Republicans desperately want you to forget the events of Jan. 6 and their aftermath. Unfortunately, the guy who caused the riot (at least according to Mitch McConnell) is still the face of their party, and so they have to do an awkward little dance where they pretend he’s actually not a Soviet-style autocrat who wanted to burn liberal democracy to the ground, but rather a wee bit of a loose cannon with a lot of “strong opinions.”
I’ve never seen this level of slavish devotion to an unrepentant asshole outside of bona fide dictatorships and deeply dysfunctional families with at least one abusive alcoholic parent. It’s like if Volkswagen had come out with a line of Hitler-mobiles five years after World War II ended because the guy still had a lot of fans. What do we have to do to permanently make this dude box-office poison? Does he have to jump in a Piper Cub with a payload of COVID and start cropdusting rural Nebraska farms while trailing a sign saying “Welcome to the ‘Corona’ Belt, Pee-Paw”? I don’t think even that would do anything.
So you get absurdities like this: One of the congressmen Trump basically left for dead (or wounded or, at the very least, traumatized) refuses to rebuke him, even when asked a direct question about Trump’s actions (and inaction) on Jan. 6.
From Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace:
WALLACE: “In February, during the trial in the Senate, a Republican congresswoman [Jaime Herrera Beutler] said this; I want to put it up on the screen. She said that while the Jan. 6 riot was in full force, you phoned President Trump and asked him to call off his supporters, and according to you, she said, the president responded, ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.’ Is she right? Is that what President Trump said to you?”
MCCARTHY: “What I talked to President Trump about, I was the first person to contact him when the riot was going on, he didn't see it. What he ended the call was saying, telling me, he’ll put something out to make sure to stop this, and that’s what he did. He put a video out later.”
WALLACE: “Quite a lot later, and it was a pretty weak video, but I’m asking you specifically, did he say to you, ‘I guess some people are more concerned about the election than you are’?”
MCCARTHY: “No, listen. My conversations with the president are my conversations with the president. I engaged in the idea of making sure we could stop what was going on inside the Capitol at that moment in time, and the president said he would help.”
Narrator: “He didn’t”—help, that is.
I have to believe most sane Republicans (a dwindling cohort, I grant you) wish Trump would just fall in a tar pit somewhere so they could stop twisting their brains into Wetzel’s Pretzels. But this is the situation they created. If you’re going to act like a cult, you have to bow and scrape when your cult leader says “boo.” And you better not contradict him, no matter how many unhinged things he says.
McCarthy knows he can’t tell the truth about his Jan. 6 conversation with Donald Trump because hearing the truth turns Trump into the Heat Miser’s rashy taint. And he will lash out.
If they ever want to return to consensus reality, Republicans will have to jettison the inveterate liar and conspiracy theorist they’ve spent the last five years deifying. Unfortunately for this bevy of feckless fopdoodles, that’s easier said than done.
”This guy is a natural. Sometimes I laugh so hard I cry.” — Bette Midler on author Aldous J. Pennyfarthing via Twitter. Need a thorough Trump cleanse? Thanks to Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, Dear Fcking Lunatic, Dear Prsident A**clown and Dear F*cking Moron, you can purge the Trump years from your soul sans the existential dread. Only laughs from here on out. Click those links, yo!