Republican lawmakers' texts show how deeply they were involved in Jan. 6 coup plotting
“Yesterday was a terrible day. We tried everything we could in our objection to the 6 states. I’m sorry nothing worked."
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I’ve devoted a lot of space this week to writing about the correspondence Mark Meadows turned over to the January 6 committee, including the wild conspiracy theories entertained by the White House to justify Trump’s coup plot, and the two-facedness of Fox News anchors who blamed Trump for the attack on the Capitol in private while trying to exonerate him on TV. But I shouldn’t let the week end without also discussing messages to Meadows from Republican members of Congress that show how deeply invested they too were in the effort to end democracy.
In one message sent the day after the election, an as-of-yet-unnamed Republican suggests to Meadows that GOP-controlled legislatures in states Biden won should simply throw out the election results, appoint their own electors, and bank on the fact that the GOP-controlled SCOTUS would allow it to happen. (The January 6 committee is masking the names of the Republicans who sent these messages for now, but has indicated that the lawmakers will be named before the investigation is through.)
(UPDATE 12/17 — CNN is reporting that January 6 investigations believe the above text message was sent to Meadows by former Texas governor and Trump Energy Secretary Rick Perry.)
It eventually became clear that the January 6 certification of the electoral vote was the last chance Republicans had to prevent Joe Biden from taking office. In the lead up to that day, a Republican lawmaker — self-identified on Wednesday as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who has been extremely evasive about the nature of his interactions with Trump on January 6 — sent Meadows a text suggesting that Vice President Mike Pence, in his ceremonial role presiding over the process, should simply throw out the results. (Kyle Cheney of Politico reports that Jordan’s message was an excerpt of an argument made by former Pentagon Inspector General Joseph Schmitz.)
Like Jordan, Trump endorsed some version of this strategy, and lashed out at Pence on the morning of January 6 when it became clear he wouldn’t go along with it — leading to the “Hang Mike Pence!” chants during the attack on the Capitol.
Then, as the country tried to come to grips on January 7 with all the terrible things that happened the day before, a Republican texted Meadows expressing regret — not for the violent attack on the Capitol, but that the effort 147 Republicans made to overturn the election results didn’t pan out.
“We tried everything … I’m sorry nothing worked,” the lawmaker wrote.
So while we tend to think of January 6 as the day that Trump tried to overturn the election, it’s important to keep in mind that a majority of Republicans in the House and eight in the Senate actively helped him. And it’s not like the pro-insurrection caucus has been ostracized from the party — quite the opposite, in fact.
The only people being purged from the Republican Party are the handful of members who have spoken out against Trump’s coup attempt, such as Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who on Tuesday were the only two House Republicans to vote in favor of holding Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the January 6 committee. So the views expressed in the texts to Meadows, as authoritarian as they are, actually represent a much larger faction of the GOP than anti-coup members.
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New data shows why GOP attacks on Biden for Covid deaths are so ghoulish
New Momouth polling released Thursday shows a striking partisan divide on vaccinations.
Ninety six percent of Democrats say they’ve already received the vaccine, compared to just 54 percent of Republicans. Even more notably, just 2 percent of Democrats say they likely will never get vaccinated, compared to a whopping 30 percent of Republicans.
This polarization has life-or-death significance, especially in red areas of the country where anti-vax sentiment is prevalent. An NPR analysis published earlier this month found that “since May 2021, people living in counties that voted heavily for Donald Trump during the last presidential election have been nearly three times as likely to die from Covid-19 as those who live in areas that went for now-President Biden.”
Here’s another way to visualize it:
But despite the fact that their own voters are disproportionately dying from Covid these days, prominent Republicans in recent weeks have started attacking Biden (and defending Trump) by pointing out that more Americans have died from Covid in 2021 than 2020.
“I took him at his word when he said he was going to get Covid under control,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on November 18. “Unfortunately, more Americans have died this year than last year.”
Trump made similar comments during an event at Mar-a-Lago earlier this month, saying to laughter that “they’ve lost more people to coronavirus this year — or, as I call it, the China virus.”
Tucker Carlson got into the act on Tuesday.
In short, these guys discourage people from getting vaccinated, then blame Democrats like Biden when the people who listen to their misinformation die because they’re unvaccinated. It’s astoundingly ghoulish stuff.
Pelosi’s defense of her husband’s stock trades left a lot to be desired
I devote a lot of time and energy here in Public Notice to doing accountability work about Republicans — and justifiably so, since they’re trying to drive our democracy off a cliff. But I also believe it’s important to call out Democrats when they fall short. One such instance took place on Wednesday.