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Connecticut Republicans let Trump take them down

Still up on the Twitter feed for the Connecticut Republican Party on Friday was a video clip of President Donald Trump promising on Monday that he was an "ally of all peaceful protesters," spoken at the same time his goons were organizing a violent attack on peaceful protesters just beyond the White House grounds.

Indeed, those Trump lies, provocations and threats from the Rose Garden on Monday were the only reference all week on the Connecticut Republican Party Twitter and Facebook accounts to the brutal killing by police of a black man in Minneapolis and the national turmoil that ensued.

I'm not kidding. I couldn't find on those social media feeds a single word of comfort or understanding for the grieving and anxiety felt by so many in Connecticut, black and white, over the killing of George Floyd.

There also wasn't any mention of reforms or solutions, just more promotion for the Trump campaign and some carping at Gov. Ned Lamont for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Social media of the Connecticut Democratic Party, on the other hand, was awash every day in sympathy and ideas to bring the country together and move it forward in this time of tumult.

Connecticut Republicans seem to be all in with the lying, racist and divisive Republican president.

There was some stirring of Trump dissent even among Republicans in the U.S. Senate, as Trump worked to grind down the bedrock of our democracy, peaceful assembly. I didn't hear a peep from Connecticut Republicans, though.

Anyone who thought the 2018 drumming at the polls for state Republicans would be a wake-up call was mistaken. Wait until you see what voters here say in 2020. We don't have good polls for predicting, but I believe it will be crushing.

All those people, young and old, black and white, we've been seeing in protests all around Connecticut will be coming for them.

The Connecticut GOP is doubling down under the leadership of an ambitious young Trumpist, J.R. Romano, chairman of the party, who should get the lion's share of credit for a week of ignoring the profound racial unrest as it unfolded here and across the country.

It saddens me that Connecticut Republicans are allowing their party to go over the cliff, following a president who, incredibly, on Friday suggested George Floyd may be smiling down on us because of a better-than-expected, Trump-pleasing unemployment report.

Republicans in the state, when they were part of a healthy national political party, offset some of the worst excesses of Democrats, setting up a welcome balance of ideas and approach to policy.

That was before they lined up behind a president marching toward authoritarianism.

One astounding tone-deaf comment since the Floyd killing came from House Minority Leader Themis Klarides of Derby, who is widely expected to run for governor.

Klarides voted last year against police accountability legislation — among other things, it would have prevented police from shooting into fleeing vehicles — that passed unanimously in the Senate and along party lines in the Democratic-controlled House. She has lame excuses for her no vote, late changes to the bill and not enough public hearings. Blah blah.

Klarides, in remarks to The Hartford Courant, likened the experience of blacks in police stops to being in the minority as a woman.

"I can't put myself in the place of an African-American person and know what it feels like when they get pulled over by a cop just like somebody can't put themselves in my shoes as a woman when I walk into a room and get treated differently because I am the only woman there," the Courant quoted her as saying.

I don't know firsthand what either is like. And I don't mean to diminish the inequality of the sexes her comment rightly expresses.

But I'm sure that if Klarides had been listening with any empathy to the heart-wrenching testimony from black parents who have had to teach their children to fear for their lives when the blue lights go on, she would not have equated the two. We can know what it must be like if we listen and believe, and the country was doing that all week.

No one has ever been killed as the only white woman in the room.

I am sure that Connecticut voters are paying attention to what Connecticut Republicans apparently aren't listening to or talking about in these trying times.

I believe they will remember in November.

This is the opinion of David Collins.

d.collins@theday.com

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