The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Let’s not take our eyes off the true ‘reality’

In an image taken from video, former attorney general William P. Barr speaks during questioning by the House Jan. 6 committee. (House Select Committee/AP)
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Regarding the June 14 news article “As hearing’s star witness, Barr says Trump was obsessed with fraud notions”:

Even as someone who is horrified at what Donald Trump did to our country, I was disappointed to see that many news sites, including The Post, used the quote “detached from reality” in their headlines. What former attorney general William P. Barr actually said was that if Mr. Trump “really believes this stuff, he has, you know, lost contact with, become detached from reality.”

Printing shock headlines that imply Mr. Trump is out of his mind might make us feel better, but we’re playing into the hands of those who would point to this ad hominem attack as yet another example of our obsession with the former president’s personality. We should, instead, continually point to what Mr. Trump did to the institutions of this nation and what he would do if he were elected again.

Make no mistake: Mr. Trump might be an awful human being, but he’s not detached from reality. He knows exactly what he’s doing as he surfs the waves of anger, cynicism and fear in this country. The House Jan. 6 committee is doing a good job showing how focused Mr. Trump was as he tried to overturn the 2020 election. Let’s not take our eyes off that.

Paul Pazniokas, Brookside, N.J.

Regarding the possible involvement of Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, I found even the hint of his participation, deliberate or not, another sign of the repulsive behavior in and around the assault on the Capitol. The video, in which members of the Loudermilk tour voiced outrageous comments about Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), seemed eerily similar to other rioters’ language on Jan. 6.

Either Mr. Loudermilk knew the abusive tourists or he ignored their behavior — including unusual photographing of doors and stairways. His comments have been contradictory. He has been less than forthcoming. Consequently, he seems complicit.

I wish the congressman’s potential collaboration was unbelievable, just an inconceivable possibility. The Jan. 6 hearings, if nothing else, have illustrated stunning behavior in the Oval Office. Also, video shot of pre-riot preparations by well-organized participants is visible evidence of malicious intent.

Howard Freedlander, Annapolis