House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy reportedly spent the weekend doing damage control after audio leaked of him telling fellow Republicans he was thinking about telling Donald Trump he should resign after the Jan. 6 insurrection. Because, in retrospect, Republicans have decided that they’re all pretty much okay with the attempted violent overthrow of the government in which they serve and a physical attack on their workplace.
Trump already said he’s fine with McCarthy—and McCarthy wants to make sure that all his colleagues know it, since adherence to the Big Lie remains essential for all of them, from Utah Sen. Mike Lee to McCarthy. They’re counting on the traditional media to let them get away with it, and it will probably work. Because it usually does. McCarthy even now is glossing over his part in the insurrection by distracting the traditional media with a tried and true shiny object for a distraction: the border.
McCarthy is at the border Monday, with Marjorie Taylor Greene, no less. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) is another attendee. His texts to Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, trying to gin up false fraud stories to undermine the election were leaked along with Lee’s. Given the attendees (the truly odious Conference Chair Elise Stefanik [NY] is there, too) this is nothing more than a gross stunt, but it will probably work, both to distract the traditional media and to smooth any Republican feathers that his very brief Trump apostasy might have ruffled.
Take Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He was on “Fox News Sunday” and touted the very “strong support” McCarthy is getting from Republicans. Asked if McCarthy will remain leader, McCaul said, “Absolutely. I think Kevin is in very good shape. In fact, [Trump] came out saying that this is not going to endanger his relationship with Kevin, that he’s strongly supportive.”
And then turned to the week’s talking points. “Putin invaded Ukraine,” McCaul said. “We have an invasion in my home state right on the border, every day.” As Daily Kos’ Gabe Ortiz writes, ”Because when in doubt, blame immigrants.”
It’s all going back to the Big Lie and we, unfortunately, can’t count on the traditional media to hold any of them accountable for keeping it alive. How ironic is it that they are using Putin’s invasion of Ukraine this way, equating it with the U.S. border situation, where thousands of people displaced by the threat of violence are looking for a safe place to land? When the Big Lie has it roots in Trump extorting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to manufacture lies about Joe Biden for the 2020 election.
The play here is to keep the base riled up on immigration, on all the culture war issues, on white supremacy, and on top of all that the Big Lie. It’s stunningly, horrifyingly ridiculous, and transparent that you can only imagine they’re doing it because they think it will work.
They think it will work because they have very good reason to—it always has. The traditional media is only too happy to follow the Republicans to the extremes and broadcast every bit of it because it’s easy and it’s guaranteed clicks. Trump always has been, and they’ll just keep going back to that well, regardless of the damage being done to the nation.
Republished with permission from Daily Kos.