Republicans have begun using the word "unity" to justify any manner of things that they don't approve of from Democrats.
Writing for the Huffington Post on Monday, Tara Golshan and Chris D'Angelo cited Sen. John Cornyn's (R-TX) tweet mocking the call for "unity" by claiming that Biden shouldn't allow transgender Americans to serve in the military.
Another "unifying" move by the new Administration? Biden Ends Partial Ban on Transgender Soldiers in U.S. Military https://t.co/DiVXdFnEQ8— Senator John Cornyn (@Senator John Cornyn)1611593288.0
It's unclear how Cornyn thinks that banning transgender people from serving in the military will unify the nation after a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol. He isn't the only one struggling with the concept of "unity" and using it to attack Democratic policies.
"We can treat each other with dignity and respect," said President Joe Biden in his inauguration speech. "We can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature. For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury."
As the GOP-led Lincoln Project explained, "unity" doesn't equate to the minority deciding the policy agenda.
Unity is not submitting to the losing side's position.— The Lincoln Project (@The Lincoln Project)1611592516.0
Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent said in his column last week that the GOP has already begun to twist what the word "unity" means. Instead of agreeing that both parties must come together to fight domestic terrorism, violent extremism, militias and white supremacy, they're turning the word "unity" into being an attack on them.
"The obvious trick is to game the media into saying Biden is already reneging on his unity promise by being divisive," wrote Sargent. "But there's a deeper ploy here. With this new fake outrage fest, Republicans are working to reframe the national debate over how to repair the damage done during Donald Trump's presidency on terms favorable to them."
He explained that the reframing is an effort "to bury their own culpability for the injuries they inflicted by actively enabling Trump and by deliberately harnessing the destructive forces he unleashed toward their own instrumental ends."
"The View's" Meghan McCain did the same thing on Monday's show. Reporter Katie Couric made a comment last week that Trump "cultists" and conspiracy theorists that attacked the U.S. Capitol are going to have to be deprogrammed. McCain twisted the word around to be an attack on all Republicans.
On one hand we’re supposed to “heal and have unity” - on the other were all brainwashed and need to be “deprogramme… https://t.co/DvWLndXpOg— Meghan McCain (@Meghan McCain)1611581188.0
The comment comes after her mother, Cindy McCain, made it clear that there is a difference in traditional Republicanism and the new Trump era after she was censured by the Arizona Republican Party.
It is a high honor to be included in a group of Arizonans who have served our state and our nation so well...and wh… https://t.co/U1TSSrEDSJ— Cindy McCain (@Cindy McCain)1611455872.0
"Republicans now think they can exploit a tendency in press coverage to place the entire onus of 'unity' on Biden," wrote Sargent. "The president promised unity, but he hasn't soothed Republicans, who say he's being divisive. Why can't he deliver unity?"
New York Times reporter Michael Shear fell into the same GOP framing, demanding that White House press secretary Jen Psaki answer when the "unity" would start because the White House hasn't done anything to soothe Republicans.
"There has so far been almost no fig leaf even to the Republican Party," he demanded.
It's the same philosophy that Cornyn repeated Monday morning when he demanded "unity" by denying transgender soldiers to serve in the military.
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) used the same tactic to attack Biden for halting fossil fuel development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Sullivan claimed that the move somehow goes against "healing" the nation, calling the move "divisive."
"It was really ironic that he's talking one thing, one game, over here about unity," he said in a Twitter video. "And the first thing he does is go over to the White House and do just the opposite, and that is alienate a number of people who agree with those [Trump] policies and want to see those policies implemented."
On day one, President Biden signed executive orders to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, rejoin the P… https://t.co/mb31WXUP0f— Buddy Carter (@Buddy Carter)1611249288.0
Former White House adviser Steven Miller also complained that Biden clearly didn't want "unity" if he was nullifying Trump's Muslim travel ban.
Media Matters noted that Fox News has already rejected the call for "unity," because they quickly learned that the term doesn't mean giving a pass to anyone who attempted to overthrow the 2020 election.
Even Karl Rove took the idea to the extreme, claiming falsely that Bien said any member of the Republican Party was a racist or domestic terrorist.
At no point did Biden come remotely close to saying everyone who didn't vote for him was believing in nativism, and… https://t.co/G3Xy2QhsD1— Lis Power (@Lis Power)1611170423.0
But it was former Republican Party chair Michael Steel who clarified where the new GOP victimhood is coming from.
"Republicans are saying, 'We can't do anything with you if you're radioactive with our base, so please don't say anything that makes you radioactive to our base,'" he told NBC News. If Republicans can create examples that Democrats are attacking them and violating Biden's call for "unity," then they can justify refusing to participate in a unified America.
The GOP has been dealing with a far-right faction of their party for over 10 years that alleged the first Black president was illegitimate because he wasn't actually a citizen. There were attacks on his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama, saying that she was secretly a man. There was a five-year attempt by the GOP to prosecute Hillary Clinton for the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi leading to "lock her up" chants that continue to this day. Former President Barack Obama didn't merely endure the typical political mockery for the size of his ears or the way he talked, he was hanged in effigy throughout his eight years in office in states across the country. Comedian Kathy Griffin photographed herself with a severed Trump head and was "canceled" overnight with both sides demanding an apology.
While Biden hasn't clarified specifics about his "unity" call, presumably he meant bringing the country together against violent insurrections against the United States of America. It was something most of the GOP agreed to in wake of the attack on the Capitol.