January 6 hearings, abortion fallout cast shadow over Trump comeback hopes

WASHINGTON — It’s a lesson bettors have long learned the hard way: never assume the impending political demise of a certain Donald Trump.

But the double whammy of Congress’s investigation into the Capitol Hill riots and the seismic impact of Roe vs. Wade raises new doubts about Trump’s powers of persuasion.

« Trump is unfit to be close to power again, » the editorial board of the right-wing weekly Washington Examiner, a publication long respectful of the former president, wrote this week after Tuesday’s surprise committee hearing. January 6.

The hearing was called at the last minute to present the revelations of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who described in shocking – if not surprising – detail Trump’s state of mind in the past few days and hours of his unfortunate presidency.

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

« Republicans have much better options for leading the party in 2024. No one should think otherwise, let alone support it, ever again. »

Hutchinson, a 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, unfazed by the fact that many of them were armed — « they’re not here hurt me,” she heard him say.

She described hearing officials say that Trump ordered the Secret Service to take her to the Capitol, and that he rushed the wheel of the presidential SUV, and even the neck of a member of his security service. security, when these orders had been refused.

And she recounted how White House attorney Pat Cipollone desperately tried to have the president resign, only to be told by Meadows that Trump seemed indifferent to the impending peril facing his vice president, Mike Pence.

« Mark had replied something like, ‘You heard it, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it,' » Hutchinson said.

The select committee issued a subpoena Wednesday night for Cipollone, a longtime Trump loyalist whose appeals to Meadows and others that day included the warning that « we’re going to be charged with every crime imaginable. « if the president ventured to the Capitol.

It was another installment of an investigation that ignored the procedural, posed approach of congressional hearings in favor of a carefully measured, serialized style of storytelling that has made television a staple of five hearings so far. day.

« They’ve done a really good job of laying things out, » said Paul Beck, a professor of political science at Ohio State University, noting that the absence of Republicans loyal to Trump on the committee allowed for a stronger narrative. streamlined to unfold.

Hutchinson, he said, « has no interest in being honest and has done a good job of distinguishing between the things she saw firsthand and knew, and the things she had heard ».

Trump predictably tried to discredit Hutchinson’s story, describing it as « lies » and « fabricated stories » and Hutchinson herself as a « false social climber. » Whether that will impact his near-confirmed plan to seek the 2024 presidential nomination is another matter, Beck said.

« I think there’s some evidence of that, although it’s very slight – there’s been some movement in the polls, » he said.

The fans « are still pretty strong in their support for him. I think there’s reason to believe that, you know, that support is eroding. But has it been eroded enough? We’ll have to wait and see. . »

The most immediate concern for Republicans and Democrats is abortion and the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe, a fundamental precedent for courts in the United States and around the world, and a benchmark for human rights champions. breeders since 1973.

Trump, who gave the court the conservative majority needed for last week’s ruling, posted a message on his Truth Social platform celebrating the ruling as « the biggest WIN for LIFE in a generation. » But The New York Times reported that he privately fears it will be « bad for Republicans » in the long run.

President Joe Biden seems to agree: Asked Thursday at a press conference in Madrid about the deep pessimism of American voters, he couldn’t talk about it fast enough.

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

« If the poll data is correct and you think this court decision was an outrage or a material mistake, vote. Show up and vote. »

Polls suggest a majority of Americans think the Supreme Court went too far with a ruling that Biden framed as a threat to other privacy-based freedoms, like same-sex marriage and contraception — exactly that. as the doctor ordered Democrats trying to salvage furniture amid a tough shoulder season.

Whether Biden, who remains wary of his plans to run again, will face his old foe or a new face in 2024 remains to be seen, Beck said.

“You get the feeling that a lot (of Republicans) like what Trump has done, but not necessarily who he is,” Beck said.

“There is support for Trump, no matter how lewd his activities, for political reasons. Can any other Republican get that kind of support? Probably…but we still have to realize that we are two years away from that. ‘a presidential campaign, and a lot can happen in that period of time.

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

James McCarten, The Canadian Press


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