The GOP’s Other Big Lie
Plus: The Wapo’s Twitter mess.
Enrique Tarrio, the former chairman of the Proud Boys, and four other members of the far-right group were indicted on Monday for seditious conspiracy for their roles in the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6 of last year, some of the most serious criminal charges to be brought in the Justice Department’s sprawling investigation of the assault.
This seems a good time for a flashback in case your memory, like most Americans, has gotten hazy. Remember Auqilino Gonell, the U.S. Capitol sergeant who testified about the January 6th attack?
"My fellow officers and I were punched, pushed, kicked, shoved, sprayed with chemical irritants and even blinded with eye-damaging lasers by a violent mob who apparently saw us law enforcement officers, dedicated to ironically protecting them as U.S. citizens, as an impediment in their attempted insurrection.”
“All of them — all of them were telling us, ‘Trump sent us,’” Aquilino A. Gonell, a U.S. Capitol Police sergeant, said on Tuesday as he tearfully recounted the horrors of defending Congress on Jan. 6, testifying at the first hearing of a House select committee to investigate the attack.
One by one, in excruciating detail, Sergeant Gonell and three other officers who faced off with the hordes that broke into the Capitol told Congress of the brutal violence, racism and hostility they suffered as a throng of angry rioters, acting in the name of President Donald J. Trump, beat, crushed and shocked them.
Officer Michael Fanone told Congress:
As my police body-worn camera shows, thousands upon thousands of people seemingly determined to get past us by any means necessary. At some point during the fighting, I was dragged from the line of officers and into the crowd. I heard someone scream, “I got one.” As I was swarmed by a violent mob, they ripped off my badge, they grabbed and stripped me of my radio, they seized ammunition that was secured to my body. They began to beat me with their fists and with what felt like hard metal objects.
At one point, I came face-to-face with an attacker who repeatedly launched for me and attempted to remove my firearm. I heard chanting from some in the crowd, “Get his gun and kill him with his own gun.” I was aware enough to recognize I was at risk of being stripped of and killed with my own firearm. I was electrocuted again, and again, and again, with a taser. I’m sure I was screaming, but I don’t think I could even hear my own voice.
My body camera captured the violence of the crowd directed toward me during those very frightening moments. It’s an important part of the record for this committee’s investigation, for the country’s understanding of how I was assaulted and nearly killed as the mob attacked the Capitol that day. And I hope that everyone will be able to watch it.
"You hear that, guys, this n***** voted for Joe Biden!" a woman in a pink MAGA shirt yelled toward Capitol Police Pfc. Harry Dunn, he recounted, after Dunn said he voted for President Biden.
"Boo! F****** n*****!" the crowd of about 20 yelled back, Dunn recalled.
Dunn said his story wasn't unique. He heard from another Black officer that insurrectionists yelled at that officer: "Put your gun down, and we'll show you what kind of n***** you really are!"
The good news: Americans will undoubtedly get to hear their stories again, accompanied by dramatic images and hitherto unseen video footage of the violent attack on the seat of our constitutional republic.
The bad news: The police officers have already told their story, and it didn’t move the needle for the GOP. At all.
But they have helped expose the GOP’s other Big Lie: the one where they claim that they are the party of Law and Order. And that they “Back the Blue.”
Bonus: “Fox News to Skip Primetime Coverage of Jan. 6 Committee Hearings.” (Paul Ryan, please call your office. Again.)
“I guess I’m not as liberal as I thought”
“All of my friends considered themselves fairly progressive,” she said. “But they’re speaking now of this new term of ‘I guess I’m not as liberal as I thought.’”
With a backlash brewing against far-left politics, this city once known for its Summer of Love appears headed for a Summer of Tough Love.
The battle is playing out in Tuesday’s primary with a recall campaign targeting San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, a former public defender who promised to divert nonviolent criminals away from jails and into rehabilitation programs and, fairly or not, has become the symbol of everything wrong with San Francisco.
Boudin is almost certainly toast. Here’s Gil Duran, in the SF Examiner:
It’s hardly news at this point, but San Francisco voters will almost certainly oust District Attorney Chesa Boudin [Tuesday] A new Examiner poll of 541 likely voters conducted by Change Research from May 26-29 shows 56% in favor of recalling the DA, who has a disapproval rate of 62%….
Barring a literal miracle, Boudin is done.
Some background reading: “The Limits of San Francisco Liberalism: If Chesa Boudin is recalled, it will be because his city has never been its left-wing caricature.”
The Wapo’s Twitter mess
How it began, with one Wapo reporter calling out a colleague over a retweet.
The Washington Post has suspended reporter David Weigel for one month without pay for retweeting a sexist joke, two people familiar with the matter told CNN on Monday.
Weigel did not respond to a request for comment, but an out-of-office reply from his Post email address said that he would return to work on July 5. Weigel apologized publicly last week for the retweet, saying he "did not mean to cause any harm."
Reaction? Oh yes. Over at Mediaite, Sarah Rumpf writes:
Weigel’s retweet was bad, but the public infighting about it only made things worse. Nothing about this circus made anything better online for women, and it’s become a messy, embarrassing soap opera for the Post.
Bulwarkians also weighed in:
ICYMI: Cathy Young wrote about L’affaire Weigel in her Sunday newsletter (before the suspension).
The idea that a joke like this—basically, any joke or comment that refers to a “marginalized group” in an unsanctioned way—causes “harm” is utterly preposterous. It’s a secular version of blasphemy or lese-majesty. I guarantee you that not one person thought less of women or people with bipolar disorder as a result of that joke. But some people may think less of feminists, at least the “woke” type, because of the bizarre overreaction which included not only the gleeful mobbing of Weigel—which escalated after the apology!—but weirdly personal insults.
Bonus: Georgetown Abandons Its Free-Speech Policy Over Ilya Shapiro: Dumb tweets for me, but not for thee.
1. What Kellyanne Conway Loves
Gabriel Schoenfeld with a spicy take on the latest attempt of a Trumpist loyalist to cash in on “alternative facts.”
“I love Donald Trump,” Kellyanne states baldly at one juncture. Love is blinding, as they say, if her feelings for Trump are indeed love, not something uttered to position herself for some ingratiating purpose. Whatever her true sentiments, the picture of Trump that emerges from the memoir is preposterous. She finds Trump’s halting bumbling reading off the teleprompter “eloquent.” “I will always tell you the truth,” is how, without comment, she quotes Trump—never mind his prodigious ability to tell multiple lies in one breath…
Is it rose-colored glasses or complete cynicism that leads Kellyanne to call this brutish ignoramus of a man “respectful” and “brilliant”? I would vote for cynicism. On the evidence presented in this volume, and from five years in the public eye, it is difficult to escape the judgment that when it comes to character, Kellyanne Conway has a great deal in common with the “vulgar and vile” guttersnipe whom she so loyally served.
2. Russia’s Blockade of Ukraine’s Ports Is Causing a Humanitarian Disaster
Important piece in today’s Bulwark by Shay Khatiri:
The greatest obstacle to Ukrainian victory might be not Russia’s ground forces but its navy. Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports is putting enormous economic pressure on Ukraine—a major supplier of global agricultural products such as wheat, sunflower oil, and barley seeds—and the defenders don’t have a navy to break it.
But for Vladimir Putin, the blockade’s effect on the Ukrainian economy is likely a secondary consideration. His primary objective is instead to inflict pain on the rest of the world and extract concessions from Western Europe.
The strategy appears to be working.
Is the punishment excessive? Quite possibly. But if you're going to use your social media to push your career, them your social media becomes a work account, and you can't treat it otherwise. And that means if you wouldn't say it in a staff meeting, you shouldn't say it on there.
To this day I can't think of a story that infuriates me more than 1/6. Reading your quotations of those brave officers' testimony brought back all the rage, anger, and fury that I felt towards the GOP when I watched the pro-Trump mob attempt to sack the Capitol in service to their tangerine tantrum-throwing tyrant.
But as upset as I was at witnessing the worst of America attempt to overthrow our democratic institutions, I was also inspired by the best of America--those brave officers who stood in the breach--who acted as a bulwark against the hate and the lies propagated by Trump and his followers. Our democracy--and with it our right to freedom of speech, our ability to choose our elected representatives, and our power to check actions against our interests at the ballot box--survives today because those men and women had the courage to stand up to the mob and defend the rights of us all.
Those officers were heroes then, and they are heroes now.