The Right Resistance: Countering the Editors of the Washington Examiner on Trump’s fitness
The headline kind of grabbed me: “Trump proven unfit for power again.”
Again? What do you mean, again? We’ll get to who wrote it in a minute. It’s old news by now, but last week former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchison testified before the farce January 6 Committee and told all sorts of colorful tales about former president Donald Trump and his final days in office. Hutchison’s stories of Trump’s alleged temper tantrums – one even involved tossing his lunch tray and splattering ketchup on the walls – were mere echoes of lots of supposedly lurid personal anecdotes that various anti-Trumpers have relayed over the years, all intended to make Americans even more fed up with the loutish behavior of the world’s most powerful man after the 2020 election so as to disqualify him from ever sitting behind the Oval Office’s Resolute Desk again.
You can decide for yourself if Hutchison was credible and whether her scandalous eyewitness accounts are to be believed. Some folks who were there suggest the young twenty-something is just a celebrity-seeking lower-level staffer who wanted her fifteen minutes of fame parked in front of Liz Cheney’s smirking mug and the rest of the January 6 witch hunt tribunal. I bet Adam Schiff couldn’t stop talking about her afterwards.
Liberal establishment media personalities likely strained their jaws in astonishment over the eye-pleasing Washingtonian neophyte’s hurt feelings – and the fact she didn’t feel safe – observations reminiscent of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s relayed fears for her security on January 6 itself… and the congresswoman wasn’t even in the Capitol building where the action was.
Nevertheless, some credible media sources started using the “again” word in reference to Trump not being fit for power. Joining (or perhaps leading?) the outrage mob, the Editors of the Washington Examiner wrote:
“Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s … testimony ought to ring the death knell for former President Donald Trump’s political career. Trump is unfit to be anywhere near power ever again...
“What Hutchinson relayed was disturbing. She gave believable accounts of White House awareness that the planned Jan. 6 rally could turn violent. She repeated testimony that Trump not only knew that then-Vice President Mike Pence’s life had been credibly threatened that day but also that he was somewhere between uncaring and actually approving of Pence’s danger...
“Hutchinson’s testimony confirmed a damning portrayal of Trump as unstable, unmoored, and absolutely heedless of his sworn duty to effectuate a peaceful transition of presidential power. Considering the entirety of her testimony, it is unsurprising that Hutchinson said she heard serious discussions of Cabinet members invoking the 25th Amendment that would have at least temporarily evicted Trump from office. Trump is a disgrace. Republicans have far better options to lead the party in 2024. No one should think otherwise, much less support him, ever again.”
There’s that word again (sorry, couldn’t resist!). I agree that the GOP does have other 2024 options that, on the surface, appear to be calmer and a little less excitable than Trump. I’ve never heard anyone state that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has anger issues, for example, and if someone did say it, I’m not sure I’d believe them.
I’m not sure I believe Hutchison in this episode either. The WE Editors seem impressed by the 25-year-old’s resume, but just because she’s been in and around Washington for a few years doesn’t mean she’s a candidate for a truth-teller of the decade designation. Again, a good number of individuals close to Trump insist that the events didn’t happen the way Hutchison described them, and that she’s just a youngster with a chip on her shoulder.
Those individuals include Trump himself, who claimed Hutchison was motivated because he wouldn’t hire her after the administration left town. But it sounds like she’ll have plenty of job offers after her TV appearance last week – I bet CNN and MSNBC are already in negotiations with her agent to bring in the supermodel-type gal as a star witness to Trump’s excesses whenever Liz Cheney is preoccupied with her nose up some other Democrat’s behind. As to the gist of what Hutchison said, it’s basically the same argument Democrats and assorted establishment Trump-haters have advanced ever since Trump entered the 2016 race. As I noted last month on the seven-year anniversary of Trump’s and Melania’s ride down the Trump Tower escalator, the outsider New Yorker’s announcement that he was vying for the presidency despite never having run for or held any political office was a complete jolt to the delicate sensibilities of the “that’s not how it’s done” crowd of political lightweights and place-in-line holders who slither in and control the Washington swamp.
Trump’s speech that day only further discombobulated the establishment. When he used inflammatory terms to describe illegal immigrants – “When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you…They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists.” – the words might just as well have been articulated by a green skinned politician from a galaxy far, far away.
The controversy surrounding Trump and his unique way of describing things only intensified a couple months later after the first Republican presidential candidates’ primary debate in Cleveland, Ohio, when afterwards he illustrated Fox News personality Megyn Kelly’s demeanor towards him as a little less than welcoming.
Who can forget “blood from her… wherever”? Trump told CNN’s Don Lemon: “She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions. You know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever. In my opinion, she was off base.”
(As a side note, Megyn Kelly wasn’t impressed with Hutchison’s showboat appearance before the January 6 committee, either.)
I recall that little incident triggered an enormous backlash, and, to a large extent, was the singular event that led to the birth of the #NeverTrump movement among some conservatives. Longtime conservative RedState editor and radio talk show host Erick Erickson immediately dis-invited Trump from the publication’s annual gathering of notable conservatives, citing Trump’s remarks as unbecoming of a Republican candidate and branding him as not worthy of any quantity of support – ever.
Erickson stuck to his guns and refused to bend on Trump’s candidacy, which simultaneously seemed to have a deleterious impact on Erick’s health. The respected (at least up to that time) conservative did go on to assess Trump’s presidency for its merits – including crediting Trump for the good things he did – but it was never quite the same for regular followers of Erickson’s columns and radio appearances.
After four years of virtual non-stop drama, Trump supporters have largely forgotten about the intense anger and vitriol that he attracted back then from people who’d been lifelong or loyal Republicans. Columnist George Will all-but ceded his regular writing gig because of his (in my opinion) blind vendetta against Trump. Ditto for Jonah Goldberg and David French, two former National Review columnists I used to read regularly.
Bill Kristol went completely off the rails, so much so that his “The Weekly Standard” publication folded from most of its readership having abandoned it. Kristol now publishes as part of “The Bulwark” -- but does anybody read it? How about the RINOs who instituted the anti-Trump “Lincoln Project”? Or peacemaker turned Democrat sympathizer John Kasich? Anyone remember Evan McMullin’s “independent conservative” 2016 candidacy after David French declined to be the movement’s figurehead?
All of these people would probably swear to the contrary, but they just didn’t like Donald Trump the man, his personality, his family, his friends, his businesses, his hairdo, his fondness for fast food… who knows? The fact Trump had given them – and us – practically everything conservatives had asked for, for many, many years, didn’t make a difference to them.
Many of us felt like shouting in their faces, “Take YES for an answer, moron!”
How much does a president’s personal demeanor really count? Is Donald Trump the only politician in American history whose disposition was always close to boiling? Hardly. It’s a good thing that it’s not a requirement to be a “nice guy” to fulfill the president’s duties. Didn’t our current president win the 2020 election partially because he was seen as temperamentally “fit” to hold it?
And lately there’ve been reports that ol’ senile Joe cusses a lot and he’s grouchy all the time. Now there’s a huge stunner! Better keep the ketchup bottle away from Joe whenever Cassidy Hutchison, son Hunter and/or Kamala Harris is within earshot!
As a side note, why would liberals be so quick to believe Hutchison about Trump but they roundly rejected the then 23 or 4-year-old Monica Lewinsky’s first-hand (please pardon the pun) accounts of Bill Clinton’s Oval Office behavior? Didn’t Big Bubba Bill flash some temper at times when the walls were closing in and, like a rat trapped in a corner, come out with teeth flashing and claws at the ready? Or how about Hillary Clinton? Has she proven, again, that she isn’t/wasn’t fit for office because of personality snafus?
The Washington press establishment is chock full of hypocrites, but this is ridiculous. The Washington Examiner is an excellent news outlet, but someone in high places sure doesn’t like Trump very much.
It’s very unlikely that Cassidy Hutchison’s testimony before the January 6 Committee last week will come to much consequence. What Hutchison said certainly doesn’t determine anyone’s fitness to hold federal office. Even if it could be shown Donald Trump behaved like a spoiled brat, it doesn’t disqualify from favor in the eyes of tens of millions. The voters will decide who is -- and who is not -- fit to be president.
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