Former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt is wondering why the strategy memo that President Donald Trump's legal adviser crafted to overthrow the government is not a bigger deal.
Revealed in the book Peril by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, the memo outlined a plan for Vice President Mike Pence to stop the congressional acceptance of the Electoral College votes for the 2020 presidential race and throw the election back to GOP state legislatures.
In an exchange on Twitter, Costa and Schmidt noted that Schmidt referred to it as being like the "Zimmermann Telegram," a 1917 secret diplomatic communication that proposed Germany ally with Mexico if the United States got into World War I. Schmidt said he can't understand why it's being ignored or downplayed in the media when it's clearly such a massive concern for the future of the United States.
"The coverage and meaning of the memo have been insufficient, grotesquely so. Winston Churchill wrote about this phenomenon in the Gathering Storm," wrote Schmidt on Monday. "During the opening chapters, he writes about Hitler and the rise of the 'Austrian Corporal.' He writes about the failed 1923 Munich Coup and Hitler's 14-month prison term during which he wrote his ideological treatise 'My Struggle.' Churchill points out that the first sentence of the book declares the necessity of Austria being merged to Germany.
"Churchill writes about the extraordinary gap between Hitler's stated intentions and Allied belief in their sincerity," Schmidt continued. "He records his dismay at French and British political leaders who were surprised that Hitler did exactly what he suggested he would do in clear prose. The willful blindness to danger, the hope that the worst is behind us, turns out to be a very human yearning, one that transits the generations. It has all been laid before us in writing. The one thing we will never ever be able to say honestly, is that we didn't or couldn't see it coming. The enemies of American democracy have been good enough to lay out the plan for us. In writing."
Costa responded, noting that it wasn't just a memo but something that was actually being passed around among officials in the Trump government. It was a "plan" that ultimately ended in the final meeting between the president, vice president and the author of the memo before the vote on Jan. 6.
It was then that Schmidt argued that the government needs to stop for a moment and actually give the "Trump Coup Memo" the attention it's due
"There is no other moment in American history where the revelation of such treachery would not have induced the greatest possible national outrage," said Schmidt. "American democracy is imperfect. That has always been so. There now exists in the public realm, documentary evidence, a written plan to kill it off and replace it with something new. It was written by the president's attorney and presented to the president. Trump took that paper and turned it into a weapon, a poisoned shiv and stuck it into the rib cage of American Democracy. He twisted it, crazed with rage that he had been rejected and repudiated. His Confederates watched or joined in the plotting and the violence."
The result was a violent attack on the legislative branch of government by the president's supporters.