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After the “Access Hollywood” tape became public, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis withdrew his support for Donald Trump.

“The abhorrent comments ... are inexcusable and go directly against what I’ve been doing in Washington to combat assaults on college campuses,” Davis said. “I am rescinding my support for Donald Trump and asking to have my name removed from his agriculture advisory committee.”

That was October 2016. Three years later, Davis has accepted appointment as honorary chairman of Trump’s re-election campaign in Illinois.

What changed?

Certainly not Trump. He continues to demean women, calling former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, for example, a dog and a “crazed, crying lowlife.”

More importantly in terms of impact, he separated children from parents at the border, and his Education Department lessened protections for victims of sexual assault on campus by reversing Obama-era guidelines.

Davis, who portrays himself as bipartisan, has signed on with a president who breaks all the norms against hyper-partisan, divisive rhetoric and behavior.

Trump calls his critics “treasonous,” raises the possibility of serving more than two terms and retweeted a minister’s warning of “civil war” if Trump loses in 2020.

Once a pretty safe bet, Davis squeaked to re-election in 2018 by only 2,058 votes. A rematch with Democrat Betsy Londrigan is likely.

Is Trump someone Davis really wants to share a platform with? Or this just a cold calculation that Trump’s base is now Davis’ only hope.

JOHN PALEN

Urbana

News-Gazette