I’m trying to think of the last time I watched a Republican official evince moral outrage at Trump in terms as hot as this and all I can come up with is a press conference Ted Cruz gave on the day of the Indiana primary in 2016. Not once since then in my memory has someone stood in front of a mic and really unloaded. There are Republicans who have criticized the president sharply, notably Romney and occasionally Ben Sasse, but they haven’t flashed any temper about it.
This dude’s had enough, and I mean enough. It’s not the viciousness directed at him or his boss, Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, that pushed him over the edge. It’s the threats now being made to a 20-year-old employee of Dominion.
And for what? For a bunch of lawsuits that increasingly play like an amateurish joke:
One of the witnesses in Sidney Powell’s new Michigan lawsuit says in a declaration he thinks there’s something fishy about election returns in Edison County, MI. Thing is, there is no Edison County in Michigan. pic.twitter.com/yZfDWMAFSP
— Jonathan Oosting (@jonathanoosting) November 30, 2020
— (((AG))) (@AGHamilton29) December 1, 2020
Ummm this isn’t my area, but can you name someone a plaintiff without their permission? This Sidney Powell lady is out of control. pic.twitter.com/WjjH2GbxIL
— LB (@beyondreasdoubt) December 1, 2020
I wonder if this guy really expects a forceful denunciation by any of the people he called out or if he’s just venting knowing that nothing will change. Loeffler and Perdue might do something pro forma for him, like put out a statement. And Trump can probably be maneuvered by reporters during a Q&A into one of those half-hearted “I disavow” comments he makes when he’s pressured to denounce a group that admires him, like the Proud Boys. But he’s not going to make a serious effort to discourage the harassment. All of the stuff happening right now — wild claims of fraud, incendiary rhetoric by influencers, intimidation by supporters — is of a piece. If the goal is to bully state officials into overturning an election then the more bullying the “better.” Trump’s spent the last month trying to convince people that a key element of American civic culture is a sham, so go figure that other elements of that culture, like the idea that one shouldn’t settle political disputes with threats, would weaken too.
If I’m not mistaken, Gabriel Sterling is a civil servant, not an elected official. That might explain why he managed a show of spine where so many others GOPers couldn’t. He’s not worried about voters costing him his job. He’s just worried about being murdered.