No, that sentence above isn’t parody although it reads like it. It is fact — first reported by The New York Times
on Saturday and then confirmed by CNN
. That actually happened. In the United States of America. In 2021 (and in late 2020).
Which is absolutely terrifying.
What’s stunning to me is that this isn’t a bigger story. Yes, I understand it’s a summer weekend. And that the country is finally beginning to emerge from 16 months of lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic. And that stories about Trump (and his top allies) pushing the bounds of acceptable conduct became so common in the last four years that we may have lost our ability to be shocked by, well, anything the former President and his backers do or did.
I get it! And yet, consider, again, what we are talking about: The top aide to the President of the United States tried to get the head of the Department of Justice to launch investigations into appallingly ridiculous election fraud claims solely because the aforementioned President couldn’t (and can’t) accept that he lost the 2020 election.
That these efforts came in the run-up to the violent insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, which left more than 100 police officers injured and five people dead, make them all the more appalling. As Trump was publicly fomenting doubt in the election results — via a series of failed lawsuits and debunked conspiracy theories — his chief of staff was working privately to cajole the nation’s chief law enforcement official to resuscitate these fallacies in order to please Trump.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, got it right
when he said Meadows’ pressure campaign “underscores the depths of the White House’s efforts to co-opt the department and influence the electoral vote certification. This is a five alarm fire for our democracy.”
Yes, it is!
The danger of the constant barrier-breaking by the Trump administration over the past four years is that we normalize stories like this one about Meadows. We become inured to it because there’s just been so much of it.
To be clear: This is not normal. It is incredibly abnormal, in fact. It is an abuse of power — in the most basic understanding of the term. Period.