President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence meet with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), center, on Capitol Hill on Nov. 10. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

We did not expect much resistance to his excesses from the president-elect’s fellow Republicans. Well, at least one political prediction has come to pass. As of this writing, no Republican senator even hinted that Sen. Jeff Sessions’s hearing might change their support for him to be attorney general. Nary a peep was raised except from Democrats and #NeverTrump foreign policy experts about the selection of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn for national security adviser, an intemperate, loose cannon who lacks the decorum and ethics one expects from someone in high office. (“Flynn may not be capable of dispassionately advising the president on matters related to the protection and preservation of American national interests,” wrote Noah Rothman.) Not a word of disapproval from elected Republicans about Flynn’s habit of re-tweeting racist messages, indicting an entire religion or disregarding a stunning conflict of interest that might make even Hillary Clinton blush.

We saw similar reticence when it came to Stephen K. Bannon.  Rather than personally utter them, he has let his Breitbart News website carry the racist and anti-Semitic musings of white nationalists. GOP criticism? Crickets. (The Republican Jewish Coalition went one step further, actually defending him.) Bannon’s professed support for Israel is entirely beside the point. As Bari Weiss put it:

What we know is that he is proud to have provided the bullhorn for a movement that unabashedly promotes white nationalism, racism, misogyny, and the relentless identification of Jews as the champions of the country’s most nefarious forces, like “globalism” and “elitism,” that the alt-right seeks to destroy. It’s no coincidence that a publication that identifies as the “platform” for this movement thinks nothing of calling Bill Kristol “a renegade Jew” or smearing Anne Applebaum: “Hell hath no fury like a Polish, Jewish, American elitist scorned.” . . .

Hawkishness on Israel is not the litmus test of a person’s decency. To hold your tongue as the godfather of the alt-right is installed in the West Wing is deplorable.

Perhaps Republicans will stiffen their spines with time, but we are under no illusion. We dreaded a Trump presidency for precisely this reason. Now the entire GOP is turning a blind eye toward egregious speech, condoning unhinged behavior and neglecting their institutional duties. (Couldn’t they at least pretend to have a hearing to decide if Sessions should be confirmed?)

President-elect Donald Trump has not broken through partisan sniping with his early moves; he has accentuated it by choosing loyalists with intemperate personalities and, in some cases, fringe views. He has every right to nominate whomever he wants and put whichever campaign lackey he likes in the West Wing. He nevertheless cannot expect such choices to win over skeptics or calm jangled nerves among minorities, women, civil libertarians and others.

What is it fair to expect of members of the same party in response to a White House that engages in  untoward rhetoric and/or makes exceptionally unwise personnel decisions?

1. Criticizing does not mean blocking. GOP senators could well have admonished Bannon’s past seduction of the alt-right. They could have voiced disapproval of Flynn. That doesn’t mean Trump wouldn’t get advisers who aren’t subject to Senate confirmation anyway. It means Republicans would have adhered to some standard of intellectual honesty and moral integrity. They have not so far. Voters and the media should ask them why.

2. You do have to pick your battles. When, for example, there is a nominee sent up for confirmation who is egregiously unqualified or ethically unsound, senators have every right, in fact they have the obligation, to vote him down. Not every nominee should or could be stopped; for relatively minor posts it may not be worth trying.

3. There is no excuse for lack of oversight. Did Flynn violate any conflicts of interest, foreign agent or other federal laws or regulations? Someone should look into it.

4. Congress has the power of the purse. If the White House is getting filled up with sleazy characters and hacks, it is time to cut the National Security Council down to size (something we have advocated doing anyway). If the Trump administration wants an overstuffed infrastructure bill designed to help their friends and stiff opponents, it should be pared back.

5. Corruption is not something to be ignored. Congress should hold hearings if the president-elect persists with the bizarre notion that he can continue ownership of his businesses and properties (some of which are indebted to foreign banks) and let his kids manage them — but then let his daughter Ivanka sit in on a meeting with the Japanese prime minister and take daily advice from his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. If GOP lawmakers sit idly by and scandal hits, they will be swept out of office just as Trump swept in — on a wave of anger at corrupt, self-dealing politicians.