By Isa Cox
Did… did Liz Cheney just accidentally own herself and the entire Jan. 6 House panel by trying to own team Trump?
Yes. It appears she did.
The Wyoming congresswoman, who I suppose we still have to say is a Republican even though she is no longer considered one by the GOP in her home state, has gone full turncoat since the 2020 election after previously presenting herself as a staunch loyalist to former President Donald Trump.
However, we might say she’s gone full circle in her and the Jan. 6 committee’s ruthless campaign against Mark Meadows, a former congressman who served as Trump’s chief of staff and whom they have recommended to be held in criminal contempt over his refusal to comply with their subpoena.
Cheney just accidentally proved there was no insurrection.
On Monday, The New York Times reported, Cheney read aloud text messages sent to Meadows from Donald Trump Jr. and Fox News hosts Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Brian Kilmeade as the incursion was underway. All of them urgently conveyed the need for the then-president to publicly and firmly condemn the violence as it got out of hand.
In so doing, however, she accidentally revealed that Trump and his supporters were both surprised and concerned by the rioting and that there was a general consensus that it should end.
So, you know, not exactly an insurrection, and more like what we have suspected all along — that a small group of the otherwise peaceful protesters violently barged into the Capitol, followed by less violent, opportunistic Trump supporters who proceeded to mill around the building, taking selfies and videos and perhaps rather misguidedly hoping that the election would be lawfully overturned within the halls of Congress by the lawmakers who had vowed to challenge it that day.
As the messages Cheney revealed indicate, team Trump recognized immediately that this was a terrible event that needed to be stopped and denounced, pronto.
“He’s got to condemn this sh*t ASAP,” Trump Jr. wrote to Meadows, who replied that he was “pushing it hard.”
“We need an Oval address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand,” the younger Trump added in another text.
“Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” Ingraham wrote. “He is destroying his legacy.”
Cheney declared that the text messages “leave no doubt” that “the White House knew exactly what was happening here at the Capitol.”
Yeah, and they also prove that the White House was swiftly setting Trump up to respond, condemn the violence and tell his supporters to go home.
Which he did.
The colloquial accusation against the Trump camp is that the Capitol incursion was a deliberate insurrection attempt on the part of those seeking to overturn the 2020 election.
This was the underlying claim behind the historic second attempt to impeach the former president — that Trump and his allies, in their consternation over the results of the election, sicced their supporters on terrified members of Congress to try to somehow overthrow the government and install him as our great orange emperor (or something).
In reality, Trump and his allies challenged the election lawfully, and several lawmakers issued their objections to the electoral votes on Jan. 6 as they were perfectly free to do, although most recognized that the odds of Biden’s inauguration being halted were pretty slim.
It’s also worth noting that the text messages also undermine Cheney’s claim that it was somehow remarkable that the White House knew what was going on that day, because clearly Trump Jr., Ingraham, Hannity and Kilmeade, all private citizens, knew as well, as did anyone with access to cable news or social media at the time.
“It is abundantly clear at this point that whatever you think of Donald Trump, what happened on January 6th was as much a surprise to him as anyone else,” the RedState blog noted. “The idea that he hatched and led some master plan in an attempt to seize power and remain in office never made any sense given what we know.
“Besides, it makes even less sense when you consider that it…didn’t happen. Normally, when you want to enact a coup, you actually, you know, enact a coup. Instead, Trump denounced what occurred, even if it was a few hours later than some would have liked. He then left the White House without any objections.”
As Ingraham noted in her grieved texts to Meadows, the Capitol incursion was highly damaging to Trump’s impressive, albeit highly controversial legacy in Washington. It was exponentially more beneficial to the establishment that loathed him than it ever was to him or his claims of election fraud and corruption.
So we have to ask — what is the Jan. 6 commission even trying to prove at this point? Because it just unwittingly proved there was no insurrection.
Author: Isa Cox