Who knew strongmen were so fragile?
I’m sorry, but these authoritarians have some terribly tender egos. They need to pull themselves up by their own jackboot-straps.
On Thursday, the very day President Biden spoke from Philadelphia’s Independence Hall pleading with Americans to “stop the assault on American democracy,” former president Donald Trump called for reparations for those who assaulted democracy on Jan. 6, 2021. Trump told a right-wing radio host that, if he returns to power, he plans “full pardons with an apology to many” who attacked the Capitol.
He also claimed he is “financially supporting” some of those charged in the insurrection to defend them from “sick” prosecutors and “nasty” judges. Oath Keepers? Proud Boys? Unclear. He didn’t say which insurrectionists he’s bankrolling.
Hours later, Kevin McCarthy, in Scranton, Pa., gave a prebuttal of Biden’s democracy speech in which the House Republican leader demanded that Biden apologize to MAGA Republicans for calling their ideology “semi-fascism.” “The first lines out of his mouth should be to apologize for slandering tens of millions of Americans as fascists,” McCarthy said.
Of course, Biden’s semi-fascism remark was directed at MAGA leaders such as Trump and McCarthy — not the masses they’ve hornswoggled with their anti-democratic lies. But McCarthy used a classic fascist tool: casting the powerful in-group as the persecuted.
McCarthy has tried this move before. After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called McCarthy a “moron” last year over his objections to pandemic mask-wearing, he tried to sell T-shirts that said “Moron” in big letters and (falsely) claimed Pelosi had applied the label to all “freedom loving Americans.”
Is there no limit to the authoritarians’ hurt feelings? Insurrectionists are victims. Fascists are victims. Even right-wing fashion victims are victims. A new outlet calling itself “The Conservateur” just published an equine-themed fashion spread of Lara Trump, showing her atop a horse, barefoot, wearing a "gauze gown belted with clustered pearls.” Complains the Conservateur: “Despite her beauty and accomplishments ... Lara was never interviewed by Vanity Fair, Elle, Marie Claire or any of the other fashion and lifestyle magazines.”
As the unauthorized spokesman for fashion magazines, I humbly and unreservedly apologize to the former president’s daughter-in-law for this unforgivable oversight.
While I’m apologizing, let me offer one to the insurrectionists, as Trump demanded:
I regret that the heads and bodies of police officers got in the way of your truncheons and flagpoles while you were engaging in Legitimate Political Discourse at the Capitol. I hope that you didn’t hurt your fingers while gouging their eyes, and that their blood didn’t stain your tactical assault gear; if it did, please send me the dry-cleaning bill! I am so sorry that, on your Normal Tourist Visit, you didn’t get to use your noose or all the guns stockpiled at the Comfort Inn in Alexandria. Please forgive me for previously quibbling with your plan to “hang Mike Pence” and your use of the Confederate flag in the halls of Congress. I apologize that you had to break windows and doors, climb scaffolding and rappel into the Senate chamber. My bad! Next time you want to overthrow an American election, just knock.
And here’s an apology to the semi-fascists, as McCarthy demanded:
I’m so sorry you’ve convinced millions of people to believe the egregious lie that the 2020 election was stolen. I’m sorry you are making heroes of the criminals who attacked our seat of government. I’m sorry you’re currently fomenting violence against the FBI and the IRS. I’m sorry you’re passing laws giving yourselves more power to overthrow the 2024 election results if you lose, and I’m sorry you’re nominating candidates committed to doing so. I’m sorry you don’t like it when the Justice Department enforces the law and protects national security. I’m sorry you’ve lionized Hungarian strongman Viktor Orban, and I’m sorry you say that the Democratic Party, not Vladimir Putin’s Russia, is the real enemy. I regret that you’ve taken away women’s rights. I regret that you’re banning books and censoring history lessons. I regret that you are shunning science, expertise and the truth. Above all, I’m truly sorry that, because of such things, Biden called you semi-fascists. There’s really nothing “semi” about it.