Republicans’ theatrical production in recent weeks has been infuriating to watch. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy started the first act by giving Fox News’ Tucker Carlson exclusive access to sensitive footage from Jan. 6, despite — or more likely, because of — the TV personality ridiculous record to cover up the insurgent attack on the Capitol in an irresponsible way.
Naturally, the California Republican exploited the movement by turn it into a fundraising appeal – claiming he was advancing “truth and transparency about partisan games”, when he was clearly do the opposite.
The Fox host aired the second act of his show last night, doing exactly what everyone knew he would do: Carlson handpicked images which was designed to bolster the counter-narrative the controversial TV personality has been pushing for two years.
This, of course, set the stage for the third act: many Republicans, sticking to the partisan script, take advantage of Carlson’s predictable coverage to advance their predetermined agenda.
Take Donald Trump, for example.
Two years ago, the former president saw political advantage in condemning the attack and the rioters who targeted the Capitol at his request. In time, Trump finally stood up for the insurgents, embraced them, offered them forgiveness and even recorded a weird song with some of them.
But Carlson’s show gave the former president a whole new reason to drop the pretense he tried to maintain in the aftermath of the Capitol violence. Last night, for example, the Republican took to his social media platform damn the January 6 committee’s investigation as a “scam”, adding that “‘Trump’ and most others are completely innocent”. (I don’t know why he referred to himself in the third person with quotation marks around his name.)
Shortly after, the former president praised McCarthy for helping create the program, before adding“An entirely new and completely opposite picture has now been painted indelibly. The screening committee lied and should be prosecuted for their actions.
This morning, he went even further. The Washington Post reported:
Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued to express his solidarity with the mob that swarmed the US Capitol more than two years ago, writing in a social media post, “LET THE JANUARY 6 PRISONERS GO. THEY HAVE BEEN CONVICTED, OR AWAITING TRIAL, ON THE BASIS OF A GIANT LIE, A RADICAL LEFT JOB,” Trump wrote on Truth Social, his social media platform.
Insofar as reality always plays a part in the discussion, Trump’s claims were completely bonkers, but some of his GOP allies have begun to push the same line. Even before Carlson’s program ended last night, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, for example, accused the bipartisan select committee that investigated the attack for “lying to America”, adding: “They must be held accountable”. Around the same time, Rep. Mike Collins, also from Georgia, posted a tweet who said, “I’ve seen enough. Release all J6 political prisoners now.
Democratic Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii said NBC News yesterday: “Electorally, it’s not to their advantage to be on the side of the insurgents. But that didn’t stop them before.
Obviously, that’s not stopping them now either.
In all fairness, it is important to point out that many other Republicans, especially in the Senate, not have took a Trump-like stance on Carlson’s cover. Some GOP senators this morning rejected the Fox host’s findings in frank terms.
But the House Republican Conference is nonetheless help promote Carlson’s segment, and the former president seizes on it to demand the release of the alleged criminals.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pronounced ground remarks this morning, accusing the Fox host of telling “shameful lies” and broadcasting “one of the most shameful hours we’ve ever seen on cable TV”. The New York Democrat went to say Carlson sided with the “enemies of democracy.”
Unfortunately, Carlson is apparently not the only one.