It would be nice if getting caught lying dramatically on tape could disqualify a politician from public life, or if, as McCarthy did, swinging from supporting Trump to criticizing Trump to sucking him up again would exile him from the halls of the able. But that’s not the case either. As long as McCarthy runs a proper ramp to appease Trump and keeps a brave face, the pain of being found out will cause him no more permanent harm than a bad haircut. Washington’s ability to sweep transgressions under the rug and forget them is unmatched in American life.
During the Jan. 6 episode, McCarthy briefly backfired on Trump. According to news reports, McCarthy engaged Trump in a “swearing phone callas the riot boiled over and he pleaded with the president to reverse the Capitol sacking. In the days immediately following the rampage, McCarthy mentioned“The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by rioters. He should have immediately denounced the crowd when he saw what was happening. He also said that Trump acknowledged “some responsibility“for the riot.
But at the end of January 2021, McCarthy had flown to Mar-a-Lago to tilt and scrape before Trump. In July he was dodge questions whether he still believed Trump was responsible for the riot. Earlier this year he declined an invitation to give evidence in the House Select Committee’s Jan. 6 inquest. Everything we needed to know about McCarthy’s spine, his reliability as the narrator of Jan. 6, and his drive to uncover the truth about that day is already out there. Like Trump, who has become his role model, McCarthy is like the child holding a piece of his mother’s priceless vase that he just broke and who will say whatever he needs to say to deflect blame and restore his innocence. .
Has anyone in Washington ever mistaken McCarthy for a principled truth-teller? As the boys and girls of Wall Street remind us daily, news that is equally distributed is discounted in the price of a share. Everyone knows that McCarthy 1) falters when he’s nervous; 2) regrets his moments of integrity; 3) can run as fast backwards as forwards; and 4) yearns for the soothing words of Master Trump. McCarthy as he is long announced, intends to become president, assuming the Republicans take the House in November, so he has plenty of time until then for him to remind his fellow Republicans that January 6 was a long time ago, that he’s ready to carry all the trash that Trump dumps. Mar-a-Lago loading dock, and that everything is fine now. Besides, does Trump have a better candidate than McCarthy to speak? Someone in a position of leadership who frolics around the room with such abandon when Trump shakes the leash and promises a walk?
Such redemption would be impossible for someone who committed similar transgressions in their workplace, social club, or place of worship. They would be as welcome as a squad of murder hornets at a picnic. But this is Congress and these are Republicans and they have, through Trump’s tweets, Trump’s televised confrontations with Jim Acosta and Trump’s characterization of the press as the enemy, conditioned their supporters to distrust by reflex of critical journalism. McCarthy seems to have already out his jam with Trumpaccording to The Washington Post, who reports that the two spoke last night and that Trump was not upset. Instead, he reveled in his continued control over the Republican Party.
Today, Kevin McCarthy stands as naked and shaking as a freshly shorn spring sheep. But after once again addressing Lord Trump and rubbing himself a few bottles of political Rogaine, McCarthy can expect to see his skin return to its full, lush fur in a few months.
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