Even the NY Post

The truth is pretty obvious.

Source: The White House

Even the editorial board of the newspaper that constantly flogs Hunter Biden stories finds Trump’s behavior during the attacks on the US Capitol to be disqualifying: Trump’s silence on Jan. 6 is damning.

But as a matter of principle, as a matter of character, Trump has proven himself unworthy to be this country’s chief executive again.

I will note that this was obvious on January 6, 2021, and didn’t need a public hearing to prove it, but better late than never. Indeed, his behavior that day was and is damning. This is the point I was trying to make yesterday: it is easy to understand, and very, very hard to defend Trump’s inaction that day (and the actions he did engage in, such as his tweet about Pence, with the editorial notes as well, make it all the worse).

I know we have seen this pattern before (see, e.g., the Access Hollywood tape) where it seemed like allies were turning on him only to have him win out. Still, the more that friendly outlets recognize and acknowledge the truth, the better (it certainly beats the opposite).

And really, to the point I was trying to make in the comment section: if these hearings are going to make a difference, it will be because they produce a number of simple, easily understandable/easily digestible bites, not because they make an overarching grand argument (although they have done that, too).

I almost hate to ask the defenders-who-lurk: but what possible defense is there for his lack of action? I, personally, do not see a potential defense for his silence during those 187 minutes. He knew that he could affect the behavior of that crowd, and he purposefully did nothing. He is culpable for that, regardless of anything else.

I would note that if he thought it was ANTIFA, as some of the theories go, he would have acted. He did not.

If he thought it was Deep State actors, he would have acted. He did not.

If he had no idea who they were, he would have acted. And yet, he did not.

In terms of his willingness to use force in these situations, may I remind us all that he ordered tear gas attacks on peaceful protestors so that he could have a photo-op. He is no shrinking violet.

He knew good and well what was obvious: they were his supporters (and as the evidence shows, his staff, friends, and media allies knew it, too). He did not act. Why? Because they were doing what he wanted them to do. Which was, for those keeping score at home, physically assaulting the US Captiol building, disrupting a constitutional process, and causing member of Congress to literally run for their lives.

Let me remind us of the Pence-related tweet in the middle of it all as framed by the editorial board of the NY Post:

To his eternal shame, as appalled aides implored him to publicly call on his followers to go home, he instead further fanned the flames by tweeting: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”

He knew what he was doing and that the rioters would get the message.

Moreover, via the Hill back in 2021 (and this was raised again in the hearings this week) noted:

CNN on Friday reported the details of the expletive-filled call between Trump and McCarthy, citing Republicans who were briefed on the call. 

The news outlet reported that McCarthy pressed Trump to call off the riot, and they ended up in a shouting match.

According to the lawmakers, Trump said, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”

He knew what that crowd wanted and he wanted it too.

And the Post is correct: he should never be president again. No one who behaved as he did that day should ever be anywhere near the levers of power. Period.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2022, US Politics, , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Mikey says:

    It’s not just the New York Post. This was on the WSJ editorial page at the same time.

    The President Who Stood Still on Jan. 6

    Looks like Clan Murdoch is throwing in with DeSantis.

    2
  2. Lounsbury says:

    @Mikey: Murdoch père and L. Murdoch fils. The other two of majority are known to have materially different political sentiments, although sans Foxish voting majority.

    1
  3. Michael Reynolds says:

    The lag time for conservative newspapers recognizing the obvious fact that Trump is a worthless POS is apparently about eight years. Every rational observer knew in 2015 when he announced that Trump was a head case who had no business near the levers of power. Now, in mid 2022, conservatives are slowly starting to catch up.

    To put it in the academic terms my fellow Dems favor, if we’re in tenth grade, conservatives are in second. Still working those board books: A is for Apple.

    Of course this is the way it goes with conservatives generally. They are as a group intellectually delayed, emotionally stunted and morally depraved, but by golly, give them a year or eight or twenty and eventually – once their grift starts to bring in fewer donations – and they discover enlightenment while of course maintaining that those damn liberals were still wrong. Somehow.

    I could list 20 issues which conservatives freaked out over, fleeced the suckers, and eventually accepted. One might think they’d learn that liberals show a very strong tendency to be right. But then, what of the all-important grift? If they aren’t going to fleece the suckers, who will?

    Unlike many quick-to-surrender Dems I thought the hearings might prove impossible to ignore. I wouldn’t say I was optimistic, but I thought it was premature to write them off. But honestly I never imagined they’d be as tight, as disciplined and as effective as they’ve been.

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  4. Kingdaddy says:

    No one who behaved as he did that day should ever be anywhere near the levers of power. Period.

    Cue the excuse generators. It was his advisors! They’re all liars! And her emails!

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  5. Kathy says:

    I see no mystery here. Very few criminals call the cops on their accomplices.

    8
  6. Jen says:

    I will note that this was obvious on January 6, 2021

    Or, Jan. 20, 2017.

    Or really, multiple times, days/weeks/months prior, during the campaign. He was never, ever fit for office.

    I’ve found the WSJ’s nonsense particularly galling. From people who should know better, they, like so many spineless, horrible Republicans, were willing to look the other way in order to get what they wanted.

    I guess better late than never and if it prevents this delusional, horrible person from running again, well, thank heaven for small favors.

    4
  7. Lounsbury says:

    @Michael Reynolds: in re Efficiency and focus: Madame Cheney. I have had in the past personal exposure to her, prior to her congressional career. And it was my sense, she knows and has the instinct of a knife-fighter. Credit to the Democrats leadership as well for knowing they were putting on a proper TV show with a story arc.

    I woudl rather say that this sort of execution shows that in fact proper good communication (not ideas and messaging, but marketing and TVesque story spin à la Fox in fact) well done are things that can change directions, even if Academic abstraction would have one self-defeating oneself in the face of forecasted patterns and inevitabilities.

  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Lounsbury:
    As to story arc they brought in a ringer.

    3
  9. senyordave says:

    Both papers (does the NYP actually qualify as a newspaper?) knew it from day one. They only print it now because they have decided that he’ll never be near the levers of power again. If somehow Trump became POTUS they would re-invent history. “We never said anything like that!”

    4
  10. Jen says:

    Does anyone else get the sense that some of this sudden realization that Trump is not fit for office is due to the likelihood that he may run again? In other words, a “ugh, we stood by this clown but no we are not doing so again”-type thing?

    7
  11. Scott F. says:

    As this question on policy and politicians has been resonant of late for me, I find myself asking:

    Does Trump at the top of the ticket strengthen or weaken the Republicans as they continue to advocate for sedition and authoritarianism?

    It’s not clear to me, but for the big picture it is an important question to ask.

    2
  12. MarkedMan says:

    Steven, I admire your pluck in trying to change minds, and that makes me hope that I am wrong and you are right about the possibility of doing so. Now, don’t get me wrong – I think millions of Trump supporters are leaving him and your arguments would help sway some. But the ones who could be swayed aren’t going to be exposed to these arguments because they aren’t on this forum. Oh sure, there are some Trump supporters that lurk here quite regularly and a few that even pipe up now and again. But almost by definition people who are coming to this forum are actively engaged. Anyone like that who still supports Trump is beyond reach.

    I suppose I could share this post with some of my low engagement friends who are Trump supporters but I am unlikely to bother. You can convince a low engagement person of something like this, but they are really not that interested in politics and the convincing will wear off shortly and, eventually, they will be susceptible to the next convincer. (This is not to say these people are blockheads, they just care about lots of other things much, much more than politics.)

    3
  13. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    That was an excellent move on their part.

    7
  14. gVOR08 says:

    I doubt the Murdochs and whoever runs the NY Post ever really had any illusions about Trump. They didn’t even care about anti abortion judges. They cared that an R would cut their taxes. And they cared that he had won the nomination, that he had great sway over the rubes, and that covering him helped them peddle papers. If they’re bailing now it’s not because they had a revaluation about his character, it’s because they think he’s become a loser. (Yay, committee!) They are finely tuned weathervanes. That the rats are leaving Trump’s sinking ship is a good sign. But it ain’t just Trump. I’ll be waiting to see if they swing to DeSantis.

    3
  15. gVOR08 says:

    @gVOR08: No edit. I swear I typed “revelation”.

  16. Argon says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    Cue the excuse generators. It was his advisors! They’re all liars! And her emails!

    Yep, like The American Conservative?

    1
  17. Jay L Gischer says:

    @MarkedMan: You may be right. It may be that nobody who reads this blog is going to be swayed or needs to be swayed. But you might not be. I’ve seen a few Trumpers post here in a way that makes me wonder about why they posted here at all. Why are they reading this? Why are they posting those sorts of comments?

    There are dozens of reasons, but one might be along the lines of “I need to convince these people, why can’t I convince these people?” Which is the sort of questioning that eventually wears down support.

    1
  18. Gustopher says:

    They just want to switch horses, not change the route.

    Trump may be damaged but there are friendlier authoritarians who are just as forceful but not as boorish. De Santis, Abbott… hey, have you noticed how Presidential Youngkin looks?

    When they start denouncing the Big Lie and the Big Liars, I’ll begin to think they are interested in anything other than a cosmetic change.

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  19. @MarkedMan: Ultimately I write what I want and can only hope it makes it to someone who finds it useful, for whatever reason. What else can I do? It’s what a writer does, yes? If I only wrote what was guaranteed to make an impact, I suspect I wouldn’t write.

    Beyond that, I do know that there are far more visitors to the site on a given day than there are commenters. So, who knows what impact a given post might have?

    6
  20. GregM says:

    @MarkedMan:
    I am a big Trump supporter. I am on this website because I want to learn how you all think and process information. It amazes me that you all do not acknowledge that Trump offered thousands of troops to Nancy Pelosi on the days prior to January 6th. He also encouraged they march “peacefully”. All I see in this article is a focus on 187 minutes of “inaction”. If that is all you have as an argument, that is laughable.

    1
  21. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Fair enough. Like I said, I hope it has an effect. Real Life is thousands of small steps. Only in TV land does all the tedious work take place off screen

    1
  22. GregM says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    I am a pro Trump person. This site blocks my posts. Let’s see if this get through.

    1
  23. @GregM: First time commenters automatically go into moderation until approved. After that, they shouldn’t be caught by the filter.

    3
  24. @GregM: There is an awful lot that could be said, but I will ask a simple question: what is the justification of Trump not going on TV to try and call off the violence? Why just watch TV?

    There was no attempt at a law enforcement reaction by Trump.

    There was no attempt to call off his supporters.

    What’s your defense of his inaction?

    See also: Trump, Article II, and January 6, 2021.

    Also, I would note that the NY Post is a pro-Trump paper.

    12
  25. Jax says:

    @GregM: Why didn’t Trump call out those thousands of National Guard troops as soon as he saw broken glass and a mob at the Capitol? I mean, he’s the effing President of the United States of America. All he had to do was pick up the phone. Why is it Nancy Pelosi’s fault?

    10
  26. CSK says:

    @GregM:
    How do you justify Trump’s comment that Mike Pence deserved to be hanged?

    6
  27. Mikey says:

    @GregM: What’s “laughable” is your apparent refusal to understand these events are completely irrelevant to what Trump actually did on January 6. It doesn’t matter if he offered “thousands of troops” to Pelosi, it doesn’t matter if he told his worshipers to march “peacefully,” what matters is what actually happened and what he did (or didn’t) do. He observed the ACTUAL EVENTS of that day and did fuck-all for over three hours.

    And we know why. He wanted the assault to continue because he wanted the electoral vote count delayed long enough to put the rest of his plan to steal the election into effect. Fortunately for America, VP Pence still retained sufficient honor to refuse to play along, for which Trump’s supporters wanted to kill him.

    So stop trying to excuse Trump. It won’t work here.

    10
  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: No. Lots of people in the conservative sphere and infotainment complex were saying FG had no business running…

    …until he won the primary. It’ll go the same this time.

  29. For the record, I just spammed a new commenter who led off with insults and nothing more.

    That’s how it works. If you want to have a conversation, welcome to the site. If you want to just sling insults, adios muchacho.

    1
  30. dazedandconfused says:

    @GregM:

    Greg M.

    See Liz Cheney on FOX News Sunday today for that thousands of troops supposedly offered to Pelosi. There was testimony under oath from Miller that no such offer was ever made. Somebody may have lied to you about that.

    4
  31. Jax says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I mean, like….I want to see what the jerk wrote, but I don’t want to at the same time…. 😛 😛

  32. Matt Bernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    For the record, I just spammed a new commenter who led off with insults and nothing more.

    For a bit more background details on comments, Steven, James, and I rarely if ever pull posts (send them to the SPAM folder). Perhaps it happens once or twice a week on average. And often the posts that get pulled are from folks who were given multiple warnings or directly asked to leave the party a while ago.

    To Greg’s accusation, we don’t have any ban on Trump supporters. Simply not very many post here. Perhaps that’s because the site’s readership among those supporters has gone down over the last four years. Or, most likely, they are just like the majority of people who come and read the posts and don’t bother to comment.