A Question for Loyal Trump Supporters
... after all we know now.
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Whatever you think about the House Jan. 6 hearings, one thing is clear: On that day, and before, President Trump’s behavior was reckless. Whatever crime he may or may not be charged with, he was guilty of egging on the mob that stormed the Capitol —and he was also guilty of dereliction of duty as he stood by for hours and did absolutely nothing to stop the riot.
Of course, Trump’s most loyal fans, the ones who wouldn’t abandon him if he really did shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue (as he once boasted), think the hearings were a sham from start to finish. One of their biggest gripes is that only one side — the anti-Trump side — got to speak, and that there was no cross-examination from GOP congressman who would present “the other side.”
What “the other side” is escapes me, but let’s deal with the argument that Trump supporters didn’t get to tell their story. There’s a reason for that.
As Rep. Liz Cheney explained it last week during the last public hearing, “More than 30 witnesses in our investigation have invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.” Which means they could have sworn to tell the truth and then given Mr. Trump’s side of the story. But they chose instead to remain silent.
Roger Stone, “another Trump flunkie who also took the Fifth,” as the Wall Street Journal put it, on November 2, one day before the election said: “I say f— the voting, let’s get right to the violence.”
Watching the hearing on television only confirmed my decision not to vote for Donald Trump either in 2016 or 2020. I sat out both elections, at least when it came to voting for president. It was clear to me that the man was chronically dishonest and didn’t have the character to lead a great country like ours.
But I understand why so many Americans chose Trump over Hillary Clinton. He was something new, someone who might “drain the swamp.” And as unlikable as some voters found him, they found Hillary even more unlikable.
I even understand why — after four years of chaos — they voted for him again in 2020. Four years earlier they said he was better than Hillary — now they were saying he’s better than Joe.
But I still hear the argument: that if he runs again, they’ll vote for him again. And again for the same reason: that he’s better than Joe or whoever the Democrats put up.
So let me ask those people a few questions:
What has Joe Biden done that’s worse than what Donald Trump has done?
Is Joe Biden’s failure to secure our southern border — bad as that is — worse than Donald Trump telling an angry mob bent on violence that he really won the presidential election and that Democrats rigged the whole thing?
Is Joe Biden’s failure to confront the violence plaguing American cities — most of them run by fellow Democrats — is that worse than Donald Trump’s (a president’s first ever) attempt to stay in office even after he lost?
Are President Biden’s policies, which arguably have led to higher gasoline prices, and higher prices on all sorts of other necessities, worse than Donald Trump’s (thankfully failed) attempt to stop the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next?
I understand why Republicans don’t like Democrats. I understand that many on the right believe liberals and progressives embrace policies that are harmful to our country. But what’s more harmful than trying to put a stake through the heart of American democracy, something Donald Trump tried to do, whether he thinks so or not?
In testimony played last week, we learned that former White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah Griffin said that about a week after Joe Biden’s victory, “I popped into the Oval just to, like, give the President the headlines and see how he was doing, and he was looking at the TV, and he said, ‘Can you believe I lost to this effing guy?’”
Despite that, Mr. Trump still tried to get his vice president, Mike Pence, to stop the Electoral College count. And he tweeted a call for a rally on Jan. 6 which the outgoing president said “will be wild!”
It was that, and a lot more, mainly because Donald Trump riled up the crowd, told them more lies about the “stolen election”, and then sat back and watched the riot unfold in real time on TV — and did nothing for hours to stop it. If a soldier was derelict in his duty he might wind up behind bars. But somehow the commander-in-chief is held to a lower standard? Really?
So let me repeat my question: As bad as Joe Biden is as president — and absolutely nothing I say here is a defense of him or the way he’s doing his job — what has he done that is worse than trying to stay in office after losing an election? What is worse than attempting to be the first president in our entire history who tried to stop the orderly and peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next — a bedrock of American democracy?