticut Republicans who, like the wrestling mogul from Stamford, still stand lovingly by the president's side.

All the races in Connecticut this fall are Murphy's to win.

This is the opinion of David Collins.

d.collins@theday.com

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