Political knot tying while auditioning

Bruce Lear lives in Sioux City and has been connected to Iowa’s public schools for 38 years. He taught for eleven years and represented educators as an Iowa State Education Association regional director for 27 years until retiring. He can be reached at BruceLear2419@gmail.com 

I always considered knot tying and auditioning as two separate skills with nothing in common. I learned knot tying from an overly-patient Scoutmaster who scowled but never criticized when knots like the sheepshank, square, clover hitch, and bowline were too loose or completely flubbed. 

I also had auditions. I went for a music scholarship in college. I didn’t get it. I tried out for a few plays and scored parts.

Both skills require practice, discipline, and willingness to fail. I never tried both skills at once. After all, that would have left me tied in knots and looking bad during an audition.

But it’s happening now on the political stage.

Quite a few Republican wannabes are tying themselves in political knots to audition for a spot in a Donald Trump administration. It would be laughable if it didn’t reek of desperation.

Trump has made clear his requirements are twofold. Those hoping to serve in his administration must refuse to accept the results of the 2024 election while casting doubt on the legitimacy of 2020. That’s when the knot tying gets complicated. Some of the auditioners voted to certify the previous presidential election, which Trump still falsely claims was stolen from him. Others have grudgingly said Joe Biden won.

Until Trump ran for president, there was no need to ask politicians whether they would accept the outcome of the next election. Everyone’s answer would have been one word: “yes.” 

For example, in his latest appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on May 5, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina tied himself in a tight bowline knot trying to answer. Host Kristen Welker asked, “Will you accept the election results no matter who wins.”  Instead of even trying to answer, Scott robotically repeated at least three times, “At the end of the day, the 47th president of the United States will be President Donald Trump.”

Welker tried again to loosen the knot, but Scott said, “That’s my statement.”

He’s not alone. 

During the 2016 Republican primaries, Trump called Senator Marco Rubio of Florida “Little Marco.” Now that Rubio is a contender for the vice presidential slot, he is tying himself in knots using deflection and false equivalency. 

When Welker asked Rubio the same question on the May 19 edition of “Meet the Press,” the senator answered, “If it’s an unfair election, I think it’s going to be contested by each side.” He went on to falsely claim, “The Democrats are the ones that have opposed every Republican victory since 2000. Every single one.”

Rubio flunked knot tying. Democrats may have questioned the conduct of elections in a handful of states, but none of them staged an insurrection, and none of them attempted to use fake electors to stop the peaceful transition of power. The only losing presidential candidate refusing to concede is Donald Trump. 

The other stage where Republicans have tied themselves in knots performing for Trump was outside the Manhattan courthouse where Trump faced criminal trial. A jury convicted him on May 31 on all counts of falsifying business records so voters wouldn’t learn before the 2016 election that the GOP nominee paid a porn actress for her silence about their one-night stand.

That audition seemed to require matching costumes (blue suit, red tie), and a willingness to insult the jury, the judge, and witnesses while condemning the American judicial system.

Those auditioning can’t express faith in juries. Although many of the GOP politicians are lawyers, they characterize the case against Trump as a “sham,” “political witch hunt,” or example of a “two-tiered justice system.”

American presidential candidates have a long history of choosing running mates based on geography, vote getting potential, and voter likability. Trump’s choice will be based primarily on loyalty. Quite simply, he demands a potential cabinet member do what he orders without question.

When a job applicant is forced to tie themselves in knots, the voters need to smell desperation and run from that team.

Top photo of a square knot is by UVgreen, available via Shutterstock.

About the Author(s)

Bruce Lear