The audio came out the same day Trump’s spokesman on Capitol Hill, Parliamentary Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans spoke out against authoritarianism and abuse of power – but they carried these charges against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and not against the twice indicted former president.
It was the latest incarnation of a now classic tactic among pro-Trump Republicans and his media propagandists – an effort not only to excuse the former president’s conduct, but to completely alter the facts and public perception of the worst attack on Congress in two centuries. The shapeshifting strategy is not just a political device – it allows those who promote it to avoid grappling with the reality of an assault on American democracy.
Trump has appeared rambling and wallowing in his own delusions in the published recordings by Carol Leonning and Phil Rucker of their interviews with him for their recently released book “I Alone Can Fix It.”
“They were introduced by the police. The Capitol Police were very friendly,” Trump told reporters, referring to the dismissal of Congress and assaults on police officers by his supporters.
The latest controversy in Washington over the insurgency erupted when Pelosi kicked out two of McCarthy’s picks for the select committee that will investigate the Trump insurgency. McCarthy responded by announcing a full boycott of the panel.
“I don’t care if you think I’m Satan reincarnated, the point is you can’t watch this TV and say, nothing happened on the 6th,” Biden said in Cincinnati.
“You can’t listen to people who say, ‘This is a peaceful march,’” Biden said.
The president’s remarks put Wednesday’s events in a broader context, as much of Washington was fixated on whether Pelosi had made a tactical error that gave McCarthy an excuse to withdraw all of his choices for the president. committee and to characterize the whole exercise as a partisan witch-hunt and ignore its findings. This theory has some merit from a narrow political point of view. The speaker effectively left her rival little option to preserve her own position within her own party.
But the idea that Pelosi was foiled rests on the premise that McCarthy acted in good faith in a long-standing liability row on January 6, when he repeatedly sought to block the conduct reviews of the ex-president. And this is not a minor partisan political feud. American democratic traditions are at stake.
And the hysterical and hyperbolic reaction by GOP leaders to Pelosi’s decision also underscored how the House Republican Party will do everything in its quest to shield Trump from accountability and prevent Americans – and ultimately history – from having a real understanding of what happened on January 6th.
If anyone was guilty of authoritarianism, denying the truth and shattering American political institutions, it was the former president, who refused to accept the will of the voters – the most fundamental tenet of the American political system. The equivalence show also shows how Republicans are using Trump’s months of lies and propaganda, which convinced millions of his constituents that he was swindled from power, to advance a self-contained – and false – narrative.
The GOP’s response to Pelosi also reflected McCarthy’s willingness to take whatever position he sees as favorable to loyalists of the ex-president who he hopes will appear on the campaign trail in the midterm elections and will make him speak. And a press conference by lawmakers who will no longer sit on the committee underscored once again how Trump’s stunt policy has become the norm within the House GOP.
GOP accuses Pelosi of insurgency
They implicitly argued that a crowd waving Trump flags that slammed into Capitol Hill, beat police officers and disrupted Biden’s certification of election victory while calling for the hanging of then-Vice President Mike Pence , was not at fault. They said Pelosi was guilty of failing to provide sufficient security to keep lawmakers safe.
Their absurd bet offered a glimpse of the circus of distraction Jordan would have carried out had he stayed on the commission.
But more fundamentally, the Republican leadership accuses Pelosi of being guilty of the very crimes against the Constitution and American democracy that Trump has perpetrated has shown how far the GOP has strayed from the mind of its former hero, President Ronald. Reagan, who once said that democracy is “the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man.”
Earlier, Pelosi fired two Republicans – Jordan and Rep. Jim Banks from Indiana – from the committee. She did not give specific reasons. But House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff of California told reporters the two men had been selected to be “disruptive and that is not acceptable.”
McCarthy wasted no time and accused Pelosi of presiding over a “mock” political process.
“This is a blatant abuse of power.… Pelosi shattered this institution,” McCarthy said, in an overworked press conference no doubt designed to impress Trump, whom he visited last week to discuss the mid-term electoral strategy.
“I think it’s very clear to the American public that this is a sham, but we’ll make sure we get the real answers,” McCarthy said, promising his own investigation into an insurgency that was a direct result of Trump’s lies. on electoral fraud.
Republicans turned down bipartisan commission deal
Pelosi, who is rarely above politics, shouldn’t be immune to criticism. She could have acted more quickly after January 6 to set up a bipartisan investigation into the attack. Perhaps if she had kept Jordan and Banks on the select committee, she could have retained a minimum of bipartisan respect for her final conclusions.
Former Ohio Governor John Kasich, who is now a CNN political commentator, said he would have preferred Pelosi to keep Jordan on the panel to make his final conclusions more credible – even if he caused disruption . Although he added that Republican lawmakers should be ashamed of rhetoric that “bordered on the arsonist.”
Republicans say Pelosi abused his power by refusing to allow the minority to select their own members for an official congressional committee. But Democrats stress that they have made repeated concessions to the GOP on the composition of a bipartisan and independent commission modeled on the inquiry into the attacks of September 11, 2001.
McCarthy wasn’t the only Republican leader to make political calculations that required covering up Trump’s abuses of power. The GOP’s most searing statement came from the party’s No.3 House leader, Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, who was once considered a moderate but whose loyalty to Trump propelled her to star status. of the GOP.
“Nancy Pelosi is a radical authoritarian Speaker of the House,” Stefanik said in a statement.
“This commission is an absolute sham and has been a disgrace from the start; no amount of slobbering apologies from the mainstream media will change that,” Stefanik wrote, even adopting the Trumpian vernacular.
“She is afraid the American people will find out the truth that her failed leadership and the flagrant mismanagement of the U.S. Capitol led to the tragic events of that day,” Stefanik said, transferring the guilt from Trump to the speaker.
Stefanik’s response underscored why she was able to replace the former incumbent, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, whose January 6 truth and grassroots democracy defense made her an outcast at the within the House GOP.
Cheney was appointed to the committee by Pelosi, despite her deeply conservative beliefs, and said she supported the speaker’s decision to reject McCarthy’s selection of Banks and Jordan. She will now be the only Republican on the panel.
“She accepted three more. She opposed two. One may be a material witness to the events leading up to this day, leading up to January 6. The other … disqualified by his words especially in the last 24 hours, showing that he does not take this seriously, “said Cheney.
In recent days, Jordan has described the select committee as a mere excuse to target Trump. And Banks described it after being chosen by the GOP leader as an attempt to “slander the Tories and justify the authoritarian left agenda.”
Cheney also widened his rift with McCarthy, suggesting he was unfit to serve as president if Republicans returned to the House.
“I think anyone who would be third in the presidency has to demonstrate a commitment to the Constitution and a commitment to the rule of law and Minority Leader McCarthy has not,” Cheney said.