Liberals & progressives & general lefties have been screaming for years that Trump is unfit for office and that he has openly said and done things for years that should have disqualified him from serious consideration in 2016, much less the presidency over the last 4 years. Sometimes we feel like Cassandras, doomed to be disbelieved even as we tell the truth about our country’s inevitable fate.
But Republicans, too, warned the country. Nearly unanimously when Trump first entered the race the people in power in the GOP denounced him. They even compared Trump and his base to the No-Nothings of the 1850s who rioted in the capital and destroyed marble meant to finish the Washington Monument. Lindsey Graham famously declared that the GOP “will be destroyed” if they nominated Trump. “And we will deserve it,” he concluded.
But of course we know that Graham has been completely servile to Trump while the Schmuck a l’Orange held power. NBC News writer Benjy Sarlin documents this phenomenon of Republicans clear awareness of just how bad, authoritarian, malicious and mendacious Trump was and would be, paired with their clear embrace of the man as nominee and president. As Republicans now try to claim that they are distancing themselves from Trump because they have gained information, as they now try to excuse themselves for their support of his lies and hatred by claiming that they simply couldn’t know the threat Trump actually posed, it’s time to look unflinchingly at just how wrong, just how deceitful those defenses are.
The whole piece is worth your time, but here’s a taste anyway:
Cruz, for example, called Trump a “pathological liar” in 2016.
“He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies,” Cruz said at the time. “He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth.”
Cruz had reason to be angry then. Trump had spread outrageous conspiracy theories about the Cruz family, even implying that his father had been involved in the JFK assassination. Trump also refused to concede to Cruz in the 2016 Iowa caucuses, instead claiming his opponent had “illegally” stolen it.
It’s easy to draw a direct line from those complaints by Cruz to the insurrection at the Capitol, just as it is from hundreds of other times Trump made comments undermining elections, demonizing his opponents (and broad groups of Americans) with false claims, and revving his followers up with violent revenge fantasies.
Whatever else you can say about Wednesday’s bloody rampage, it was one of the most overdetermined events in history.