Head of the Cannes jury Jane Campion made her name portraying complex, strong-willed female protagonists and knows from first-hand experience that the festival is a place where careers are made. The New Zealand director, the only woman ever to win the…
There's been a ton of reporting and analysis on Bob Woodward and Robert Costa's new book, "Peril", most of it focusing on the final days of the Trump administration — which by all accounts were even more of a chaotic mess than we could see from the outside (and we saw plenty). The bizarre antics from the president and his henchmen regarding the election results were unprecedented and continue to this day.
But one of the most chilling quotes from the book that I've seen so far comes from this review of the book by history professor Eric Rauchway in the Washington Post. As we knew, Vice President Mike Pence tried every way he could to come up with a rationale to do Trump's bidding and refuse to ceremonially confirm the electoral count in the joint session of Congress on January 6th. On that morning, before the fateful rally that inspired the insurrection, Pence came to the White House to reluctantly tell his boss that he just didn't have the power to do that under the Constitution:
Gesturing at some of his supporters already gathered and shouting outside the White House, Trump asked, "Well, what if these people say you do?
When Pence demurred again, Trump mused, "wouldn't it almost be cool to have that power?"
As Rauchway points out, "the president was willing to find authority in the mob if he lacked it in the law." It's entirely possible that if the mob had succeeded in finding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or the vice president or had been able to corner some of those elected officials in the Capitol that day, Trump would have gone along with it. All the recent books, including "Peril" have Trump watching the event unfold and being unmoved by exhortations to step in from everyone from his daughter Ivanka to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to whom he reportedly said, "well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are."
That comment about the mob conferring the power to overturn the election results got me thinking about the timeline on Jan. 6 and it occurs to me that Trump only issued his pathetic video in which he said he loved the gathered rioters but implored them to go on home once it became clear that all the officials had gotten away safely and there was no longer any chance his supporters would succeed in finding them. He had waited to see if they could physically force the Congress to overturn the election.
As predicted, the "Justice forJ6" rally last Saturday was a non-event. More media showed up than protesters, largely because the organizer has no talent for organizing and the word on all right-wing social media was that the FBI was going to arrest everyone. As I noted earlier, Trump himself said it was a "set-up." But in case anyone wondered where he stood on the premise of this rally, which is that the federal authorities are unjustly holding peaceful protesters as political prisoners, he left no doubt when he issued his statement in solidarity. "Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election. In addition to everything else, it has proven conclusively that we are a two-tiered system of justice."
ABC's Jonathan Karl reported on "This Week" that when he's interviewed Trump for his new book, it's clear that Trump has no regrets:
I was absolutely dumbfounded at how fondly he looks back on January 6th. He thinks it was a great day. He thinks it was one of the greatest days of his time in politics.
Trump is still flouting the law and openly condoning the violent insurrection. As Rauchway said, he "finds authority in the mob." He's always engaged in lurid rhetoric and has nudged his followers and police to beat protesters and the like. But starting with his calls to "liberate" states that were trying to mitigate the spread of the pandemic, he has been backing insurrectionist and vigilante activity. And his followers are listening.
We've seen threats and intimidation against government workers and public health officials for months. Congressional representatives are under constant threat having to hire private security and bodyguards. We are starting to see violence in everyday interactions between local officials and their constituents. School board meetings have become fraught with locals citizens yelling at officials that they know where they live and they will find them. Last week GOP Congressman Anthony Gonzales announced that he would not run for reelection in Ohio because ever since he voted to impeach Donald Trump after the insurrection he and his family have needed security due of the risk of violence from Trump supporters. Trump quickly put out a statement indicating his elation at the success of that intimidation:
The 9 he refers to are the other Republicans who voted to impeach him. He is using the "authority of the mob" to chase his perceived enemies in the GOP out of politics and to send a message to all the other Republicans that they will be subject to the same treatment if they cross him.
All the recent polls show Trump is as popular as ever with Republicans. His obsessive attention to his Big Lie seems to have hardened their attitudes with more of them believing he was cheated than believed it last January. The vast majority of his voters have lost faith in the electoral system to deliver a fair result and will likely not accept anything but a victory going forward, particularly if Donald Trump is on the ballot.
Rauchway's review of "Peril" features an unexpected insight into President Biden's view of Trumpism. He writes:
Biden regards the -ism, not the man, as the real threat; Trump put the nation in peril because he evoked and organized a darkness that was already there.
That darkness isn't going away. It is energized and stimulated by the strong threat of violence that is running through our politics. Like it's leader Trump, it sees the "authority in the mob" as the best way to preserve its dominance in a culture it believes is slipping away. Biden is right that Trump is not the real threat. The threat is the violent beast he has unleashed and there isn't any obvious way to put it back in its cage.
Sarasota, Florida, has emerged as the nexus for a wide ranging collection of conspiracy theorists.
Donald Trump's first national security adviser Michael Flynn, an influential figure in the QAnon conspiracy world, lives nearby in Englewood, and other ardent supporters of the twice-impeached one-term president call Sarasota County home, reported Vice.
"Sarasota County has somehow become the Conspiracy Capital of the World," wrote Sarasota Herald Tribune columnist Chris Anderson.
Overstock.com founder and election conspiracist Patrick Byrne recently bought six properties at inflated prices in the county, where the Cyber Ninjas digital firm is headquartered, and Turning Point USA head Charlie Kirk, state Sen. Joe Gruthers and conspiracy theorist Maria Zack also live there.
Emboldened local conservatives have recently launched campaigns against critical race theory and mask mandates in the county's school districts, and they're seeking to disrupt the process for local elections.
Byrne, who worked with Trump in an effort to overturn his 2020 loss, is backing a campaign by a group called Defend Our Union, which is led by Women for Trump Florida founder Caroline Wetheringon, for a voter canvass to prove election fraud in Sarasota County.
Wetherington's group has been working with conspiracy theorist Liz Harris, who recently conducted an unofficial canvass in Maricopa County, Arizona, and local residents have complained that people have been showing up unannounced at their homes and demanding voter information.
It's not clear whether Defend Our Union is linked to those visits, and the group's representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
Republicans should support Marjorie Taylor Greene's primary challenger just as enthusiastically as Democrats: op-ed
Jennifer Strahan, a businesswoman from Georgia, recently announced that she plans to primary Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Writing for the conservative Washington Examiner this Monday, Tom Joyce contends that Republicans, Democrats, and independents should all support her campaign "so they can end Greene's tenure in Congress."
"Outside of being a hardcore anti-vaxxer — an ugly, yet growing phenomenon in the Republican Party — Greene is a conspiracy theorist and an embarrassment to Congress," Joyce writes. "She has expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory, calling the supposed leader of the movement, "Q," a patriot who is "worth listening to." She has questioned whether or not a plane flew into the Pentagon on 9/11 , denies the results of the 2020 presidential election , thinks the Parkland school shooting was a false flag , has talked about "Jewish space lasers," and compared mask mandates amid the coronavirus pandemic to the Holocaust."
Joyce goes on to write that even if someone agrees with Greene's opinions, "her messaging is awful, ineffective, and off-putting to the average person," making her undeserving of being a member of Congress.
"Someone with the political views of Stacey Abrams won't swoop into power here. However, even people who don't like the views Strahan professes should admit that she is likely an upgrade over what the district has now."
Read the full op-ed over at the Washington Examiner.
Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Raw Story Investigates and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.
$95 / year — Just $7.91/month
I want to Support More
$14.99 per month