Profiles in cowardice: Three years after Jan. 6, GOP leaders won’t hold Trump accountable

Sen. John F. Kennedy wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Profiles in Courage” in 1956, focusing on eight U.S. senators Kennedy felt were courageous under intense pressure from the public and their own party. If you were to write a book about Republican House and Senate members in the three years since the Jan. 6 insurrection, you’d have to title it “Profiles in Cowardice.”

Just weeks before the Iowa caucuses, all the members of the GOP House leadership have endorsed former President Donald Trump. That’s the same Trump who sicced a mob on the Capitol, urging his supporters to “fight like hell.” Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a presidential candidate, was asked Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” why Republican politicians remain loyal to Trump. He replied that it’s “a combination of two emotions: fear and ambition.” 

RELATED STORY: Three years of Trump's lies about the Jan. 6 insurrection have taken their toll

That fear can be understood given the results of a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll published Tuesday. It shows that “Republicans are more sympathetic to those who stormed the U.S. Capitol and more likely to absolve Donald Trump of responsibility for the attack then they were in 2021.” That’s despite the twice-impeached former president facing 91 felony counts in four criminal indictments. The poll found:

More than 7 in 10 Republicans say that too much is being made of the attack and that it is “time to move on.” Fewer than 2 in 10 (18 percent) of Republicans say Jan. 6 protesters were “mostly violent,” dipping from 26 percent in 2021. 

The poll also found that only 14% of Republicans said Trump bears a great or good amount of responsibility for the Jan. 6 attack, compared with 27% in 2021. So it’s no surprise that Trump feels comfortable on the campaign trail where he regularly downplays the violence on Jan. 6. Yet nine deaths were linked to the Capitol attack, and more than 450 people have been sentenced to prison for their roles in it. The Associated Press reports:

Trump has still built a commanding lead in the Republican primary, and his rivals largely refrain from criticizing him about Jan. 6. He has called it “a beautiful day” and described those imprisoned for the insurrection as “great, great patriots” and “hostages.” At some campaign rallies, he has played a recording of “The Star-Spangled Banner” sung by jailed rioters — the anthem interspersed with his recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Just Security reported that special counsel Jack Smith has taken notice of “Trump’s repeated embrace of the January 6 rioters” as part of the federal case against him for allegedly plotting to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

Trump probably should have stuck to the script he read in a video released on Jan. 7, 2021. Trump was under pressure to make a statement after two Cabinet members and several other top administration officials had resigned over the Capitol violence. Trump denounced what he called the “heinous attack” on the U.S. Capitol and said:

“Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem  … America is and must always be a nation of law and order.

"The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay."

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2021

Of course, Trump couldn’t stick to that script. But the Jan. 6 attack prompted some to prematurely declare the death of Trumpism. In an opinion piece in The Hill on  Jan. 7, 2021, Glenn C. Altschuler, professor of American Studies at Cornell University, wrote:

Trumpism has been exposed for what it is: a cancer on the Republican Party and a real threat to democracy in the United States. It is in our power — starting with Republican politicians in Washington, D.C. and red states, the mass media news outlets, as well as voters throughout the country — to make Jan. 6, 2021 the day Trumpism died.

Initially, Republican congressional leaders showed some spine. The New York Times wrote:

In the days after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building, the two top Republicans in Congress, Representative Kevin McCarthy and Senator Mitch McConnell, told associates they believed President Trump was responsible for inciting the deadly riot and vowed to drive him from politics.

Mr. McCarthy went so far as to say he would push Mr. Trump to resign immediately: “I’ve had it with this guy,” he told a group of Republican leaders, according to an audio recording of the conversation obtained by The New York Times.

But within weeks both men backed off an all-out fight with Mr. Trump because they feared retribution from him and his political movement. Their drive to act faded fast as it became clear it would mean difficult votes that would put them at odds with most of their colleagues.

Just hours after the Capitol attack, 147 Republican lawmakers—a majority of the House GOP caucus and a handful of Republican senators—voted against certifying Biden’s election. Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, the current House speaker, played a leading role in the effort to overturn the presidential election results. In a radio interview he even repeated the debunked claim about an international conspiracy involving deceased Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez to hack voting machines. 

On Jan. 13, 2021, the House voted to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection, but only 10 House Republicans supported the resolution. Only two of them remain in Congress. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy read the writing on the wall: He made a pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago on Jan. 27 to bend the knee to Trump. He realized that he never would become House speaker without Trump’s support. Trump’s Political Action Committee Save America put out this readout of the meeting:

“They discussed many topics, number one of which was taking back the House in 2022,” the statement read. “President Trump’s popularity has never been stronger than it is today, and his endorsement means more than perhaps any endorsement at any time.”

The Senate impeachment trial represented a last chance to drive a stake into Trump’s political career because conviction would have kept him from holding office again. Seven Republican senators voted to convict Trump, but the tally fell 10 votes short of the two-thirds majority required for conviction.
McConnell voted to acquit Trump. In his Feb. 13 speech to the Senate, he said Trump “is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events” of Jan. 6. He suggested that Trump could still be subject to criminal prosecution: “We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former Presidents are not immune from being held accountable by either one.” 
In 2023, McConnell stayed quiet when asked for reaction to Trump's criminal indictments. But McCarthy and other Republicans joined in defending Trump and criticizing prosecutors. On Aug. 14, 2023, after Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis announced her racketeering and conspiracy indictment against Trump and 18 allies for allegedly trying to overturn the presidential election results in Georgia, McCarthy posted:

Justice should be blind, but Biden has weaponized government against his leading political opponent to interfere in the 2024 election. Now a radical DA in Georgia is following Biden’s lead by attacking President Trump and using it to fundraise her political career. Americans…

— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) August 15, 2023

Trump has now made the outlandish claim that he’s immune from criminal prosecution over his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election because he was serving as president at the time. In a brief filed last Saturday to a federal appeals court, Smith warned that Trump’s claims “threaten to undermine democracy.”

The events of Jan. 6 were a warning that Trump and his MAGA cultists really don’t believe in the Constitution. McKay Coppins, who wrote a biography of Mitt Romney, wrote in The Atlantic that the Utah senator wrestled with whether Trump caused the downfall of the GOP, or if it had always been in play:

Was the authoritarian element of the GOP a product of President Trump, or had it always been there, just waiting to be activated by a sufficiently shameless demagogue? And what role had the members of the mainstream establishment—­people like him, the reasonable Republicans—played in allowing the rot on the right to fester?

The feckless Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has been a weather vane of what’s been happening within the GOP. During the 2016 campaign, he dismissed Trump as a “kook” and “race-baiting bigot” unfit to be president. Then Graham stuck his head up Trump’s posterior once the reality show host became president. On Jan. 6, 2021, Graham declared he had “enough” of Trump and voted to confirm the election results. But in February 2021, Graham made a pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago to make peace with Trump. Graham’s remarks at the time proved to be quite prescient:

"If he ran, it would be his nomination for the having …" Graham told The Washington Post. "Because he was successful for conservatism and people appreciate his fighting spirit, he's going to dominate the party for years to come.” 

Recently, Graham even defended Trump’s presidential immunity claim on CBS’ “Face the Nation”:

“Now, if you're doing your job as president and January 6th he was still president, trying to find out if the election, you know, was on the up and up. I think his immunity claim, I don't know how it will bear out, but I think it's a legitimate claim. But they're prosecuting him for activity around January 6th, he didn't break into the Capitol, he gave a fiery speech, but he's not the first guy to ever do that.”

After Jan. 6, some ultra-right Republicans tried to portray what happened as a largely peaceful protest and absolve Trump of any blame. Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia said many of the people who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 behaved in an orderly manner as if they were on a "normal tourist visit." Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar blamed the violence on left-wing activists, calling it an “Antifa provocation.”

But now the fringe conspiracy theories have moved into the party’s mainstream as MAGA Republicans have gained influence in Congress. As speaker, McCarthy granted then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson exclusive access to 42,000 hours of Jan. 6 security footage. Carlson used the footage for a show that portrayed the riot as a peaceful gathering. “These were not insurrectionists. They were sightseers,” Carlson said.

Trump claimed Carlson’s show offered “irrefutable” evidence that the rioters had been wrongly accused of crimes and called for the release of those jailed on charges related to the attack, the Associated Press reported. In the December Republican presidential debate, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy pushed the conspiracy theory that the Jan. 6 attack looked “like it was an inside job” orchestrated by federal agents.

Trump has pushed these “deep state” conspiracy theories in filings by his lawyers in the case brought by Smith accusing Trump of attempting to overturn the 2020 election results, The Washington Post reported. The Washington Post-University of Maryland poll found that 34% of Republicans believe the FBI organized and encouraged the Jan. 6 insurrection, compared with 30% of independents and 13% of Democrats.

In a CNN Town Hall in May, Trump said he had no regrets about what happened on Jan. 6 and repeated the Big Lie that the 2020 election “was rigged.” Trump has also portrayed Ashli Babbitt—the Jan. 6 protester who was fatally shot by police as she tried to force her way into the House chamber—as a martyr. He has cast the jailed Jan. 6 insurrectionists as “patriotic” heroes. That should raise alarm bells because there’s a dangerous precedent. After his failed 1923 Munich Beer Hall putsch, Adolf Hitler referred to Nazi storm troopers killed in the attempted coup as blood martyrs. It took Hitler a decade to become chancellor of Germany in 1933.

RELATED STORY: 100 years after the Munich Beer Hall Putsch, Trump is borrowing from Hitler's playbook

As we mark the third anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection, Trump is on a faster track to become president again, aided and abetted by right-wing news outlets and social media platforms like Elon Musk’s X.

Biden understands the growing threat to American democracy. That’s why he’s following up his Friday speech in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, about democracy on the brink with an advertising push starting Jan. 6. In the Biden-Harris campaign’s first ad of 2024, Biden says: “Now something dangerous is happening in America. There’s an extremist movement that does not share the basic beliefs in our democracy. All of us are being asked right now, what will we do to maintain our democracy?”

RELATED STORY: Trump attorney leans on Supreme Court to repay their debt to Trump

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Hypocritical Republicans follow the new script in the wake of Trump’s latest indictment

When it comes to Republican lawmakers, hypocrisy knows no bounds, especially when it comes to Donald Trump. With rare exception, they either loudly support the MAGA cult, or are afraid to challenge it—so much so that the GOP should probably be renamed POT (Party of Trump), as in “the GOP has gone to POT.”
In the wake of Trump’s fourth criminal indictment—brought Monday by Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis, charging Trump and 18 associates with racketeering in a plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election—elected Republicans have predictably jumped to Trump’s defense. The Georgia indictment follows the federal indictment brought by special counsel Jack Smith on Aug. 1, charging Trump with conspiring to subvert American democracy by scheming to reverse Joe Biden’s presidential victory.
Incredibly, the latest talking point for Trump defenders is that if Democrats want to ensure Trump, the current GOP frontrunner, isn’t elected president in 2024, they should let it happen at the ballot box rather than in the courthouse.
This script ignores entirely that so many of Trump’s legal issues stem from the fact that he wouldn't concede that the previous presidential election had been decided at the ballot box.

Nearly three years after Americans voted him out of the White House, Trump continues to push the Big Lie. He’s even hosting a press conference Monday, promising a “complete EXONERATION” that will prove his tired claims of fraud. Trump has also backed election deniers in races for key state offices (fortunately, most have lost) that could help undermine voters in 2024. Americans have no guarantee that he wouldn’t push the replay button on the well-documented “fake electors” scheme of 2020 in the face of another loss to Joe Biden in 2024.

Nevertheless, in a Wednesday appearance on The Hugh Hewitt Show, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas embraced the script.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR): “It would be much better from [the liberals’] point of view…if they try to stop [Trump] the ballot box…as opposed to having rabid zealots like Jack Smith or partisans like Alvin Bragg and the woman in Atlanta…try to take him out of contention.”

— The Recount (@therecount) August 16, 2023


“I understand that the Democrats and liberals in the media can’t stand Donald Trump and they’ll  do anything to stop him. But it would be much better from their point of view and the point of view of the country if they try to stop him on the campaign trail and at the ballot box. And let the American people make these choices as opposed to having rabid zealots like Jack Smith or partisans like Alvin Bragg and the woman in Atlanta make these decisions for them — to try to take Donald Trump out of contention.”

Notice how Cotton dismisses and disrespects DA Willis, not even referring to her by her name or title. 

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But Cotton was not sharing an original thought. His comments echo those made by other GOP lawmakers who have rushed to use similar talking points to defend the indefensible Donald Trump, without even considering the details of the indictments against him.

As South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Fox News on Tuesday:

“The American people can decide whether they want him to be president or not. This should be decided at the ballot box and not in a bunch of liberal jurisdictions trying to put the man in jail. They are weaponizing the law in this country. They are trying to take Donald Trump down and this is setting a bad precedent.

Are we going to let county prosecutors start prosecuting the … former president of the United States? You open up Pandora’s box to the presidency. This whole exercise of allowing a county prosecutor to go after a former president of the United States will do a lot of damage to the presidency itself over time. To my Democratic friends, be careful what you wish for.”

RELATED STORY: Lindsey Graham makes the most moronic Trump defense yet and gets slammed

It’s possible Graham’s position as a U.S. senator saved him from being among the many co-conspirators indicted by Willis. Fulton County’s Trump investigation did look into a November 2020 phone call that Graham made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, where Graham attempted to cast doubt on the state’s signature-matching law for mail-in ballots.

But back to the script. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas had this to say in a social media post on Xwitter:

“The indictments of Donald Trump are all about how Democrats don’t value democracy & the democratic process. Dems fear that if the voters can decide fairly in 2024 they will reject Joe Biden’s disastrous record.”

Sure, Rafael.

Cruz even went so far as to play reporter from outside the Fulton County courthouse Monday night (and promote his podcast) on Fox News’ “Hannity” show. Cruz chased soundbites with a stick mic as he waited for indictments against Trump and his co-conspirators to be handed down.  

Ted Cruz reacts to the Georgia grand jury indictments: "I'm pissed...We've never once indicted a former president...This is disgraceful...It is an abuse of power by angry Democrats who've decided the rule of law doesn't matter anymore."

— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) August 15, 2023

Cruz, of course, led the Senate effort to reject electoral votes for Biden from Arizona and Pennsylvania on Jan. 6, 2021.

Meanwhile, HuffPost reports that Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the lead manager in the House’s second impeachment trial of Trump, ridiculed the notion that the justice system should step aside while Trump seeks a second term in 2024.

Raskin told HuffPost:

“Wouldn’t it be great if you could never prosecute anyone for trying to overthrow an election that they lost, because then they can keep trying to overthrow elections? Didn’t Ted Cruz go to Harvard Law School? Gee, you would have thought he would have had a little more faith in the American justice system than that.”

Raskin noted that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution bars from office anyone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States. Even some conservative legal scholars have concluded that the language disqualifies Trump from holding office, though their scholarship has obviously had no effect on Trump’s 2024 campaign.

RELATED STORY: Conservatives want to bar Trump from ballot under the 14th Amendment? Get in line

Let’s check in with Republican congressional leadership!

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California again reverted to his cherished talking point about the “weaponization of government” against Trump, overlooking the fact that weaponizing the government is exactly what Trump did with Attorney General Bill Barr’s Justice Department during his administration—and Cotton hinted to Hewitt that Democrats could expect as much from Republicans in the future. 

McCarthy was up late Monday night, and took to Xwitter when the Fulton County indictments dropped. “Biden has weaponized government against his leading political opponent to interfere in the 2024 election,” McCarthy wrote. “Now a radical DA in Georgia is following Biden’s lead by attacking President Trump and using it to fundraise her political career.”

Justice should be blind, but Biden has weaponized government against his leading political opponent to interfere in the 2024 election. Now a radical DA in Georgia is following Biden’s lead by attacking President Trump and using it to fundraise her political career. Americans…

— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) August 15, 2023

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, has put his head in his tortoise shell.

Roll Call reported Tuesday that McConnell has remained quiet regarding Willis’s indictment; Spectrum News in Kentucky noted the same on Wednesday.

Recall what McConnell said when he decided to vote to acquit Trump after his second impeachment trial in February 2021.

“President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office as an ordinary citizen,”  McConnell said. “He didn’t get away with anything. Yet.”

"We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation," he continued. "And former presidents are not immune from being accountable by either one."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, both New York Democrats, issued a joint statement Monday evening.

“As a nation built on the rule of law, we urge Mr. Trump, his supporters and his critics to allow the legal process to proceed without outside interference,” they said.

HuffPost offered this reaction from Democratic Rep. Nikema Williams, whose district includes most of Atlanta.

“We fully intend to beat the former president at the ballot box but this is about accountability, giving the people who show up to vote confidence that their will be counted,” Williams said Tuesday on a press call organized by the nonprofit Public Citizen.

The last word goes to Willis, who rejected claims by Trump and other Republicans that her prosecution was politically motivated.

"I make decisions in this office based on the facts and the laws," Willis said. "The law is completely nonpartisan. That's how decisions are made in every case."

Democrat Adam Frisch raises $2.6 million in 2nd quarter for 2024 rematch against Lauren Boebert

Democratic challenger Adam Frisch has raised more than $2.6 million in the second quarter for his rematch against MAGA Republican extremist Rep. Lauren Boebert in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. Frisch almost pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the 2022 midterms when he lost to Boebert by a mere 546 votes in what surprisingly turned out to be the closest House race in the country. 

Frisch’s campaign, in a statement released Thursday, described the second-quarter fund-raising haul of more than $2.6 million as “shattering the record for the largest quarterly fundraising for a U.S. House challenger in the year before an election, excluding special elections and self-funded campaigns.”

The campaign said the average donation was just over $32 coming from over 81,000 individual donations from all 27 counties in the district and all 50 states. He is not accepting donations from corporate PACs.

RELATED STORY: After voting against infrastructure, Lauren Boebert dimly wonders why we don't spend more on it

In the statement, Frisch, a businessman and former Aspen city council member, thanked everyone who had donated to his campaign “to give the people of Southern and Western Colorado a representative who will take the job seriously and work across the aisle to find solutions to the problems facing the district.”

“Boebert continues to vote against the interests of her constituents while devoting her time to ‘angertainment’ antics that do nothing to help CO-3," Frisch said. "We can do better than Boebert, and thanks to our generous supporters, we will defeat her in 2024.”

Honored and humbled. Thank you to everyone of you who has donated, RT'ed, messaged, and joined this growing coalition. We are just getting started!

— Adam Frisch for CD-3 (@AdamForColorado) July 6, 2023

So far this year, Frisch has raised $4.4 million which is nearly two-thirds of the $6.7 million he raised for the 2022 campaign, much of which came in during the final weeks of the campaign after polls showed the race to be competitive.

In the first quarter of 2023, Frisch’s campaign brought in nearly $1.75 million compared to just over $763,000 for Boebert. Boebert has not yet reported her second-quarter fund-raising totals.  She raised $7.85 million for the 2022 campaign.

Frisch filed his paperwork for a 2024 rematch with Boebert on Feb. 14.

“People want the circus to stop. They want someone to focus on the district, not on themselves,” Frisch said. He added that the issues in CD3, such as water, mental health, agriculture, and the importance of domestic energy, are not “red and blue."

— Adam Frisch for CD-3 (@AdamForColorado) February 16, 2023

Boebert is considered the most vulnerable of the big-name MAGA Republican extremists in the House, most of whom represent deep-red congressional districts. Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District is rated as +9 GOP.

By contrast, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene won reelection by a 66% to 34% margin over Democrat Marcus Flowers in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District even though part of Democratic-leaning Cobb County was added to her district as a result of gerrymandering to give Republicans a bigger advantage in neighboring districts. Flowers raised more than $15.6 million in a totally noncompetitive race.

In 2022, both national parties mostly ignored Colorado's Republican-leaning 3rd Congressional District, which was considered solidly Republican by nearly all election forecasters.

In April, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee listed Boebert as among the Republican incumbents it considers most vulnerable. House Republicans have also put Boebert on their list of most vulnerable incumbents.

At the time, DCCC spokesperson Tommy Garcia told the website Colorado Politics in an email:

“Lauren Boebert is more obsessed with catching headlines and being the token MAGA extremist than actually working for everyday Coloradans. Between her dangerous conspiracies and outright racist bigotry, CO-03 voters can see that Lauren Boebert is an unserious member of Congress, unwilling to go to bat for them on issues facing Colorado. Her time in Congress is ticking down.”

A poll released in April by a Democratic firm showed that Boebert and Frisch were in a dead heat in the 3rd Congressional District, Colorado Politics reported.

The Global Strategy Group's Mountaineer poll, conducted March 29-April 2 in partnership with liberal advocacy group ProgressNow Colorado, found Boebert and Frisch tied at 45% each among likely voters, with the remaining 10% split between voters who are undecided and those who say they plan to vote for someone else. Cook Political has shifted the district to Leans Republican from Safe Republican.

Despite her razor-thin victory margin, Boebert has done little to tone down her extremism in the new Congress. Boebert was among about 20 extreme right-wing House Republicans who opposed Kevin McCarthy’s speakership bid until the very end. She also pushed for the House to vote on a resolution to impeach President Joe Biden—a move that McCarthy dismissed as “premature.”

Frisch still has his work cut out for him. This time he doesn’t have the advantage of surprise, and turnout will be greater in a presidential election year. As a national figure, Boebert can raise lots of funds from MAGA Republicans across the country.

The last Democrat to represent Colorado’s largely rural 3rd Congressional District was three-term Rep. John Salazar, who lost his bid for reelection in 2010.


Watch this amazing breakdown of Republican antics on the House floor

Freedom Caucus members are turning on each other

Republican disarray is somehow, miraculously, getting worse

Trump teased a run for months, announced his candidacy—and then hid in his room, former aide says

I think we all know why former President Donald Trump is running again in 2024: to keep his ass out of jail. Trump is dogged by indictments and subpoenas, and although he may have dodged two impeachment bullets, federal district attorneys aren’t so easy to outrun.

Despite his many legal issues, Trump and his BFF, hubris, announced his candidacy from his Florida manse.

“In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump told an eager crowd at Mar-a-Lago in mid-November.  

RELATED STORY: Now that he’s out, let’s be truthful: Walker was a giant embarrassment for Black Americans

Fast-forward to December and aside from a now-infamous dinner the former president shared with two other antisemites, he’s barely left his bedroom, a 2020 Trump campaign adviser told CNN.

“So far, he has gone down from his bedroom, made an announcement, gone back up to his bedroom, and hasn’t been seen since except to have dinner with a White supremacist,” the unnamed adviser said, adding, “It’s 1000% a ho-hum campaign.”

Just three days after Trump made his lackluster announcement, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to oversee not one but two ongoing criminal investigations against the former president.

As for polling on Trump’s support for 2024, it appears he’s just a bit ahead of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 36% to DeSantis’ 30%. But a Quinnipiac poll suggests that Republicans prefer DeSantis as their candidate over Trump.

And Republicans smell blood in the water. It seems nearly everyone, from former Vice President Mike Pence to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy—along with scads of others—have all condemned his dinner with Kanye “Ye” West and his buddy, notorious Holocaust-denier Nick Fuentes. When you add that nearly every single candidate Trump endorsed lost in the midterm elections, it’s not looking great.

But here’s that hubris again as Trump goes into full denial mode, confidently telling his advisers that the backlash over the dinner is “dying down.”

Trump’s campaign team tells CNN their candidate is simply “taking a breather.” And an unnamed adviser told the outlet:

“The question a lot of us have is can Trump sustain a campaign for two years? That’s the real difficulty here. The pacing we’re seeing right now is designed to do that.”

Breather or not, the Trump of 2015—with all the vim and vigor of a white supremacist hoping to take control of the nation—seems to have dimmed. What Trump can’t face is that politics are fickle. When you’re hot, you’re hot; and when you’re not, you’re Trump.