- This week, we learned definitively that Trump tried to stage a coup.
- We also got another confirmation that there was no meaningful voter fraud in the 2020 election.
- Trump’s allies won’t admit either of these things, they’ll just continue to move the goalposts.
- This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
“LOL nothing matters” has sadly become the political maxim of our time.
Because over the past week, we learned definitively that former President Trump attempted a coup. We also received confirmation for the umpteenth time that there’s absolutely nothing to back up Trump’s false accusation that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Despite all of this clear-as-day-evidence, MAGA media types — who were either willing participants in the attempted coup or mortifying dupes — abjectly refuse to do any soul searching about their role in the degradation of our democracy.
Why not? Because, LOL, nothing matters.
Rather than own up to the grim reality and accept responsibility, Trump’s allies have instead decided to just move the goalposts.
Voter fraud was not a thing in 2020, but Trump’s war on American democracy was
An AP investigation of more than 300 election offices, spread out over the six key battleground states, found about 475 instances of alleged voter fraud that took place during the 2020 election. Many of these cases were misunderstandings that were settled at the time and there’s no reason to believe all (or even most) of the votes were for Biden.
Put simply, the lies former President Donald Trump spread about voter fraud and a “rigged election” are completely baseless. And those craven lies were deployed to foment the assault on the Capitol on January 6th.
Thanks to the bipartisan congressional committee investigating that shameful day, we know that it wasn’t just incidental, Trump was in fact attempting a coup. He aimed to subvert the democratic process. Full stop. And he had help.
A member of Congress apparently texted then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that then-Vice President Mike Pence “should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all.”
We know Meadows agreed with the frantic Trumpists texting him that the president needed to do his part to stop the rioting.
And we know Trump’s coup might have succeeded if Pence had acceded to Trump’s demand that he refuse to certify the election before Congress.
We also are now aware that some of Trump’s closest allies — including Fox News hosts and his own son, Don Jr. — desperately wanted the president to forcefully tell the rabid mob he incited to stand down and stop ransacking the Capitol — and yet, he didn’t.
In the space of just a few hours on January 6th, Fox News host Laura Ingraham went from texting Meadows that the president was “destroying his legacy” to telling her national TV audience that antifa might have been behind the assault on the Capitol.
Responding to critics who noted this striking inconsistency, she noted that she had condemned the attack on the Capitol, which is true. But she also spread misinformation that distracted from the fact that this was a Trump-supporting gang trying to halt the business of Congress.
Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro, previously a reluctant Trumpist turned MAGA hack, said back in September 2020 that “the media” was creating a false narrative that Trump wouldn’t concede the election. “This entire ‘coup’ narrative is a media creation,” Shapiro tweeted.
Fast forward to this week and Shapiro has moved the goalposts into another stadium, tweeting: “Just to get this straight, apparently every Fox News host plus Don Jr. was texting Mark Meadows to tell Trump to talk down the rioters…and this somehow demonstrates a coordinated conspiracy to overthrow the government springing from Fox News and its ilk?”
No, Ben. What this “somehow demonstrates” is that Trump’s allies knew this was a MAGA mob that the president had incited and could calm down if he so chose. It also demonstrates that their subsequent attempts to spin the attack on the Capitol as an unfortunate and inconsequential incident are, to put it kindly, bullshit.
Breitbart’s Joel Pollak tweeted this week: “No one is arguing Trump didn’t have a plan to use what he believed to be legal and constitutional means to stay in office. What the January 6 show trial pretends to prove is that Trump intended to seize power illegally through force. That never happened and I suspect you know it.”
“What he believed to be legal” is the key phrase there. Because Trump thought a lot of illegal and unconstitutional things were perfectly appropriate remedies to losing an election.
It’s a classic partisan hack move — when your position is rendered unconscionable by the revelation of facts, move the goalposts.
They’re either cynical liars or they’re truly in a cult
I get it. It must be an awful feeling to realize you’ve shredded whatever pretense to integrity you once had in defense of a treasonous, amoral clown like Trump.
The first step is admitting you have a problem. Then the healing — and apologies — can begin.
But if you refuse to just “take the L” and instead dig in your heels in defense of the indefensible Dear Leader, you’re in a cult.
Either way, you’re spreading lies, poisoning people’s brains, and contributing to the erosion of American democracy.