"It has been a tough year for fans of American democracy. The sacking of the Capitol on Jan. 6 set the tone. Former President Donald Trump’s chokehold on the Republican Party continues to fuel its most unhinged impulses and elements. More than two-thirds of Republicans buy the lie that the 2020 election was stolen," Cottle began her piece on Wednesday.
"Too many party leaders who know better are playing along… But there have been exceptions, select Republicans who have put the public good ahead of partisan and personal interests — some more dramatically than others. Not that these folks are saints, or even consistent in their commitment. But these days, even glimmers of responsible, pro-democratic behavior amid the miasma of Trumpism merit a shout-out. So in the spirit of the season, let us give thanks for these rare Republican pockets of character and duty," Cottle wrote.
On the top of Cottle's list was Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wy., who she praised for her outspokenness against President Trump and her prominent role on the Jan. 6 select committee.
"Ms. Cheney’s vote to impeach Mr. Trump (in his second round), her service on the Jan. 6 select committee, her steady drumbeat of warnings about the threat Mr. Trump's lies pose to the nation — these shouldn’t be partisan issues, but in today’s G.O.P. they absolutely set her apart from the sniveling herd," Cottle wrote.
Ranked at No. 2 was Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Il., the outgoing lawmaker who Cottle noted was denounced by members of his own family for becoming an anti-Trump figure.
The Times editorial writer offered a nod to the "impeachment backers" both in the House and Senate, saying they "upheld the Constitution and put country over party, so naturally they have been targeted for payback by the former president and his toadies."
Cottle then thanked the GOP lawmakers who helped pass the "badly needed" infrastructure bill, "putting constituents’ interests ahead of their party’s desire to deny the Democrats a legislative accomplishment."
She went on to give a shoutout to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and the election official Gabriel Sterling for defending their state's 2020 election results, writing "Were it not for [their] spinal fortitude… America could have been plunged into a full-blown constitutional crisis."
Cottle similarly thanked Republican Al Schmidt of Philadelphia's city commission for disputing claims of election fraud, GOP officials in Arizona's Maricopa County for certifying President Biden's election victory and denouncing pro-Trump election audit efforts and Oregan state lawmakers for rejecting mob violence following the expulsion of Republican Mike Nearman for letting armed protesters into State Capitol in December.
"Apologies to any stand-up Republicans who got overlooked this time around. And here’s hoping that in the months to come, even more officials at all levels get fed up with licking Mr. Trump’s anti-democratic, filth-encrusted boots," Cottle added.