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A Coup on His Resume
Meet the new speaker-designate.
A note for historians (and psychologists):
On October 24, 2023, the former president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, facing 91 felony indictments, spent the day in court listening to his former personal lawyer describe his various financial frauds.
In the morning, he learned that another one of his lawyers, Jenna Ellis, had cut a plea deal in the racketeering case against him; and in the afternoon was told that his former Chief of Staff had been given immunity to testify before a federal grand jury about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
On Earth 2.0, this would have been a bad day for the ex-president.
But in our world, Trump actually had a fabulous day.
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Trump reminded the GOP that he remains the apex predator in the party.
With a single bleat on social media, he shivved the party’s latest House Speaker-designate, Tom Emmer, thus extending the chaos, paralyzing Congress, and reasserting his dominance.
All of Emmer’s attempts to fluff Trump came to naught. His great, unforgivable sin was, of course, his vote to certify the election of Joe Biden.
The significance of this shouldn’t be glossed over:
Henceforth, belief in the Big Lie — and support for Trump’s coup — is THE litmus test for leadership in the GOP. If you don’t have a coup on your resume, don’t bother to apply.
[Rep. Mike] Johnson was involved directly in the campaign to invalidate the election results.
Those efforts include objecting to the certification of the election and playing a key role in getting signatures for an amicus brief in the long-shot Texas lawsuit that sought to overturn the election results in several states.
Johnson tweeted on Nov. 7, 2020, after the election, that he’d personally urged Trump to stay strong.
“The nation is depending upon your resolve,” Johnson said he told Trump. “We must exhaust every available legal remedy to restore Americans’ trust in the fairness of our election system.”
As late as Jan. 6, 2021, before that day’s certification of the election — and the insurrection by Trump’s supporters at the US Capitol — Johnson tweeted, “We MUST fight for election integrity, the Constitution, and the preservation of our republic! It will be my honor to help lead that fight in the Congress today.”
Attached to that tweet was a statement that he said summarized “our position and the legal analysis that supports it.”
This seems worth remembering today: “Trump ally lobbying fellow House Republicans to support Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the election.”
CNN — Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, a close ally of President Donald Trump, sent an email from a personal email account to every House Republican soliciting signatures for an amicus brief in the longshot Texas lawsuit seeking to invalidate electoral college votes from Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. [Emphasis added, because FFS.]
The email said Trump is “anxiously awaiting the final list” to see who signs on to the amicus brief.
The amicus brief is related to an application from Texas to the Supreme Court to start a lawsuit against the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia, the four battleground states President-elect Joe Biden won in the 2020 election.
Historians might also want to bookmark this:
BONUS: For those of you trying to do the math:
The GOP Bought This Ticket
Make sure you read Tim Miller’s piece in today’s Bulwark:” The House Republicans’ Reckoning Was Long Overdue.”
For about a decade and a half now the governing wing of the party has attempted every strategy imaginable to delay handing congressional leadership power to the group of lawmakers who better represent the desires of today’s GOP voters—the erstwhile renegades the late John McCain dubbed “wacko birds.” That group has grown from only a handful of troublemakers to a significant bloc of Congress that’s bolstered by an additional group of “closet normals” who dress in wacko bird costumes for the retweets.
Throughout this period, Republican congressional leaders have taken whatever steps they thought necessary to accommodate and placate these members as long as they could retain what they saw as the real power—leadership posts, committee assignments, big-donor private jet rides—for themselves.
Among the many lowlights of this long-running spectacle of appeasement: engaging in wildly irresponsible brinkmanship, granting plum committee assignments to kooks, submitting to power-sharing arrangements and hosting struggle sessions with the House Freedom Caucus, launching sham impeachment inquiries, holding umpty-nine explicitly political hearings over a deadly embassy attack, flying down to an extremely dated South Florida resort to take degrading pictures with a wannabe authoritarian, defending a drag queen fabulist in their ranks, and, most egregiously, agreeing to be complicit in an attempt to overthrow our democracy to soothe the bruised ego of the man-baby-in-chief.
The Antibodies Resisting the Virus (For Now)
On Tuesday’s podcast, Politico’s Jonathan Martin and I discussed the twilight struggle between the pre-Trump and post-Trump GOP. Last week, the normies managed to put the brakes on MAGA in the House. Plus: B-lister lawyer Jenna Ellis shows her deep loyalty to Trump, and how Biden is ignoring the biggest threat to his reelection.
You can listen to the whole thing here. And check out our latest on YouTube:
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Moral Depravity Update
Guy Benson highlights the bizarre cognitive dissonance:
I just keep staring at these numbers. A slim majority(!) of 18-24 year old Americans say Hamas slaughtering civilians "can be justified by the grievance of Palestinians." Then 62% of the exact same group agree the massacre was "genocidal." Genocidal but justified.
The words and imagery used in SJP’s call to action are nothing short of frightening. Its Instagram account featured a graphic of a paraglider in a clear reference to the means some Hamas terrorists used to infiltrate Israel.
“Today, we witness a historic win for the Palestinian resistance … reminding each of us that total return and liberation to Palestine is near,” the accompanying text stated. “The Palestinian resistance has captured over a dozen settlements surrounding Gaza along with many occupation soldiers and military vehicles. This is what it means to Free Palestine: not just slogans and rallies, but armed confrontation with the oppressors.”
The organization repeated that text in a tool kit it supplied for the action, accompanied by an extra line: “National liberation is near — glory to our resistance, to our martyrs and to our steadfast people.”
1. Don’t Trust the Gaza Health Ministry
For years, news organizations have referred to the health ministry as though it were a medical authority, like the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control. They follow and cite its updates on Facebook, and they often quote its spokesman, Dr. Ashraf al-Qudra.
But if you read the ministry’s Facebook page, you’ll see that its bulletins are full of propaganda and reckless allegations.
The ministry’s first statement about the hospital explosion declared: “The occupation targets the Gaza Baptist Hospital.”* Its second statement, posted an hour later, vowed, “The occupier cannot get away with his crime.” The next day, the ministry called the tragedy “the largest and most violent massacre committed by the criminal Israeli occupation.”
2. Forgiving Jenna Ellis?
She made amends today to the people of Georgia by acknowledging her guilt in aiding and abetting false statements and writings. Earlier this year, she was censured in Colorado for violating her duty as an attorney not to engage in misrepresentations. Her wrongs are being redressed by the appropriate authorities. If she’s to be forgiven, they’re the ones to provide absolution, not us, no?
Ellis and her co-conspirators tried to nullify my vote by overturning the election on preposterously flimsy and conspiratorial pretenses. They would have destroyed my country and ended the American experiment for the sake of making a celebrity game-show host Caesar.
Those wrongs were done to me, personally, and to you. So forgiveness is ours to give or withhold as we see fit, however the Fulton County prosecutor’s office might feel about it.