They should man up and own it.
And yet for their role in Wednesday’s seditious acts, not a whit of personal responsibility is anywhere to be found. In a video released Thursday evening, President Trump claimed to be “outraged” by the mob he himself had beset upon the Capitol. “It is not your fault. It is their fault” came the appalling apologia of Fox News host Tucker Carlson, with the ambiguous “their” seemingly referring to Democrats. Cruz more explicitly blamed random Democrats. Other right-wing personalities and Republican leaders claim the attempted coup was really the work of far-left antifa, even though Capitol rioters were on camera chanting “Trump” and “Stop the Steal” and carrying the Confederate flag.
Let’s review the tape.
Some, such as former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), shrugged off such openly banana-republican remarks, insisting that although Trump “says crazy stuff,” the president would of course concede gracefully if he lost. Sometimes allies, such as Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), pivoted to talking about judges. Sometimes they even egged Trump on: The day after the president said there wouldn’t be a transfer of power, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) tweeted: “In the spring, stores sold out of hand sanitizer and toilet paper. This fall, they sold out of ammo.”
When it became clear that Trump had indeed lost and refused to concede (gracefully or otherwise), these same Republicans indulged his delusions.
“What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change,” one unnamed Republican official told The Post in November.
When, in December, Post reporters asked all 249 sitting Republican lawmakers who had won the presidential election, 220 refused to answer.
Things soon devolved. As it became clearer that the base had bought into Trump’s conspiracy theories, and believed the election had been “stolen,” Republicans transitioned from merely ignoring this mass paranoia to fanning the flames.
Republican officials claimed they were merely asking questions about the election system’s integrity. There’s so much distrust that they had to investigate now! Never mind that Trump and other GOP cranks had sown the distrust themselves. No matter that dozens of court cases about these “questions” had been thrown out — including by Trump-appointed judges.
Suddenly GOP lawmakers were tripping over one another to propose faux-populist “fixes” to the nonproblem of their leader’s creation. They announced plans to object to election results in states Biden had won. Some even explicitly advocated use of force, with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) saying after an unfavorable court ruling that “violence in the streets” might be the only option left to prevent Biden’s inauguration.
Not all of their followers understood these cosplay coup attempts to be purely performative.
Then on Wednesday, politicians cheered on the bloodthirsty D.C. crowds who might someday donate to their 2024 campaigns. Trump was already fundraising oodles off his “Stop the Steal” grift; why shouldn’t they, as well? Indeed, just as insurrectionists were storming the Capitol, both Cruz and Hawley campaigns sent out fundraising texts.
These arrogant demagogues thought they were merely playing to the mob, as they’ve been doing for the past four years. It apparently never occurred to them that the mob might someday come for them, too.
And now they have the gall to blame antifa, Democrats, Biden? Take some responsibility for what you’ve done.
Some are born responsible, some achieve responsibility, and some have responsibility thrust upon them. If Republicans will not voluntarily accept accountability, then the ballot box must force it upon them. Name, shame and eject all these traitors from office.