Hearings Jan. 6, abortion fallout casts long shadow over hopes of Trump comeback

WASHINGTON – It’s a lesson punters learned the hard way long ago: Never assume the imminent political demise of a certain Donald Trump.

But the double whammy of the congressional investigation into the Capitol riots and the seismic impact of Roe v. Wade is raising new questions about Trump’s powers of persuasion.

“Trump is not fit to be anywhere near power anymore,” the editorial board of the right-wing weekly Washington Examiner, a publication that has long been respectful of the former president, wrote this week, following Tuesday’s surprise committee hearing on January 6th.

The hearing was called at the last minute to showcase revelations by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who described in shocking, if not surprising, detail Trump’s state of mind in the final days and hours of his ill-fated presidency.

That hearing “confirmed a damning portrayal of Trump as unstable, unmoored, and utterly indifferent to his sworn duty to effect a peaceful transition of presidential power,” the editorial continued.

“Republicans have much better options to lead the party in 2024. No one should think otherwise, let alone support it, ever again.”

Hutchinson, special assistant to the president and chief of staff Mark Meadows, told the committee that Trump seemed desperate to join his supporters on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, undeterred by the fact that many of them were armed: “They’re not here”. to hurt me,” he heard him say.

She described hearing from officials that Trump had ordered the Secret Service to take him to Capitol Hill, and that he lunged for the steering wheel of the presidential van, and even the neck of a member of his security team, when those orders were refused. .

And he recounted how White House counsel Pat Cipollone desperately tried to get the president to resign, only to be told by Meadows that Trump seemed indifferent to the imminent danger facing his vice president, Mike Pence.

“Mark had responded something like, ‘You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it,'” Hutchinson testified.

The select committee issued a subpoena Wednesday night for Cipollone, a longtime Trump loyalist whose pleas to Meadows and others that day included the warning that “we will be charged with every crime imaginable” if the president ventures to the Capitol.

It was yet another installment of an investigation that has disregarded the serious, procedural approach of congressional hearings in favor of a carefully measured and serialized style of storytelling that has made television unmissable in all five hearings to date.

“They’ve done a really good job of laying things out,” said Paul Beck, a political science professor at The Ohio State University, noting that the absence of Republican Trump loyalists on the committee has allowed a more simplified narrative to develop. .

Hutchinson, he said, “has no self-interest to be honest, and he did a good job of distinguishing between the things he saw firsthand and knew, and the things he had heard.”

Trump, unsurprisingly, has tried to discredit Hutchinson’s story, describing it as “lies” and “fabricated stories” and Hutchinson herself as a “phony social climber.” Whether it will affect his all but confirmed plan to seek the presidential nomination in 2024 is another question, Beck said.

“I think there is some evidence for that, although it is very slight, there has been some movement in the polls,” he said.

Fans “remain pretty strong in their support of him. I think there’s reason to believe that, you know, that support is eroding. But has it eroded enough? We’ll have to wait and see”.

The most immediate concern for both Republicans and Democrats is abortion and the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe, a seminal precedent for courts in the US and around the world, and a pole star for Americans. reproductive rights advocates since 1973.

Trump, who gave the court the conservative majority needed for last week’s decision, issued a post on his Truth Social platform celebrating the ruling as “the biggest WIN FOR LIFE in a generation.” But the New York Times has reported that he privately fears it could be “bad for Republicans” in the long run.

President Joe Biden seems to agree: When asked Thursday during a Madrid news conference about the deep-seated pessimism among American voters, he couldn’t bring it up quickly enough.

“The only thing that has been destabilizing is the outrageous behavior of the United States Supreme Court in overturning not only Roe v. Wade, but also challenging the right to privacy,” Biden said.

“If the poll data is correct and you believe this court decision was an outrage or material error, please vote. Show up and vote.”

Polling suggests most Americans believe the Supreme Court went too far with a decision that Biden has cast as a threat to other privacy-based freedoms, like same-sex marriage and contraception, just what the doctor prescribed for democrats trying to save the world. furniture in the middle of a difficult intermediate season.

It remains to be seen whether Biden, who remains defiant about his plans to run again, will face his old nemesis or a new face in 2024, Beck said.

“There is a sense that a lot of (Republicans) like what Trump did, but not necessarily who he is,” Beck said.

“There is support for Trump no matter how obscene his activities are, politically motivated. Can another Republican pick up that kind of support? Probably… but we still have to realize that we are two years away from a presidential campaign, and a lot can happen in that time frame.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 2, 2022.


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