Steve Cummings

Steve Cummings, chairman of the Cullman County Republican Party, speaks during a March Cullman Planning Commission meeting.

Local Republican Party head Steve Cummings watched all five and-a-half hours of Wednesday’s inaugural impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump, and came away with a decidedly circumspect take: Guilt or innocence aside, so much lies in the eye of the beholder.

“I watched the whole thing, me and my dad sitting at home,” said Cummings. “Yeah, it’s a little bit boring, but the way I look at it is like this: I used to referee high school football, and it’s kind of like an interference call, which is the hardest call to make in real time. Both teams look at it differently, depending on whether they’re wearing the crimson-colored glasses or the orange-colored glasses. The lens is gonna skew it your way.”

It’s too early in the impeachment process (and too early in the political season) to tell whether, or how, this week’s proceedings may affect local and state-level races ahead of the party primary elections next March. But Cummings believes that, no matter how Trump emerges, local Republican candidates will speak with one voice.

“In the U.S. Senate race, I’m sure they’ll all have an opinion; I don’t foresee a lot of breaking in the ranks,” he said. “Some candidates may be more vocal than the others for sure, because some of them have supported him from the beginning. But whatever happens, I think everyone will all stay together.

Cummings said he believes that Trump has been a straight shooter through months of allegations from Democratic opponents and unelected bureaucrats within the Washington, D.C. power structure, and that if he’s guilty of anything, it’s ripping the veil of politeness and even secrecy from the optics of how government presents itself to the people — and to those who work in the government itself.

“Perception is a lot of it,” he said. “Trump is one of those people who doesn’t really care about the way things sound. He’ll do an interview with the press and talk off the cuff — I think he operates so openly that, as long as he’s telling the truth and being candid, he doesn’t see the potential for how his words and his conduct will be scrutinized by the other side.

“[U.S. Rep. Adam] Schiff’a lawyer and Trump’s a businessman, and lawyers are really good at using a microscope and making things look black or white. Whereas Trump’s looking at things like a businessman — he looks at the big picture from 30,000 feet, and isn’t worried at every moment about whether the way he speaks to people conforms to someone’s microscopic idea of decorum or propriety. It’s almost like watching a left-brain and a right-brain person oppose each other in their two personalities and two types of reasoning.” 

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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