Meet Trump’s Pro-Insurrection “Intellectuals”

Christian Vanderbrouk on how Trumpism’s “intellectual” wing called for it, for weeks. And we should have seen it coming.

Leading The Bulwark…

Meet Trump’s Pro-Insurrection “Intellectuals”

CHRISTIAN VANDERBROUK: We should have known January 6 was coming, because Trumpism’s “intellectual” wing called for it, for weeks.

🎧 On the Pod… 🎧

David Jolly: Why I Might Run

On today’s Bulwark podcast, David Jolly joins Charlie Sykes to discuss his contemplation on running for governor of Florida as an independent, his work with SAM, why he’s working to disrupt the duopoly, and why the GOP of the past is not coming back.

For Bulwark+ Members… 🔐

MORNING SHOTS: The GOP's Brief Prague Spring 🔐

CHARLIE SYKES: I wish I had come up with this analogy, but Jonathan Chait beat me to it. “For a few days, the Republican party appeared to be undergoing a crisis of confidence, if not an outright crack-up,” he writes.

THE SECRET PODCAST: The Future of the GOP Is Here 🔐

Happy day—the Republican party is ready to open Door #2. Show us what they’ve won!

THE TRIAD: Maybe Keep the Filibuster? 🔐

JONATHAN V. LAST: There is no good answer and we should be clear that we're choosing between poisons.

Editor’s note: Most of our content is free at, but we do offer fans of The Bulwark the opportunity to get more podcasts, more newsletters, and our multi-monthly Member livestreams on Zoom. But only if you’re a member.

From The Bulwark Aggregator…

In Today’s Bulwark….

The Case for an Imperfect Solution in Afghanistan

SASHA KASSAM: Ridding the country of the Taliban doesn’t appear to be a reasonable objective. Dividing the country might be the next best option.

Time for Congress to Shape Commerce

RYAN C. BERG, LAURI TÄHTINEN, AND STAN VEUGER: Congress should not buck trade treaties but take initiative in molding future ones.

Jackson’s Out, the Franklins Are In

DANIEL N. GULLOTTA AND KELSA PELLETTIERE: How to understand Joe Biden’s choice of Oval Office art.

Beware the Insurrection Whataboutists

SHIKHA DALMIA: Bogus claims that Trump’s Capitol mob attack was no different from past “liberal” violence.


I hope you had a great weekend… It was as great as I hoped that the first weekend of the Biden presidency would go. I could take my kids to the playground without having to worry about bringing my laptop and keeping up on Slack about the craziest stories of the weekend, made some good food (CanCooker red cream soda ribs), and went to bed at a reasonable hour on Sunday.

Let’s take a look at an update on one of the wildest remaining cases from the Trump diehards. I won’t spoil this for you. And you don’t have to be a lawyer (I’m not!) to enjoy how truly crazy it is.

Rob Portman announces his retirement. The Ohio Republican explained his decision this way:

"It has gotten harder and harder to break through the partisan gridlock and make progress on substantive policy, and that has contributed to my decision," Portman said in a statement. “We live in an increasingly polarized country where members of both parties are being pushed further to the right and further to the left, and that means too few people who are actively looking to find common ground. This is not a new phenomenon, of course, but a problem that has gotten worse over the past few decades."

Wonder where that puts him for an impeachment vote? We will see.

If you needed some good news… The Little Free Library concept is expanding, it seems, to little free art galleries.

Will there be a Trump library? Anthony Clark at Politico says… Don’t count on it.

Meghan McCain may be unaware of what she is railing against. I know this may come to a shock for many, but in making a point on The View she may have heard the word “deprogramming” and taken it a little too personally, as The Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona reports:

What Katie Couric said on Bill Maher:

“It’s really bizarre, isn’t it, when you think about how AWOL so many of these members of Congress have gotten,” she said on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. “But I also think some of them are believing the garbage that they are being fed 24/7 on the internet, by their constituents, and they bought into this ‘Big Lie.’ And the question is how are we going to really almost deprogram these people who have signed up for the cult of Trump.”

How Meghan McCain responded:

“Instead, we’re hearing a lot of language from people like Katie Couric that Republicans like me need to be, quote, ‘deprogrammed,’” she grumbled. “That we’re brainwashed, that there are people who are irredeemable people, and we don’t need to have anything to do with them.”

Couric was talking about the people who believe the “Big Lie” and I guess Meghan missed that context.

The fast food restaurants of the future. The #brands are preparing for the post-COVID future so we don’t end up like Demolition Man and every restaurant is a Taco Bell. Here are their ideas at QSR Magazine.

The three that interest me most are:

  1. “Digital kitchens.” You’re already seeing this with Amazon and Walmart other grocers’ fulfillment. You can save a dying store and turn it into a production or distribution factory.

  2. Mobile-order only lanes. Chick-fil-A and others are ahead of the curve in this respect, given their heavy car footprint. But while not everyone has gone the Checker’s / Rally’s route of double drive throughs, in some places it wraps around the building twice. Rather than focus on parking spaces dedicated to mobile or online orders, give them their own express lane. Smart.

  3. Get rid of dining rooms. Every time I make a certain turn, my twins shout PLAYGROUND because they see a McDonald’s PlayPlace. They’ve never been to one. They probably will, but what was an enticing feature of our youth is likely to be a bit of the past for QSR type places. At least they never ended up in the Hamburglar Prison. Or the Grimace cage.

It’s going to be an interesting new world when we get past COVID and hopefully it will involve less Trump and less Grimace.

Tales of the rich and selfish. This is like Louise Linton flying a private jet to Arizona’s Navajo Nation to jump the line in COVID-19 vaccines. It’s infuriating.

Expect to see more stories like these.

Hungary paid a lobbyist $35K to place pro-Hungary articles. Guess where Dave Reaboi got them placed? (Longtime readers will recall one of my first Bulwark items about him.) It’s unclear whether the Orban government considered Breitbart, The Federalist, and American Greatness a worthwhile investment for the following year to continue investing in.

In case you want to peruse Trump’s old tweets. A perhaps useful tool for journalists and columnists, but somebody archived them all and made them searchable. As our worst former President would often tweet… Enjoy!

The psychology of the 1/6 crowd.

Meet Josh Hawley… The Kansas City Star does a deep dive into his longtime quest to become your next leader.

And to close us out… Larry King’s thoughts and advice on interviewing.

Well, that’s it for me for today. Questions, comments, or deep thoughts? You know how to reach me:

Until tomorrow!