Chris Christie, Rodney Frelinghuysen and Leonard Lance were among the many Republican apologists, enablers and craven opportunists who wittingly or unwittingly were co-conspirators in creating the trump fog machine that has produced very dangerous intended, not unintended, consequences. You reap what you sow.
Through much of the trump time in office, particularly during the early years, people like Christie, Frelinghuysen, Lance and many others excuse, rationalized and downplayed trump’s abhorrent behavior, from his record of sexual assaults against women to his sleazy Trump University to his total refusal to disclose his tax returns and so many more horrible deeds. The apologists and enablers said that trump talked a lot of trash but that his actions did not mirror his presidential perfidy. Well now, I guess they were pretty wrong.
Maybe it’s time for the good Republicans in the country to realize the results of their actions and to distance themselves loudly and publicly from the trump lies so they can maybe help limit the destruction or maybe they do understand the results and that is even more alarming.
Take the election smear and trump’s persistent, mind-numbing and baseless claims that the electoral system is rigged and that he and not Joe Biden actually won. So you take a lie and repeat it enough to at least plant a seed of doubt in the country and then the political hacks and opportunists, who know full well that there was no widespread voter fraud, proclaim that the voting laws need to be tightened (that means give the Republicans an edge and squeeze out more people of color from voting) because there is so much mistrust in the electoral system, mistrust that trump created and the Republicans fertilized. And it’s working, as the N.Y. Times reported that legislators in at least 33 states have cited low public confidence in election integrity in their public comments as a justification for bills to restrict voting
What is more chilling, more galling, is the total capitulation of so many elected leaders to trump’s evil fantasies.
After the Jan. 6 attack on the capitol, trump said the incident posed “zero threat,” that some of his supporters were “hugging and kissing the police and the guards” and that many were waved in and then they went in and walked out. Then, this past Wednesday, a group of House republicans said that those in the mob that assaulted the capitol were largely orderly, that there is no evidence that they were largely trump supporters, and that the rioters were simply acting like normal tourists. They want you to ignore the reality seen in the news where screaming, trump banner carrying extremists broke through barriers, entered the capitol, injured police, terrorized members of Congress and vandalized offices.
Then on Wednesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., oversaw the brief meeting of House Republicans who voted to strip Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., of her leadership post because she refused to back down on her statements that trump incited the riot at the Capitol and that he lost the election and there was no widespread voter fraud. With McCarthy’s support, Cheney was replaced by Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who has transformed into a stalwart trump loyalist who insists that the president did not incite the mob and that he was definitely robbed in the election.
That same day, McCarthy met with President Biden and later said “I don’t think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election. I think that is all over with.” What incredible gall, what an incredible liar, what an incredible quisling.
McCarthy has been equally duplicitous in the matter of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., that wingnut, QAnon believer who also claims that trump was the true winner in the election. Greene was stripped of her committee assignments because of comments about school shootings, political violence and anti-Semitic conspiracies. Only 11 of 213 Republicans in the House voted to punish Greene but McCarthy gave her a real talking-to when he said “Past comments from and endorsed by Marjorie Taylor Greene on school shootings, political violence, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories do not represent the values or beliefs of the House Republican Conference. I made this clear to Marjorie when we met. I also made clear that as a member of Congress we have a responsibility to hold ourselves to a higher standard than how she presented herself as a private citizen.”
Greene upheld that higher standard this past Wednesday when she stalked after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D.-N.Y., yelling at her while falsely accusing Ocasio-Cortez of supporting “terrorists.” Ocasio-Cortez, a strong trump critic, followed up by calling for measures to make Congress “a safe, civil place for all members and staff.”
Open your eyes, America, this is not going to turn out very well.
This piece first appeared in Medium.
Editor's note: Phil Garber has been a Journalist for 40 years and has won the journalist of the year award twice from the New Jersey Press Association. He may be reached at email@example.com.
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