Is Barry Loudermilk insane? The words coming out of his mouth are. The United States Representative from Georgia's 11th district featured in a new CNN roundup of Republican members of Congress who are whitewashing the events of January 6 and welcoming Donald Trump into the party fold ahead of his likely 2024 presidential rerun, and while there was plenty of nonsense to go around, Loudermilk found a way to shine.
But first, let's get some things straight:
A significant section of the crowd that stormed the Capitol on January 6 did so to stop Congress from confirming that Donald Trump had lost the 2020 election and would soon leave office.
Many were carrying Trump flags, and in some cases they were yelling that Trump had sent them. (In the aftermath, at least 15 of those arrested said explicitly that they acted at Trump's urging.) They repeated the lies he had been spreading for months about how the election had been stolen from him.
Trump drew them to Washington for January 6, promising it would be "wild," and gave a speech that day exhorting the crowd to march down to the Capitol. He even said he would go with them. (Instead, typically, he watched on television, reportedly with considerable glee.) He said "peacefully" at one point in the speech, sure, but he also demanded they "fight like hell" and paired this with repeated apocalyptic warnings about how, if they failed to prevent the election certification, "you're not going to have a country anymore."
And yet here is what we got from Mr. Barry Loudermilk:
"He didn't have anything to do with January 6. I think that's a far-fetched idea."
So we're just saying anything now. (Well, in fairness, it's been that way for a while.) "Gaslighting" is a term that's drifted blissfully out of vogue, but Jesus H. Christ on an inauguration riser, this is batshit crazy. These are not the utterings of someone with a firm grip on reality—or at least, of someone who believes their intended audience has that grip. As is often the case these days, the question is probably whether Loudermilk is just saying what he thinks he needs to say or whether he's mainlining just as much Fox News and OAN as his base of support. That is, he may be getting high on his own supply.
For a probable example of the former explanation, though, we can turn to New Jersey's Jeff Drew, a Democrat-turned-Republican in the Trump era who it's hard to imagine really believes what he told CNN. Well, first he said Trump holds no responsibility for the events of January 6. Then there was this:
Asked if he believes that President Joe Biden won legitimately, Van Drew said: "I am not going to make that determination. But what I do think is that we need to make sure that our election system works right."
Here's a congressman from Jersey who won't admit that Biden won the election. Biden, the guy who got 7 million more citizens' votes and 306 Electoral Votes—the same number Trump got in 2016. How many states' election results are in doubt, in Drew's estimation? Is Arizona in doubt, despite the fact the blatantly partisan "audit" found Biden actually won the state by a larger margin than initially recorded? Is Georgia in doubt, despite the fact its Republican secretary of state who voted for Donald Trump said they did not find any fraud? Are Michigan or Wisconsin or Pennsylvania in doubt, despite the failure of these hacks pushing the narrative—including, but not limited to, the MyPillow Guy—to turn up any evidence that could pass muster in a courtroom nearly a year after the goddamned election?
Of course not. Biden's win was not illegitimate because of anything that occurred in observable reality. It was illegitimate because Real Americans voted for the other guy. They are the only legitimate members of the polity, imbued with the power to choose the leader of the nation. The many more actual American citizens who chose Biden to be the president do not actually have any claim to true citizenship. They are usurpers to the American project. The election wasn't stolen, the country was. Or so they'd have you believe, all to justify continuing to restrict access to the franchise—among the most fundamental rights in this country—and to avoid presenting an actual policy platform that might attract the support of a majority of voters. What an insane disgrace.
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