FARGO — Now that Donald Trump has left the White House, I have a confession to make. I don’t get it. I don’t understand how Trump could do so many appalling things, but they didn’t matter to his supporters. Things that would have destroyed the political careers of anyone else.

They include separating children from their parents, cozying up to the Russians and ignoring Russian bounties on our troops, lies and bullying, secretly suspending military aid to an ally while trying to force that country to help him get re-elected, denigrating our soldiers, praising neo-Nazis, tear-gassing peaceful protesters, paying hush money to porn stars, not paying income taxes, and lies and incompetence in dealing with the coronavirus. If he had just told the American people the truth about this deadly virus and urged people to wear masks, he could have saved tens of thousands of lives.

Still, Trump received 74 million votes in his reelection campaign.

After the election, it was more of the same. Pardons for traitors, cronies and murderers, a veto of the defense bill, doing nothing after a massive cyber attack from the Russians, firing the election cybersecurity director, obstruction of the presidential transition, 200,000 more deaths from the coronavirus, a disastrous rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, and threats and intimidation to election officials in an attempt to criminally falsify the results of the election. Again, none of that mattered. Trump was still their guy.

I still didn’t get it.

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Even after Trump incited a deadly domestic terrorist riot at the Capitol, many Trump supporters have stuck with him. Equally astonishing, is that without any evidence, they believe Trump’s big lie that the election was stolen. As the conniving George Costanza said, “It’s not a lie, if you believe it.”

I don’t get how before the election, virtually no Republican members of Congress had the integrity to oppose Trump’s cruelty and assaults on our democracy. That includes the cowardice of North Dakota Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer and North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong. Either they really supported Trump’s madness or knew Trump did dangerous things, but didn’t have the guts to speak out. Either scenario is inexcusable.

I was always taught that Congress was supposed to be a check and balance on the president, not a rubber stamp. It’s alarming that Cramer pledged 100% loyalty to Trump. That’s something I would expect from Trump’s chauffeur, but not a U.S. senator.

I don’t get how North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem could sign on to a bogus unconstitutional lawsuit that would have overturned the presidential election results, thwarted the will of the American people, and destroyed our democracy.

The sad part for me is that I have lost two longtime friends over Trump. That’s never happened to me before due to a politician. This really bothers me. I went to their weddings and they went to mine. We had great times together over the years.

Their devotion to an evil, corrupt and unhinged man became more important than our friendship. Trump doesn’t know them or care about them. I do.

Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director. Email jimshawtv@gmail.com