“There was no insurrection. And to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bald-faced lie. Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures. You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was video from Jan. 6, you’d actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”
So said U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde (GA-9) last week. Asked about those comments, he said his scripted and videotaped words, available online, were taken out of context. Then a photo was released of Clyde desperately barricading the House chamber door.
The congressman apparently didn’t want to meet those orderly tourists.
I watched the MAGA riot unfold live. I was writing a different column that week, but instead I did an abbreviated piece expressing the outrage and revulsion many Americans felt about that disgraceful spectacle.
“Hard to believe any elected official could be this oblivious to reality,” noted Georgia’s Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan of Clyde’s remarks. “It’s this kind of blind ignorance that got our party into this mess to start with.”
Duncan is being kind. It’s not ignorance, it’s a deliberate lie crafted for consumption by right wing media and Clyde’s constituents who, if they saw the appalling video of the siege, are now expected to reject the evidence of their eyes and ears.
It’s what I’ve come to expect from GOP politicians who’ve pledged their allegiance to a failed president, which is the “mess” I assume Duncan refers to.
Yes, it was most definitely a violent insurrection incited by that president, who invited the mob to Washington, promising it would “be wild.” And was it ever. Their actions were an obscene affront to America’s democratic norms, a failed attempt to overturn the results of a free and fair presidential election.
Law enforcement has been arresting many of the tourists thanks to their social media posts bragging about the crimes they committed. They now face serious federal charges and jail time if convicted.
Speaking of mindless attention-seeking, freshman GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14) has been studying ex-President Trump’s playbook: Lie, then double and triple down on your lies and the media will reward you with coverage.
Greene has plenty of time on her hands having been stripped of her committee assignments for conspiracy-mongering and suggesting violence against Democrats is okay. So she’s been inventing ways to make herself relevant. Last week, Greene loudly accosted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) outside the House chamber, accusing her of supporting terrorists. It was behavior that, in any other work setting, would have gotten Greene fired.
AOC says Greene “clearly needs help.” Rep. John Yarmouth (D-KY) told Business Insider, “As far as I can tell, she’s here for all the wrong reasons. She is here just to make a show of herself. She’s here for the theater.”
And doesn’t theater aptly describe the entire Trump presidency? His pugnacious showboating won him a cult, so Greene follows suit, accomplishing next to nothing in Congress beyond making a fool of herself.
Nevertheless, Trump’s grip on the Republican Party tightened when Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) lost her House leadership position, replaced by Trump sycophant Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY). Cheney’s “crime” was declaring Joe Biden the legitimately elected president and then voting to impeach Trump for inciting the insurrection, proving beyond any doubt the truth has no place in today’s GOP.
Our political system has always depended on Democrats and Republicans acting in good faith. For example, we accept election results, even when our party loses. Without good faith, our democracy is severely damaged.
Evidence of democracy under assault can be found right now in Phoenix, Arizona, where state senate Republicans hired an outfit called Cyber Ninjas to conduct a non-binding, unofficial “audit” of Maricopa County’s 2.1 million ballots, which were recounted and certified by the Republican governor acting in good faith.
Cyber Ninjas is owned by a Trump-loving right wing conspiracy theorist. It has zero experience auditing ballots, nor is it certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
“The entire database of Maricopa County in Arizona has been DELETED,” exclaimed Trump in a statement last week.
“I’m literally looking at the database right now,” tweeted Maricopa County’s Republican Recorder Stephen Richer in response. “We can’t indulge these insane lies any longer. As a party. As a state. As a country.”
The county’s Board of Supervisors Chairman, Republican Jack Sellers added Cyber Ninjas is in “way over their heads…This is not funny; this is dangerous.”
“The destructive effect of (Trump’s) behavior – and the willingness of Republican elected officials to indulge, excuse, defend, justify and, in many cases, just roll with it – has taken a devastating toll,” wrote Arizona’s former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake in the Washington Post. “And if my party continues down this path, we will not be fit to govern.”