What is interesting about this moment is that we used to get mad at media (NY Times,especially, but all of it across the board) for refusing to call out Donald Trump, normalizing him, refusing to use the word “lies” etc.
But now, media and reporting are clear. It’s the conservative part of the public that won’t accept the truth. They’ll have to sooner or later (see COVID), but a lot of harm will occur along the way.
Former president, private citizen and, perhaps, criminal defendant:
Donald Trump’s new reality
The question came out of the blue and has haunted me ever since. It was Jan. 17, 2017, three days before Donald Trump’s swearing-in, and my wife and I sat with him in the near-empty main cabin aboard the Trump Organization’s Boeing 757 en route to Washington for a pre-inaugural gala.
So, asked the president-elect: Should he retain or fire Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the powerful Southern District of New York? I gave what I thought was an obvious, anodyne answer: All other things being equal, it’s better to have your own people in place. Within two months, Bharara was gone.
To the charge of naivete that night, I plead guilty: I didn’t consider then that Trump might have had his personal legal interests in mind. But it is impossible to escape the self-interested intent behind his question. From the earliest days of his administration, it became painfully apparent that in all matters — including affairs of state — Trump’s personal well-being took top priority. Four years and two impeachments later, he has managed to avoid the full consequences of his conduct.
But now that run of legal good fortune may end. Trump departed the White House a possible — many would say probable, provable — criminal, one who has left a sordid trail of potential and actual misconduct that remains to be fully investigated.
David Rothkopf/USA Today:
Let’s get real. Joe Biden, Democrats and America need results much more than unity.
It’s time to give Biden’s 81 million voters a chance to be heard and Biden a chance to carry out the plans he ran on, even if he has to play hardball.
When Biden spoke of unity, however, he was clear. He explicitly did not mean he expected we would all agree on every initiative. Rather, his intent as laid out in the speech, was to remind Americans that we are all in this together. He has said his goal is to de-toxify American politics, to end the zero sum, us vs. them mentality that dominated during the Trump years. He wants to make sure people understood that under his administration, no state or city or individual will be penalized for their legitimate political beliefs.
Colin P Clarke/NY Times:
A New Era of Far-Right Violence
The imagery of the Capitol siege will have enduring resonance.
Large segments of the mob that stormed the Capitol were unaffiliated — individuals and small groups, family members, neighbors. These could well be the new foot soldiers of the far right. Some, and perhaps many, of these new recruits will have military experience or law enforcement training. What’s more, the infusion of younger members into the ranks of the far right is likely to breathe new life into the movement, ensuring its longevity.
Longtime GOP insider Mike Lofgren on his former party: “Going easy on these people will not work”
Lofgren spent 28 years on Capitol Hill. Now he says Republican zealots should be crushed, banished and ostracized
I recently discussed the insurrection at the Capitol, how best to combat right-wing extremism and the future of the Republican Party with Lofgren in a phone conversation, lightly edited here for length and clarity.
We’ll start with the obvious. What was your gut reaction as you watched the act of domestic terrorism — the siege of the Capitol — live on television? Now that you’ve had time to process it, what is your interpretation of the event both in terms of what happened and how the United States should proceed?
I worked for three decades in Congress. Regardless of how peeved I might have been over some policy or another, I was proud of my public service. To see the place trashed like that, and I mean really desecrated — there were people shitting on the floor, and smearing it on the walls. The insane violence of a mob beating a cop with a fire extinguisher and shoving him down the marble stairs was horrifying. At the same time, once the mob was dispersed, they went throughout the D.C. metro area randomly beating up people whom they could victimize. Later that afternoon, my daughter, who does not live in D.C. but in Arlington, across the river, was out walking her dog, and saw these thugs spewing out of the Metro station like toxic waste. She had to do a 180. Arlington was placed under curfew that night. All these occurrences, including having to worry about my own family’s safety, left some pretty vivid impressions, to say the least.
Jane Meyer/New Yorker:
Why McConnell Dumped Trump
After the Capitol assault—and after losing his perch as Majority Leader—the senator finally denounced the outgoing President. Was it a moral reckoning or yet another act of political self-interest?
Several Republican advisers argued to me that McConnell had no reasonable choice. If he had confronted Trump before the Georgia runoff, they said, Trump would have launched a civil war within the Party, possibly even commanding his supporters not to vote. “It could have been worse,” the former Trump official said. “Trump could have attacked” the two Republican Senate candidates, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, or the National Republican Senate Campaign Committee. As one of the advisers put it, “McConnell was trying to keep the wheels on the train for a few more hours.”
The price of Trump’s coöperation, however, grew ever higher. According to a well-informed Republican insider, Trump made unconscionable demands behind the scenes. He threatened to withhold his support for Loeffler and Perdue, and refused to campaign for them unless they joined his attacks on Georgia’s election officials and repeated his false claims of widespread election fraud. Days before the runoff, the insider said, the President forced Perdue to leave the campaign trail for a secret meeting at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida. There, Trump coerced Perdue not just into taking his side on election fraud but also into supporting an increase in the size of pandemic-relief checks to two thousand dollars—a figure that McConnell and Senate Republicans opposed. If Perdue refused, Trump made clear, he might withdraw his support. At the time, a spokesman for Perdue’s campaign denied that Trump had pressured Perdue. But, soon after the Mar-a-Lago meeting, both Perdue and Loeffler began echoing Trump’s call for larger relief checks, placing themselves and McConnell in an embarrassing political bind. Trump, meanwhile, went on Twitter and attacked McConnell’s opposition to the bigger relief checks, calling it a “death wish.” The President’s behavior toward the candidates led the insider to a simple conclusion: “Trump is a thug.”
Here’s the problem for Republicans: office holders like Brad Raffensperger and Mitch McConnell would rather the white supremacy stay genteel and quiet to keep the majority.
QAnon and the Republican base, increasingly the same as in Marjorie Taylor Green and Lauren Boebert, want it said out loud. They’d rather be loud and in the minority than suffer the embarrassment of compromise (let alone admission of guilt, error, or defeat).
It’s going to be a rough few years. Republicans will simply refuse to acknowledge losses so long as there is no price to be paid for it.
‘Bamboozled.’ Hawley mentors stunned by conduct, but early warning signs were there
Since the Capitol rampage, Hawley’s mentors have disavowed him. Donors have demanded refunds. Colleagues have called for his resignation or expulsion. And those who helped guide his career are asking themselves if they missed something essential about their former mentee.
“I am more than a little bamboozled by it, certainly distressed by it,” said David Kennedy, the Stanford professor emeritus of history who served as Hawley’s academic adviser and wrote the foreword to his 2008 book on Teddy Roosevelt.
But the Lexington columns suggest that Hawley’s ideology took root long before he entered public life, and that his passage from Roosevelt scholar to Trump’s ideological heir was not entirely unforeseen.