When the final chapter of the Trump Era is written, the remaining question in the minds of some witnesses will be, how did this grotesque excuse for a president remain in the Oval Office for so long?  A fair question, given his destructive force field wherever he casts his shadow. There will only be clues.

But we shouldn’t dismiss the surrender of many elected Republicans who spend much of their time tip-toeing around the psychotic man who, among other alarming excesses, openly engaged in recreational treason in his servile meetings with such autocrats at Vladimir Putin.

The report from Capitol Hill brings us the daily word of one congressman or another who has tried to trip past a reporter’s question about Trump’s latest gaffe in hopes that tomorrow will bring a less awkward political climate for suckers still stuck to the notion that they will be unscathed by their own cowardice.

The Plain Dealer’s recent survey of Ohio’s congressional delegation clearly told us a story of how the birthplace of so many presidents has now become the swampy home of mediocre hoof beat pols trying to ride out the storm.

When the paper asked them whether Trump’s slithering was “unpatriotic or even treasonous,” The Plain Dealer reported, “most refused to say, instead offering talking points”.

Here are some examples of the responses from the folks who will be asking for our votes in the midterm elections on the Trump-Putin press conference in Helsinki:

Beginning with the satanic hard-liner Jim Jordan of Urbana, the co-founder of the congressional Freedom Caucus:

“People are pretty darned pleased.  You can make whatever you want out of the press conference, but that’s the sentiment I get from constituents in Ohio.”

Rep. Bob Gibbs, of Holmes County, said it didn’t matter that Trump flubbed his words.

“President Trump said he misspoke [when he said he believed Putin over the US. Intelligence community]. It’s irrelevant. His deeds are more than his words. We have sanctioned the oligarchs, gave military assistance to Ukraine – the actions speak for themselves. Give the guy a break. He is traveling around the world all the time. We’re all human.”

Rep. Jim Renacci, of Wadsworth, who is running for the U.S. Senate against Democrat Sherrod Brown and is one of the Trump’s’ staunchest surrogates, asserted:

“He admitted he misstated, it’s not often we see political people willing to say they made a mistake, but he’s a business guy in a political office. He does things differently.”

(I would add that Renacci often describes himself as a businessman to upgrade his political identity.)

As a non-denial denial, Rep. Warren Davidson of a Miami County congressional district gift-wrapped halfway around Dayton, turned to a softball to say that Trump’s comments alongside Putin were “not his finest hour.” But he wants us to know that Trump remains popular because he’s a “pragmatist” who is popular because “he’s pursuing the nation’s interests and putting the country first.”

You can conclude there is still some distance to go in rooting out Trump. Bravo to the Plain Dealer to get us this far.