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Ignore Democrats’ disingenuous distractions: here’s how Trump proved his unfitness on Jan. 6

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 6/29/2022 Timothy P. Carney
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The January 6 Commission and the news media for some reason decided to lean on hearsay instead of the first-hand accounts that show clearly how unfit Donald Trump is for office.

Cassidy Hutchison, a top aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, gave the most explosive testimony to date, and it deserves attention. But the action-movie moment that has excited liberal commentators, of President Trump supposedly grabbing a steering wheel or choking a Secret Service agent, is all hearsay, upon which subsequent reporting casts some doubt.

The other attention-grabbing detail supposedly drawn from Hutchison’s testimony was what Trump said about men arriving at his White House rally with weapons. "They are not here to hurt me," Trump was reported to have said, waving away any need for security.

Trump’s supposed emphasis on “me” is pretty damning, as explained by a liberal NBC legal analyst:

This story is flawed, however. Hutchison didn’t emphasize the “me” at all in her testimony. That was an addition by Liz Cheney. This doesn’t mean that Trump is innocent, nor that Liz Cheney is a liar. It just means that the conclusions drawn from Cheney’s presentation or the tweets repeating it are speculations upon speculations, as explained by my colleague Jerry Dunleavy.

If we are to take anything from what these hearings (and from the 2021 impeachment hearings) have taught us, it is that we need to move away from the game of telephone and focus instead on the first-hand accounts of what Donald Trump said and did that day.

Hutchison was backstage at the White House rally on January 6. She had testified previously that Trump “was very concerned about the shot, meaning the photograph we would get, because the rally space wasn’t full.”

Cassidy says she heard Trump blame the metal detectors, more formally called magnetometers, and abbreviated as “mags.”

“He felt the mags were at fault for not letting everybody in,” she said. “He was angry that we weren’t letting people through the mags with weapons.” Some attendees were being turned away, while others were declining to enter the White House lawn for fear of having their weapons confiscated, Hutchison testified.

Hutchison testified that she overheard Trump “say something to the effect of, ‘I don’t care that they have weapons, they’re not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the effing mags away.’”

“They’re not here to hurt me” in that context is quite different from “they’re not here to hurt *me.*” The latter would be an admission that his supporters, whom he would then encourage to march to the Capitol, were there to hurt someone else. But again, that interpretation is not supported by Hutchison’s testimony, in which the “me” was un-emphasized.

But the former reading, while less damning, is still damaging to Trump. Stipulating that Trump didn’t believe that armed supporters were there to harm Mike Pence or Nancy Pelosi or U.S. Senators ready to ratify the Electoral College votes, this testimony still paints Trump as a reckless narcissist.

Trump wanted armed men on the White House lawn. He then wanted them to march from the White House to the Capitol, armed, in order to stop Congress from ratifying his opponents’ election victory. That is not the way a leader behaves if he values peace or the functioning of democracy enough to spend a moment thinking things through.

A good shepherd, upon learning that his flock had arrived armed, would have tried to defuse the situation. For starters, he would have cared for his followers’ safety. Marching to the Capitol, with Congress in session while armed — even if only with a spear or handcuffs or a pepper spray — is a good way to ensure bad outcomes, whether arrest, injury, or death.

Of course, a morally fit leader would care about more than just his own followers. He would care also about the Capitol Police and the Secret Service. He would steer as far away as possible from a physical threat to lawmakers (even the opposition).

But Donald Trump wasn’t a morally fit leader or a good shepherd. The only downside he could imagine to an armed crowd was that it could pose a physical threat to himself. Ruling out harm to himself, he considered their weapons (and what they signified about the mindset of the gathered thousands) to be harmless. That doesn’t mean he wanted Pence or Pelosi harmed or expected his followers to try and harm Pence or Pelosi. But at best, Trump didn’t give a second’s thought to the possibility of harm to others.

This man was commander in chief of our military and wants to be so again. He was ultimately in charge of the FBI, the Capitol Police, the Secret Service, and every other federal law enforcement agency. He conducted diplomacy with implications for the life and safety of all sorts of Americans. We ought to be disturbed that he evidently disregarded peace and the safety of others, given that his own safety was not at stake.

It’s not news that Trump was unfit to lead the federal government, but the new evidence puts that fact into better focus. Every Republican who cares about the country should work to ensure Trump is not their nominee in 2024.

 

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Original Author: Timothy P. Carney

Original Location: Ignore Democrats’ disingenuous distractions: here’s how Trump proved his unfitness on Jan. 6

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