It’s weird to get a glimpse into the inner workings of a cult.
The Talking Points Memo website provided such a rare window on Monday, publishing dozens of text messages sent and received by former Donald Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows in the days before and after the Jan. 6 failed coup attempt. The messages were primarily between Meadows and members of Congress.
It was a pathetically sad collection of correspondence, with grown, adult men clinging to insane ideas, wholly unrealistic – and oddly childlike – plans and astoundingly undemocratic, anti-American rhetoric. All of it built around their odd and disturbing worship of an indecent, amoral narcissist who was willing at every turn to destroy America in exchange for remaining in power and improperly enriching himself and his family.
In other words, it was the typical correspondence between cult members.
The ringleader – both as described by his colleagues and gleefully embraced by himself – was Alabama’s outgoing (thank God!) Congressman Mo Brooks.
When contacted by TPM, Brooks was proud to find out that he was referred to in a text message exchange between Trump campaign advisor Jason Miller and Meadows as the Jan. 6 “ringleader.”
Honestly, it was probably the highlight of Brooks’ dozen years in the House. Having never passed a single piece of sponsored legislation, it is the only time he’s ever led anything.
It’s just Alabama’s luck that it was a coup.
Actually, luck had nothing to do with it. Brooks wasn’t elected and re-elected because he’s a smart, thoughtful leader who takes an academic approach to the very important issues plaguing his constituents and uncharacteristically got involved in this Jan. 6 ordeal by mistake. He was elected because of racism. He screamed the loudest about Black and brown people, made insane comments about a “war on white people” and generally acted like a buffoon anytime a camera light came on.
That appealed to the gerrymandered district he represents. And you know the rule: When you elect a clown, you should expect a circus.
Alabama provided the ringmaster for the one on Jan. 6, and judging by the arrests and convictions since, we also provided a number of the participating clowns.
But in this circus, oddly enough, we were not alone. Or, amazingly, the worst.
Those Meadows’ text messages show a disturbing number of Republican lawmakers talking openly about undermining the election process. Setting up fake electors. Stopping the electoral vote count. Even encouraging Trump to declare “marshall law,” allowing the military to take over and keep him in power. Fortunately they couldn’t even spell martial law.
In case you’re wondering, that’s the traditional definition of a coup.
It’s a shame that Democrats and the Merrick Garland-led Department of Justice have so thoroughly botched the investigation into Jan. 6. Because there’s enough information and evidence – obvious, clear, irrefutable evidence – to have caused a massive shift in public opinion and the national political climate.
But somehow, we’re running up on two years later now, and vital info – such as the Meadows’ texts – is just now trickling out. The guy responsible for it all has been allowed to skate on numerous felony charges for a variety of illegal acts and he’s now officially running for president again, making his indictment and prosecution on any of the charges a much more complicated matter.
If only Democrats and the other sane members of Congress had a fraction of the gall of House Republicans, who are right now planning expedited hearings into a private citizen’s nude pics.
Instead, there will be much angst and hand-wringing, and I suspect very little will be done to punish those who facilitated the coup attempt. Through outright lies. Through the willful distortion of basic information. Through the subversion of the election process. Through their stoking of fear and anger among the populace over matters that they knew to be untrue. And through their downplaying of the events of that day ever since.
These people and this Trump cult nearly destroyed America. We’ve seen clear evidence of their crimes and of their lunacy.
It sure would be nice if they paid a price.