Boebert challenging Madison Cawthorn to a sprint was bizarre. But it was more than that.
It's like they're competing to see who can turn Kyle Rittenhouse into the biggest hero/victim.
In a sane political environment, Kyle Rittenhouse would not be a hero. But we are a long way from sanity. And there were numerous indications of that on MAGA cable TV Tuesday evening.
You can believe a jury in Wisconsin made the right decision by acquitting Rittenhouse of all charges in connection with him killing two people and injuring a third on August 25, 2020, when the then-17-year-old poured fuel on a combustible situation by showing up in Kenosha with an AR-15 at a protest against a police shooting of a Black man. As I’ve previously detailed, the judge presiding over Rittenhouse’s case turned the trial into a farce, and Wisconsin’s self-defense law is written in such a way where legal experts thought he was likely to be acquitted even before it began.
Legalities aside, however, there’s no doubt our country would be a better place if would-be vigilantes like Rittenhouse just stayed home with their guns. And while it really shouldn’t have to be said, there’s nothing laudable about killing people.
But the Republican Party has a very different set of values these days. And watching Newsmax and Fox News on Tuesday evening, you’d think Rittenhouse cured cancer or solved world hunger, not that he shot three people.
Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-CO) interview with Newsmax host (and former Trump administration official) Seb Gorka encapsulated how the modern Republican Party is “collectively like a self-devouring monster of provocation and offense,” as Talking Points Memo founder Josh Marshall colorfully put it. A clip I posted in which Boebert challenged Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) to a sprint quickly went viral in large part because, as Boebert is presumably aware, Cawthorn is paralyzed from the waist down and hence unable to run.
The context of Boebert’s challenge is that she is one of a number of House Republicans who reacted to Rittenhouse’s acquittal by offering him an internship. After expressing joy about Rittenhouse’s acquittal, Boebert proposed the dispute over which Republican gets to employ him be resolved in an odd manner.
“I am so thrilled at the jury’s verdict here,” Boebert said. “Now I do have some colleagues on the Hill who have, just like me, offered Kyle Rittenhouse an internship in their office, and Madison Cawthorn, he said that he would arm wrestle me for this Kyle Rittenhouse internship, but Madison Cawthorn has some pretty big guns, and so I would like to challenge him to a sprint instead. Let’s make this fair.”
“How about I offer this — allow me to arm wrestle him on your behalf,” Gorka responded. “I love a good arm wrestle, and I would be happy — Madison’s a buddy, and I would be happy to arm wrestle him on your behalf.”
Cawthorn, it should be noted, responded to Rittenhouse’s acquittal with a video in which he offered him an internship and encouraged his supporters to “be armed, be dangerous.”
Following Boebert’s interview on Newsmax I flipped over to Fox News, where Sean Hannity interviewed former President Donald Trump for a full hour.
Perhaps the biggest nugget of news coming from the interview was that Rittenhouse had just visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Hannity broadcast a photo of their meeting, which apparently took place in front of a picture Trump has on his wall of him and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.