Shameful in the extreme. Remember their names. They include people I once respected, like Dan Crenshaw and Tom McClintock.
A Republican congressional ally of President Trump solicited more than 100 of his fellow GOP lawmakers to sign on to a brief with the Supreme Court in support of a long-shot lawsuit filed by Texas seeking to delay certification of presidential electors in four battleground states won by President-elect Joe Biden.
Congressman Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, circulated an email, obtained by CBS News, from his personal account to GOP members Wednesday that asked them to join a friend-of-the-court brief to be filed in support of the effort spearheaded by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Johnson was a vocal defender of Mr. Trump during impeachment proceedings.
Some defend these people because they claim not to back the particular allegations of fraud in the lawsuit, but rather supposedly intend only to communicate their concerns about the election system, or something. But the reporting has made clear that Trump solicited their support, and it’s quite clear what they’re doing. To my knowledge, not a single one of these frauds has issued a public statement stating that Trump lost a free and fair election but nevertheless yada yada yada. The language in bold is what I would require to see from someone to take their fig leaf “we’re not really trying to overturn the election” argument seriously.
I don’t think any of these people should ever hold elective office again and I would never vote for any of them. It’s very difficult to overstate how terrible Trump’s actions are. Every dictator in history who has seized absolute power has had a pretext, and even if Trump is not able to pull off such a coup here, the presence of a flimsy and obviously false pretext for his actions does not justify what he is trying to do. Anyone who lends legitimacy to that pretext has, in my view, declared themselves to be an enemy of democracy, and should be written off for good.
People understate the seriousness of this simply because it is so farcical that it seems extraordinarily unlikely to work — but to me, the proper way to think about it is to imagine that it did work. After all, that is what Trump wants to happen, even if his effort is unlikely to succeed. If it did succeed, it would be the end of the American experiment. An illegitimate ruler would sit in power, with the only peaceful way to remove him — a free and fair election — having failed.
The only option left would be force.
That ought to frighten people.