Michael Leppert: Republican quotes of the week: Where to begin?

“Where do I begin?” This is the quote of the week, an award I often dole out for a wide variety of reasons. Those reasons can be the source of great pride or shame. Profound meaning or comedic genius are both favorite categories of the esteemed accolade. It is rarely awarded to someone for achieving an “own” of someone on whatever social media platform.

Todd Young, Indiana’s senior U.S. senator, gave this week’s quote in an answer to this question from CNN’s Manu Raju: “What’s the reason for you not supporting (Donald Trump’s campaign)?”

After giving the quote of the week, Young did find his place to begin, primarily Trump’s lack of support for Ukraine’s defense against the unprovoked Russian invasion. But in general, Young pointed out Trump’s losing record and how it was time for Republicans to support winners.

Contrast Young’s perspective with Indiana’s junior U.S. Senator, and 2024 gubernatorial candidate Mike Braun. He declined to respond to Young’s comments, referring to his comments on April 22: “I think when it comes to that candidate that can portray what was working so well pre-COVID, we know who that was. It was President Trump.”

Let me lightly own Braun here. We are in post-COVID America. Since COVID, Trump has been impeached a second time, indicted once, inspired an insurrection, stolen top secret documents, and most recently, has been found liable for sexual battery. Oh, and he lost an election, due at least in part to his mismanagement of COVID.

Jim Banks, the Indiana congressman running to replace Braun in the Senate, is also buried in the Trump camp. Banks didn’t comment on the news Young made. However, I am curious what Banks thinks about Republican Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s comments this week. Tuberville said that while Democrats may consider white nationalists to be racists, “I call them Americans.” This quote finished in second place this week.

What does this have to do with Banks? Well, he touted the endorsement his Senate campaign got from Tuberville back in March.

None of these examples are out of character. So, while it may sound like I’m upset, angry or surprised by any of it, I’m not. But the last example of the week actually did disappoint me.

On Friday, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch decided to chime in on America’s southern border crisis. I guess it is perfunctory for a Republican to blame a generational border problem on the person in charge when that person is a Democrat. Even though “owning” has generally gotten boring, Crouch decided this was the time to lower her historically high bar for dignity.

She described the crisis as “a Democrat voter registration drive masquerading as an immigration policy.” Really? That’s the most cynical and classless public statement I’ve ever heard Crouch make. I hope this isn’t a sign of what her 2024 gubernatorial campaign will become. I think Hoosiers have enough candidates running next year who think and say crap like that.

As a teacher of language, I can attest that GOP-speak is merely a dialect. The U.S. Constitution prohibits designating any official language. Thank you, founders.

Young wins in a week full of challenges for the quote award. Not because I liked what he said, but because I think he might actually mean it.

Michael Leppert is an author, educator and a communication consultant in Indianapolis. He writes about government, politics and culture at MichaelLeppert.com. This commentary was originally published at indianacapitalchronicle.com. Send comments to [email protected]