Trump’s Flailing, Angry Desperation on Jan. 6th
Plus, Texas Republicans Get Deadly Serious About Secession
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WILLIAM SALETAN: Trump’s Flailing, Angry Desperation on Jan. 6th.
The January 6th hearings have pursued several questions: What crimes were committed in the plot to overturn the 2020 election? Could Donald Trump be prosecuted? What laws should be changed to prevent a recurrence? But the hearings have also illuminated the former president’s sheer moral pathology. We knew he was a narcissist. But with each revelation, we’re learning the depth of his indifference to others.
Consider four moments from Jan. 6th, outlined in Tuesday’s testimony from former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.
CASEY MICHEL: Texas Republicans Get Deadly Serious About Secession.
You may have seen headlines earlier this month about how the Republican Party of Texas, in its biennial convention with thousands of delegates from across the state, approved a new platform that declared homosexuality an “abnormal lifestyle choice” and said Joe Biden was “not legitimately elected” president. The Texas GOP platform is routinely viewed as a hodgepodge of far-right fantasies, and these planks do nothing to contradict that verdict.
But another plank deserves more attention than it has received, because presents a historic break—and points to the direction for the Trumpist right moving forward. With its new platform, the Texas Republican Party has formally endorsed a referendum on the state seceding from the United States.
The federal government, the platform claims, “has impaired our right of local self-government.” Given that Texas supposedly “retains the right to secede from the United States,” the “Texas Legislature should be called upon to pass a referendum” on secession. Nor would such a referendum be an abstract exercise. Instead, the Republican Party of Texas believes that such a referendum should be held next year, with the Texas legislature “pass[ing a] bill in its next session requiring a referendum in the 2023 general election.”
Trump doesn’t care that Jan. 6 was an assault on democracy and the Constitution. He was only irked that his own staff thwarted his made-for-TV coup. Plus, Liz Cheney’s speech, SCOTUS’ impact on the midterms, and the Democrats’ missing street fighting gene. Tim O’Brien joins Charlie Sykes today.
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Eric and Eliot return with special guest David Kramer, the Managing Director of Global Policy at the George W. Bush Institute and former Assistant Secretary of State, who incidentally has just been sanctioned by the Russian government. They discuss the status of the war in Ukraine, the nature of the Russian regime, the prospects for change in Russia, the economic state of the war, and much more.
It’s been a wild week for news. Sarah, Will, and Jonathan will attempt to make sense of it all starting at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight for this edition of Thursday Night Bulwark. But it’s only for Bulwark+ members.
MONA CHAREN: Cassidy Hutchinson Is a Heroine.
When Trump first crashed into American politics in 2015, it required only political courage to oppose him. Yet one after another, the leading figures of the GOP, from Chris Christie to Jeff Sessions to Ted Cruz, snapped like dry twigs under his boots. And after the elected leaders, the intellectual leaders of the conservative movement fell into line behind the sociopath as well, explaining that they had no choice because, well, Antifa burned buildings and AOC wanted to socialize the economy.
By 2020, it required more than political courage to stand up to Trump—it required physical courage. Adam Kinzinger has received death threats not just against himself, but against his wife and 5 month-old baby. Tim Rice, who voted in favor of Trump’s second impeachment, received so many death threats that his chief of staff took to sending some directly to the police and reserving others for the congressman’s perusal. (Rice recently lost his primary to a Trump loyalist). So many election workers have been threatened by Trump goons (850 according to Reuters) that three states are considering legislation to protect them.
This is the world that every Republican and conservative brought us by failing to show the minimal amount of integrity. Now they are shamed by the shining example of a 26 year-old woman with her life ahead of her, with no motive but love of country, and no power except that which comes from a clear conscience.
ADDISON DEL MASTRO: The Late, Great Chinese Buffet.
I had seen a ghost. Not of a deceased relative, but the ghost of once-fresh lo mein and sesame chicken. I should have turned around and walked the other way, but I piled my plate high instead.
This encounter took place during a visit to one of my erstwhile favorite all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets in the Washington, D.C. metro area; I had stopped by more than a year after it reopened following a long COVID shutdown. Being a stickler for detail might make more sense in a fine dining context than that of all-you-can-eat Americanized Chinese food, but the devil really is in the details.
We might survey the essential features starting in the entryway: The front counter is a little messy. There’s no salmon on the sushi tray, leaving just tilapia and alarmingly pink tuna. (Broiled eel? Forget about it.) You feel guilty making a plate at the hibachi bar, since it no longer has a dedicated grill cook. The dishes are mostly the same, but the flavors are all a bit muted, mixed up, and heading in the direction of off. The oysters are gone too, which—given the state of the rest of the food—is a blessing in disguise.
And the price. It used to be $13 or $14; now it’s $18 or $19. Between the decline in quality and the increase in price, it feels like you’re paying double. There are a lot of meals that can be had for $20, and the buffet, once a deal that inspired childlike excitement, is now at the lower end of that list—hardly exciting at all.
“Guardiac Kids”… I tuned into the Guardians game last night to watch us take a blown 3-0 lead into extra innings, and then, go down by three runs. It was probably over. But our dulcet radio announcer, the great Tom Hamilton, is nearing retirement, so I figured I’d spend some time listening to Tom.
In the early aughts, when I was in college, I’d spring every year for the MLB.TV audio package, an affordable $20 just to listen to Hammy, even if at night I could get WTAM 1100 booming its 50,000 watts all the way from Cleveland to Saint Louis. (20 years later, it’s still $20 a year.)
And the division-leading Twins were about to sink us again. Then, for those who stayed, a special treat happened. The Guardians came back. Good thing Tito Francona put on a batting helmet for this head butt.
Oh, and we just did it again right now.
Matt Labash: How Mark Meadows betrayed his country with an ass-kiss
Bloomberg Editorial: Trump Knew Exactly What He Was Doing on Jan. 6.
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. History made today at the court, as the first black female justice was sworn in.
B1G news… USC and UCLA to join… The Big Ten?!
The MAGA war on Cassidy Hutchinson…
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