On Friday, writing for The New York Times, conservative National Review writer Kevin Williamson outlined how Republicans are still trying to execute former President Donald Trump's coup attempt — and how the Capitol attack on January 6 was only the beginning of the effort.
"As the Republican Party tries to make up its mind between wishing away the events of Jan. 6 or celebrating them, one thing should be clear to conservatives estranged from the party: We can't go home again," wrote Williamson. "The attempted coup's foot soldiers have dug themselves in at state legislatures. For example, last week in Florida State Representative Anthony Sabatini introduced a draft of legislation that would require an audit of the 2020 general election in the state's largest (typically Democratic-heavy) counties, suggesting without basis that it may show that these areas cheated to inflate Joe Biden's vote count."
Meanwhile, noted Williamson, there has been a heavy effort from the GOP to downplay or even valorize the Capitol riot itself.
This began with lawmakers like Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) claiming that the rioters were just like a "normal tourist visit" — and now, wrote Williamson, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) baselessly describes the handful of rioters denied pretrial release "political prisoners."
"The Trump administration was grotesque in its cruelty and incompetence. But without the coup attempt, it might have been possible to work out a modus vivendi between anti-Trump conservatives and Mr. Trump's right-wing nationalist-populists," concluded Williamson. "But there isn't really any middle ground on overthrowing the government. And that is what Mr. Trump and his allies were up to in 2020, through both violent and nonviolent means — and continue to be up to today. When it comes to a coup, you're either in or you're out. The Republican Party is leaning pretty strongly toward in."
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