Millions voted for Donald Trump in the last two elections. Many conservatives supported his policies, especially his judicial appointments.
But the onslaught of evidence brought forth by the Jan. 6 committee shows the Trump era must be over. It’s time for conservatives to move forward.
Some conservatives are calling the congressional hearings a “show trial.” Conservatives nationwide may be tempted to disbelieve the findings of the committee, citing partisan bias. Even with a bias, it’s hard to argue with the deposition recordings of members of Trump’s inner circle saying over and over that they disagreed with his claims of a rigged or fraudulent election.
This, of course, was the basis of the Jan. 6 riot: Trump told groups such as Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, among his supporters on the National Mall that day, the election was a fraud, their votes did not count and our vital democratic process was dysfunctional or, worse, rigged.
“There was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were,” Barr said in a video. “I was somewhat demoralized, because I thought, ‘Boy, if he really believes this stuff, he has lost contact with — he’s become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff.’ ”
Barr said the theories Trump supported about election fraud were “idiotic” and “amateurish.”
In fact, it sounds like few in Trump’s inner circle, if any, supported Trump’s claims that the election was a fraud. This included his daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner, campaign manager Bill Stepien, adviser Jason Miller and campaign attorney Ben Ginsberg.
It’s possible, but unlikely, all have turned on Trump in the aftermath and are changing their stories to protect themselves. But that wouldn’t change the fact that Trump had little evidence of fraud and still believed it to be so.
A video montage the Jan. 6 committee produced of just a portion of the rioting that occurred that day is embarrassing and emblematic of just how much rioters believed Trump’s claims. As thousands besieged the Capitol and law enforcement struggled to hold the line, the committee revealed, Trump did not call for additional help. Vice President Mike Pence did.
“Not only did President Trump refuse to tell the mob to leave the Capitol, he placed no call to any element of the United States government to instruct that the Capitol be defended,” said Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., last week. “He did not call his secretary of defense on Jan. 6. He did not talk to his attorney general. He did not talk to the Department of Homeland Security. President Trump gave no order to deploy the National Guard that day. And he made no effort to work with the Department of Justice to coordinate and deploy law enforcement assets.”
This is selfish, bizarre and wrong, any way you look at it. Even if one believed our democracy is crumbling, letting the Capitol succumb to riots would not resolve this.
January 6 rioters cannot fully blame Trump for their actions that day. Each man and woman, all full-grown adults, made the choice to trek to Washington and rally, riot and invade the nation’s capital.
Still, the fact that they did so overwhelmingly propelled by the belief that Trump was the true election winner and we can now see that he was ignoring his most trusted advisers is just one of the many indicators it’s time for conservatives to move on.
Whether through the eyes of the Jan. 6 committee or his own childish, self-centered PAC, the Trump era was OK while it lasted — and some might be tempted to support him because they think he’s a “fighter” — but it’s over now. Trump is not good for America. The political and societal implications of thrice supporting a man who fails to protect the country’s capital, obsesses over relitigating the past and threatens to upend institutions if he doesn’t get his way should be proof enough.
This should be, in no way, bad news for the future of conservatism. Conservatism is a philosophy not dependent on one person. If anything, conservatives should take inventory from the Trump era and move forward with lessons learned, more zeal and with a clearer path for America.
The Trump era proved that even if a candidate ignites voters, but in the end shows himself to be self-centered, narcissistic, dishonest and out of touch with reality, it does not bode well for the GOP or the country.
This is a lesson learned, not an indictment on conservatism forever. The movement must move on, forward and without Trump.