Senator Chris Coons has a warning for his fellow Democrats: Check your anti-Trump fervor.
“I understand the level of passion in my party about opposing Donald Trump,” the Delaware senator told me in an interview yesterday, “but I do think we have to be cautious about not engaging in the same kind of withering intraparty contests to prove our purity and our fervor in opposing Trump on absolutely everything, on absolutely all fronts.”
For most of the Trump presidency, the man who holds former Vice President Joe Biden’s old Senate seat has been in an ever-so-respectful feud with his party’s left flank, all because of comments like these. Left-wingers see his zeal for decorum and politeness as a weakness in the face of a pugnacious president—the equivalent of wielding a butter knife against a battalion of bazookas. The latest rift broke open on Monday morning, after Coons condemned the thousands of baseball fans who chanted “Lock him up!” when Trump appeared on the jumbotron during Sunday’s World Series game at Nationals Park. “I frankly think the office of the president deserves respect, even when the actions of our president at times don't,” Coons said on CNN.
Coons, who is up for reelection to a third term next year in a reliably blue state, has no electoral imperative to ingratiate himself with Trump’s base. Yet he makes a point of befriending Republicans, and he’s angered liberals by voting for some of the president’s judicial nominees and discouraging public confrontations with administration officials. In 2018, Coons helped speed up the confirmation of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by changing a committee vote to “present” so Republican Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia wouldn’t have to rush back from a funeral service.