Yet, despite it all, Meadows remains a MAGA-head. According to CNN, his new memoir “absolves Trump of responsibility” for the Jan. 6 attack. Meadows claims Trump “did not call for violence and he did not expect anyone would enter the Capitol Building," even though Trump told his followers to “fight like hell” and “walk down” to the Capitol. Meadows may be willing to testify to avoid contempt of Congress charges, but he’s unlikely to say anything damning.
As for the horrifying revelation that Trump was the “superspreader in chief,” Meadows actually agreed with Trump’s characterization of it as “fake news.” In other words, Trump called Meadows a liar — and Meadows said he was right. His reasoning was that it must have been a false positive because Trump also got back a negative test — ignoring the fact that six days later Trump was in the hospital with covid-19. In the meantime, Trump came into contact with more than 500 people.
Sadly, Meadows’s abject sycophancy is typical of Trump World. The very people who have seen with their own eyes that the orange god is a false idol continue to follow him anyway. In part, of course, that’s because so many of them were implicated in Trump’s wrongdoing. Meadows, for example, was Trump’s accomplice in concealing the positive covid test and attempting to overturn the election.
One of the few high-level Trump officials to make a clean break is former national security adviser John Bolton, who said he didn’t vote for Trump in 2020 because he wasn’t “fit for office.” That is the inconvenient truth that few of Trump’s aides dare to utter, at least in public.
Typical is former vice president Mike Pence, who on Jan. 6 was sought by a Trumpist lynch mob chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” “I don’t know if President Trump and I will ever see eye to eye on that day or that many of our most ardent supporters will agree with my decision that day,” he said in an interview published last week. “But I know I did the right thing.” The message seems to be that whether Pence should have been lynched was just a minor disagreement that should in no way affect his relationship with Trump. Rather than calling out Trump’s election lies, Pence now agrees there were voting “irregularities.”
Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie is another Trump adviser who may have been almost killed by the former president. Christie was at the White House helping Trump prepare for the debate with Biden. He then wound up in the hospital with a serious case of covid-19. Odds are he caught it from Trump. In a new book, Christie writes that Trump called him at the hospital not to inquire about his health but to demand one thing: “Are you gonna say you got it from me?” Christie also writes that he disagrees with Trump’s claims that the election was rigged. “Joe Biden won,” he writes. “Donald Trump did not.”
Yet Christie told CNN that he voted for Trump in 2020 and didn’t rule out supporting him again. If Trump runs in 2024, I would eat my fedora if either Pence or Christie runs against him or refuses to support him.
Then there are the Republican congressional leaders. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said in February that Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for the Jan. 6 attack. Asked last month whether he would endorse Trump in 2024, however, McConnell said he would “obviously” support the GOP nominee.
Trump once said he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody" and not “lose any voters.” Turns out he wouldn’t even lose the support of the person he was shooting at.
So who’s more pathological: The former president who has shown that he cares about nothing save his own self-interest — or the Republicans who continue to pretend that he is fit for the highest office? This is one of many mysteries of the Trump era that may never be unraveled.