It’s a fine insight into Trump’s mind that, to him, the “pussy” option in this case involved Pence doing the right thing knowing that it would make him a lifelong mortal enemy to literally millions of hardcore MAGA lunatics like the people who smashed up the Capitol. Mike Pence and his loved ones won’t sleep comfortably for a single night for the rest of their lives because Pence chose not to participate in a coup. He upheld the law realizing it would put him at risk of being murdered — and it did, on the very day he made his intentions clear.
That’s the “pussy” option, supposedly.
Mr. Trump was enraged that Mr. Pence was refusing to try to overturn the election. In a series of meetings, the president had pressed relentlessly, alternately cajoling and browbeating him. Finally, just before Mr. Pence headed to the Capitol to oversee the electoral vote count last Wednesday, Mr. Trump called the vice president’s residence to push one last time.
“You can either go down in history as a patriot,” Mr. Trump told him, according to two people briefed on the conversation, “or you can go down in history as a pussy.”
Here’s how much of a pussy Mike Pence is:
Mr. Pence was already in his motorcade to the Capitol by that point. When the mob burst into the building, Secret Service agents evacuated him and his wife and children, first to his office off the floor and later to the basement. His agents urged him to leave the building, but he refused to abandon the Capitol.
He was the mob’s prime target, he surely knew it, and he wouldn’t leave the scene regardless because it would have been cowardly and showed poor leadership. The first piece of legislation on Biden’s desk on the 20th should be a bill providing lifetime Secret Service protection for Pence and his children.
Today it’s House Republicans’ turn to decide whether to be patriots or pussies. Guess which way most of them are voting. Hint: Not the Mike Pence way.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) is calling on House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) to be removed from leadership for announcing her plans to vote to impeach President Trump for inciting last week’s riot at the Capitol…
“When Representative Cheney came out for impeachment today, she failed to consult with the Conference, failed to abide by the spirit of the rules of the Republican Conference, and ignored the preferences of Republican voters,” Rosendale said in a statement Tuesday.
“She is weakening our conference at a key moment for personal political gain and is unfit to lead. She must step down as Conference Chair.”
Imagine having to vote on whether the president inciting a crazed mob to attack Congress is impeachable and deciding that people who think it is are the ones who are unfit to lead. You can see Jordan’s mind tracking the same way as Trump’s did with respect to Pence: In their imaginations, it’s *beneficial* to a high-ranking Republican politicians to pit themselves against Trump on a high-stakes matter like certifying Biden’s victory or impeachment. In reality, Pence’s career is over and his life is under threat and Cheney has probably wrecked any chance she had of ever leading the Republican caucus.
That Rep. Tom Cole is leading House R’s on the floor against impeachment is an important symbol. Despite push from some ‘institutionalist’ like Cheney and McConnell to wrest the party from Trump, Cole is himself a GOP institutionalist & can give cover to trad’l GOP members.
— amy walter (@amyewalter) January 13, 2021
It’s stupid beyond belief for these nihilist morons to rally against a Republican who’s repudiating Trump at a moment when Trump’s job approval has begun to crater and when the odds of a MAGA-driven bloodbath on Inauguration Day are high and rising. I can’t even find the words to capture how morally bankrupt it is to not just oppose Cheney on the impeachment vote but to try to punish her by stripping her of her leadership role for having done the right thing under serious threat of personal and career reprisal. It’s one of the most evil things I’ve ever seen in congressional politics. If they want to isolate her, just explain why her vote is wrong on the merits and be done with it.
But that’s a hard case to make, that she’s wrong to support impeachment, and it’s going to be even harder a week from now. Just look at where we’ve arrived as a country:
The Capitol Visitor Center really is a scene I can't say I ever imagined I'd see.
(And I know from hours and hours of standing on these marble floors for stakeouts they are NOT a suitable sleeping surface) pic.twitter.com/BCBkhgXGws
— Jeremy Herb (@jeremyherb) January 13, 2021
What does Jim Jordan care how many people get shot in Washington on January 20 by an insane mob incited by stolen-election propaganda pushed by him and his friend, the president? He cares about his House seat. If demagoging Cheney is what’s required to hold it, that’s what he’ll do, the country be damned.
That’s the sort of thinking that earned him the Medal of Freedom from the propagandist-in-chief a few days ago.
Here’s what Cheney (and the four other pro-impeachment House Republicans) is dealing with today as Jordan merrily knifes her to grandstand for MAGA voters:
Crow is right. Numerous House Rs have received death threats in the past week, and I know for a fact several members *want* to impeach but fear casting that vote could get them or their families murdered.
Not spinning or covering for anyone. Just stating the chilling reality. https://t.co/K523T9oP91
— Tim Alberta (@TimAlberta) January 13, 2021
I’m totally sympathetic to any member who’s worried for their family, but if they’ve reached the point where they feel coerced into using their vote to appease a domestic terrorist faction lest harm come to those they love, the most honorable option available to them is to resign and tell the public why. Don’t cast that vote. Don’t let Trump’s mob extort you into doing something dishonorable. Just quit and make sure Americans know that some of their representatives can’t properly represent them right now because they fear reprisals from a Trump-led extremist horde. If our legislators can’t do their jobs responsibly anymore due to fear then the obvious solution is for Congress to appropriate money so that every member and their children have a 24/7 security detail. That’ll require a lot of bodyguards, but then a lot of Americans are out of work right now. It’ll be a nice jobs program.
And by the way, every Democrat in the House chamber who’s voting for impeachment today is also under threat and they’re willing to do their duty. Apart from Pence, there was probably no higher target for the terrorists who stormed the Capitol last week than Pelosi, Ocasio-Cortez, and other members of “the Squad.” They’re all voting for impeachment regardless. So what excuse do Republicans have not to follow their lead? When did this become the party of terrorist appeasement?
I’ll leave you with this as a gloss on how House Republicans are thinking today. The glass-half-empty view is that it’s abysmal that 40 percent of the party would nominate Trump again in 2024 even after all this. The glass-half-full view is that he’s clearly been damaged; before the Capitol attack, I would have pegged him as closer to 80 percent in a Republican primary than 40. He’s not going to be viable as a national candidate in 2024 as a twice-impeached ex-president who incited a mob that nearly murdered legislators. Unless, that is, the country’s even further along in its collapse than I believe.
Donald Trump 40%
Mike Pence 18%
Ted Cruz 7%
Nikki Haley 6%
Donald Trump, Jr. 6%
— Willie Geist (@WillieGeist) January 13, 2021