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Who were the Republican Senators afraid of when they Acquitted their own attempted murderer?

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From Informed Comment

Donald Trump Aquitted
Donald Trump Aquitted
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The odious Trump once smugly observed that "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters." When it comes to the Republican base, he was clearly correct. The opinion polling shows that registered Republicans still overwhelmingly support Trump even after he unleashed a mob on the Capitol in a way that resulted in the murder of policeman Brian Sicknick.

What Trump did not imply, and what no one could have foreseen, was that even the man he shot would continue to vote for him. The 43 Republican senators who voted to acquit Trump were in mortal danger of their lives on January 6, and had they been evacuated only a few moments later than they were, some of them would likely have been taken hostage.

We know that behind the scenes the Republican senators are furious at the former president for so endangering them, and that they talk dirty about him among themselves. And yet. And yet.

The Senate on Saturday was like a sado-masochist brothel, with the Republican senators bent over and begging Trump, decked out in leather, whip and high heels, to hurt them more.

What is driving them to behave in this way? Since they are not being honest and open about their motivations, we can only infer them. Making the inferences is not all that hard.

Take House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (please!). Jamie Gangel, Kevin Liptak, Michael Warren and Marshall Cohen at CNN (especially Jamie Gangel) reported on Friday night that Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) called up Trump during the insurrection.

According to Barry Holtzclaw at The Daily News, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash) told the story.

She said McCarthy told her, "He said to the President, 'You've got to hold them. You need to get on TV right now, you need to get on Twitter, you need to call these people off.'"

[She added in a statement that Trump at first insisted that the insurrectionists were Antifa.] The President insisted, "'Kevin, they're not my people.'"...

According to Herrera Beutler, McCarthy replied, "Yes they are, they just came through my windows and my staff is running for cover. Yeah, they're your people. Call them off."

Trump, McCarthy told her, said, "Well I guess these people are just more angry about the election and upset than you are."

CNN says that at that point, McCarthy lost it and shouted, "Who the f*ck do you think you are talking to?"

McCarthy relayed the conversation to other Republican House members, including Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash), who told it publicly. Gengel was the first to get the story, and her reporting on Friday evening almost impelled the Democrats (and some Republicans) to call witnesses in the odious Trump's Senate trial. In the end, they just entered Herrera Beutler's statement into the record.

A Republican House member remarked to Gangel of Trump, "He is not a blameless observer. He was rooting for them."

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Juan Cole is an American academic and commentator on the modern Middle East and South Asia.  He is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. Since 2002, he has written a weblog, Informed Comment (more...)

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