Republicans defend Trump at their own risk

Published August 15, 2023

Washington Post

Republican leaders rushed to defend Donald Trump after a Georgia grand jury levied charges against the former president for his scheme to interfere in the state’s 2020 presidential election. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy described the indictment as a “desperate sham.” Rep. Jim Jordan, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said it was a “WITCH HUNT” and that Trump “did nothing wrong.”

That reaction is unsurprising, but it’s troubling nonetheless. Yes, the legal theories deployed against Trump might be questionable. And yes, there is no doubt that Trump’s prosecution is politically motivated. (That is, unfortunately, a fact of life.) But Republicans minimize Trump’s awful scheme to overturn his defeat at their own risk.

The indictment lists in excruciating detail how Trump and his band worked to undermine the election. The effort was at times shambolic and comical (remember what looked like hair dye dripping down Rudy Giuliani’s face at a news conference?), but nevertheless, it was a serious plot to ensure Trump stayed in the Oval Office against the voters’ will.

Continue reading at the Washington Post.

Henry Olsen is a Washington Post columnist and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He was the Thomas W. Smith distinguished scholar in residence at Arizona State University for the winter/spring 2023 semester.

Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, studies and provides commentary on American politics. His work focuses on how America’s political order is being upended by populist challenges, from the left and the right. He also studies populism’s impact in other democracies in the developed world.

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