Even Now, Republicans Just Can’t Quit Trump
On this episode of democracy-ish, Danielle and Toure return to form (read: pissed off) and even explore their latent violent tendencies.
As more details emerge about the January 6 Capitol attack, the U.S. Senate prepares for a second impeachment trial for disgraced Florida resident Donald J. Trump.
Although they were victims of the attack, a majority of GOP senators believe the trial is unconstitutional. Why are they still defending the ex-president who cost them their governing majority?
Science is back at the White House, and Trump COVID coordinator Dr. Birx embarked on an apology tour. Can we still trust her?
Even though Donald Trump incited a violent insurrection against the American government by egging on a mob that aimed to murder our elected officials, some of those very (Republican) officials don't think his actions reach the threshold for impeachment.
Though the majority of the upper chamber voted to move forward with Trump’s second trial,
45 GOP senators voted in support of a motion declaring Trump’s second impeachment trial unconstitutional because he’s no longer president.
“Even now, they remain afraid of him,” Toure says, “and the violent tendencies of his supporters. So right now it’s likely he will not be convicted by the Senate, which means he will retain the ability to run for president again.”
Meanwhile, the bescarfed Dr. Birx is embarking on an apology tour, Danielle is binging “Bridgerton” and (thankfully) meditating to quell the heretofore untapped violent thoughts she has about Trump stans and enablers.
Yeah, we’re going there.
Episode Highlights –– Oh the Whiteness
Rewinding the 1/6 attack
The evidence that Trump incited the Capitol insurrectionists is “overwhelming,” says Toure. “More than 130 people have been arrested, and when the FBI asked them why they did this, they answered: because my president told me to.”
“They wanted to hang Mike Pence,” Danielle adds. “A man was picked up who wanted to assassinate AOC and the Speaker of the House.”
She keeps thinking that if the mob wasn’t thwarted, Republicans would tweet out what they do after every mass casualty: thoughts and prayers.
“I can't even think about what would have happened if they got their hands on an elected official,” Toure responds.
But he’s been obsessively watching footage from the riot.
“It's just a miracle that more people weren't murdered,” he says, noting the “gruesome” attack on a Capitol Police officer by a mob who beat him to death with fire extinguishers.
And yet, as he watched the new PBS “Frontline” documentary about Trump’s violent provocations –– ranging from his candidacy in 2015 to the events of January 6 –– he couldn’t help but fixate on a clip of radicalized Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt being shot by police as she attempted to vault through a window onto the House floor.
“I rewound it over and over and over,” he says.
‘This wasn’t Die Hard’
“I'm only confessing this to you, because it’s just you and me talking,” Toure jokes. “I took such joy in seeing that happen. There was a clear line. The officers were clearly overwhelmed. They were letting a lot of shit go … But there was clearly an officer, I'm pretty sure he was Black, who was like: Our mission is to protect the elected officials. If you cross this line, I’m pulling the trigger.”
His gun was in plain sight, and Babbit had been warned. But she didn’t stop.
“Maybe it makes me a bad person,” says Toure.
Danielle reserves judgment on that –– but she does know “this wasn't like the movie ‘Die Hard’ come to life. That was an actual person getting shot and killed. So I don't necessarily take solace in it, or want to watch that over and over again.”
‘Bridgerton’ over troubled water
But she does think Toure wasn’t experiencing joy –– it was actually catharsis.
“Maybe what you felt was more about the fact that in that moment, [Babbitt] was being held accountable for the violence she was perpetuating. We actually never see that happen in real life to white people. So, while I'm not gonna watch that on replay like “Bridgerton” on Netflix, I think it's important that people are held accountable. I'll let our listeners decide whether or not you're a bad person.”
Let us know in the comments and on Twitter, y’all.
“Wait, are you, like, heavy on the Bridgerton tip?” Toure asks.
Danielle has watched it “like, 18 times. It's how I disrupt the craziness we are currently living in: by pretending that if Reconstruction had been allowed to happen, Bridgerton would have been real. It’s what I play in my head.”
Republicans ‘are the mob’
We need to “stop disavowing the Republican Party of their agency,” says Danielle. “They are not afraid of Donald Trump. They are Donald Trump. They are not afraid of this mob. They are this mob.”
They fundamentally believe in white supremacy, patriarchy, racism and misogyny, she adds.
“For so long we’ve read the New York Times and the Washington Post and seen [reports] that in private, Republicans are just aghast by Donald Trump and his behavior. But they are so taken aback that –– you know what they do about it? Absolutely fucking nothing.”
In spite of the fact that Trump lost them the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, they still “double and triple down on Trumpism,” Danielle argues.
“You're absolutely right,” says Toure. “They are of Trump and he has power because they refuse to rein him in. Their actions and their words further encourage the mob to do whatever they want to do.”
‘No daylight’ between GOP leaders and followers
As of yet, nobody in the Republican party is taking a leadership position to thwart the lies and violence in a post-Trump political ecosystem.
And so the “core notion powering the rank and file Republican voter is still the big lie: that the election was stolen,” Toure adds.
“Do you believe Republicans –– not in the House because there's some QAnon wackos there –– but in the Senate, that 50 Republican senators believe the election was actually stolen? Isn't there a core fundamental difference, in that they are pretending to go along with Trump and Trumpism?”
He’s pretty sure that, if we polled Republicans in the Senate, they would all agree that Biden won.
“Is there not a fundamental difference between the two groups?”
“No, I really don't think so,” Danielle says. “I think one used violence in order to overthrow an election and the government and the other is using the still-unjust system to overthrow the government.”
This, even after they “clutching their pearls, hid under desks and barricaded themselves in their offices” when thousands stormed the Capitol.
“Once the melee was under control, they got back on the floor and six of them still voted to say the election was fraudulent,” Danielle adds. “There is no daylight between them. The only difference is in their tactics. It is not a difference of opinion or ideology.”
Birthers and blowhards
Toure feels “much of modern Republicanism is performative,” especially as we see it in leadership and the media.
“The rank and file are in a bubble, and they don't understand that, yes, Obama is American … and no, Donald Trump did not win the 2020 election. There have been several huge lies they have been sold which have animated their behavior over the last five to seven years.”
But he still remembers reporters who asked Republican elected officials whether they believed Obama was born in America –– and those GOP politicians running away from reporters.
“Literally running down the hall of Rayburn,” Danielle chimes in.
“I think it suggests they know the truth but are afraid to have the mob hear them say it. Because they must be part of the detachment from reality or they lose their Republican-in-good-standing card.”
Telling the truth would ruin their fantasy, Toure argues.
“You said Santa Claus wasn't real, so must leave child-land.”
He thinks they’re even more culpable now, because if they really believed the election was stolen, “that would justify pretty much any behavior. Perhaps not homicidal, but it would justify quite a bit.”
Hawley and Cruz, impartial hyper-partisan jurors
Of course, in 2016 Democrats believed –– “and it was found to be true,” Danielle points out –– “that there was Russian interference in the election; that Donald Trump was getting help. Did Antifa storm any capital? There's just no reasoning behind what they are saying and perpetuating.”
Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz are complicit in the actions that lead to January 6, and yet they are acting as jurors in Trump’s trial.
“That is like going to rob a bank, and then being caught, and then sitting in the jury of your own fucking trial. You are complicit!”
“It's different in so many ways,” says Toure. “Partly because the big lie came from the top, it was pressed over and over, fomented further by their media organizations.”
Trump (and Trumpism) has been building a culture of violence since his early rallies, he adds.
“They were basically mosh pits … protesters were treated violently, thrown and punched on the way out, attacked on the floor while Trump was overtly encouraging it.”
Entitlement and victimhood make a ‘weird cocktail’
The ex-president’s supporters “pumped up on the hyper-testosterone and the hyper-white supremacy Trump was selling … I'm here to give you the entitlement that you deserve and the victimhood you're used to. It's such a weird cocktail. I just think that the elected officials know better.”
“They don't,” says Danielle. “How can you both be a victim and a warrior at the same time? How can you both say we were wronged, but we're also the best?”
She assumes the elected Republicans have read the Constitution, and “they know he's been in violation of it.”
But many of them are the same politicians who thought Bill Clinton should be kicked out of office for getting a blowie in the Oval.
“But an insurrection doesn't?” she asks.
Biden’s ‘radical’ moves ... toward normalcy
Toure feels a newfound “spiritual calm with Trump out of the room and a true grownup in the White House.”
In his first week in office, Biden reversed the racist Muslim ban and the policy barring trans people in the military, and rejoined the Paris Climate Accord. He has also established nationalized standards for fighting COVID built around “listening to scientists,” Toure notes.
“Fauci and Birx are coming out saying they were muzzled. Now they can say what they really want to say without fear.”
And yet the GOP is attempting to paint Biden as a left-wing radical.
“Nothing radical is even on the table,” says Toure.
The scarves are silk but Birx’s ‘silence is complicity’
As Danielle watched Dr. Birx interviewed on “Face the Nation,” she felt a bit radical herself.
“I really want to strangle that woman. With her own fucking scarves, by the way. Okay?”
“I didn't say I wanted to kill Ashli Babbit,” Toure protests. “I just got joy from watching it. You want to murder Dr. Birx with her own scarf!”
“I mean, would I really? But with her own scarf though –– the poetry of it all,” Danielle laughs.
She was incensed by Birx’s insistence that her response team included just one full-time “support person” and a smattering of volunteers.
“You're telling us this now? After over 400,000 people are dead? Because you were running a volunteer fluff-and-fold? What the fuck?”
Danielle thinks “people like that need to be charged with a crime … because they knew what was going on behind the scenes. Your silence is complicity.”
A fate worse than death threats
Toure points out that high-ranking officials on the COVID front lines (like Fauci and Birx) have gotten death threats from the MAGA crowd. So perhaps Birx was afraid to resign and tell us the truth.
But that doesn’t mean he agrees with her decision to stroke Trump’s ego onstage and parrot his mixed signals on public health directives.
“I'm sorry. You're a doctor,” Toure says. “It's your responsibility in life to do no harm. You couldn't possibly have been in the administration and think you’re doing no harm and that leaving would not have been the moral path. Because in staying, she destroyed her reputation.”
Danielle agrees: “I don't think you should run for office without the assumption that death threats are par for the course. That's the world we are living in.
“But you know what's worse than a death threat? The actual deaths of over 400,000 Americans.”
Public ‘intoxication’ (of whiteness)
We haven’t yet seen much “true accountability for participating in the madness that is Trumpism,” Toure says.
“We are seeing the potential sheen of it in the many arrests of those who were gleefully shouting, live-streaming and taking selfies like, look, I'm in the Capitol breaking the law, wheee!”
“Oh, the whiteness of it all,” Danielle says. “I just cannot.”
Toure can’t, either: “Oh my god. It's so white. I mean, the entitlement and the victimhood.”
“It clearly is intoxicating, right?” Danielle muses. “It clearly is. But my goodness, the brashness of it.”
If anybody needs a punch in the face, it’s the QAnon “shaman” guy. But to be clear, Toure is “a lover, not a fighter,” he says.
“I'm not gonna physically attack any of them … I'm not like Danielle.”
Danielle may be a fighter, but she notes that she isn’t a real threat to Dr. Birx or anyone else.
“Everyone should be very grateful that I meditate now. I am very Zen. But yeah, I'd strangle her if I saw her in public. It's why I don't go outside.”
Toure says we’ll definitely be back next week, because we'll definitely have a country.
“Yes, but it's filled with white supremacists,” says Danielle. “Pray about it.”
Check out the frustration, rage and absurdity that was the 2020 election on democracy-ish as Danielle Moodie and Toure discuss the current state of the political climate and our country from a Black perspective.