The day, just two weeks before the transfer of power on Jan. 20, was historic in multiple ways. But one milestone was especially noteworthy: It turns out even Trump can find himself rudely splattered by the muck of Trumpism.
Even he can be burned by the essential bargain of the Republican Party in the Trump Era: Just play along with the spectacle, and enjoy the material and psychic rewards of power.
“This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people,” Trump pleaded in a video released as the Capitol was under siege by Trump-backing insurrectionists trying to halt the attempted certification of the presidential election. “So go home. We love you. You’re very special.”
It was as if Trump himself was taken aback by the revelation that at least some his backers don’t realize his presidency is the political equivalent of pro wrestling — lots of puffing and bluster and body slams designed as entertainment. It’s like those guys took him seriously a few hours earlier at a “Stop the Steal” rally to repeat his claims that “our election victory” was “stolen by emboldened radical-left Democrats” and the news media, and taunting everyone in his own party from his vice president on down who does not agree with him.