Trump aides, Fox News stunned by Hutchinson testimony about Trump

Yeah, sorry, I already watched this movie on January 7, 2021. All of Trump’s enablers were shocked, shocked to find gambling going on in here on that day too. And within a week, after they realized that the Republican base’s main problem with the putsch is that it didn’t succeed, they were all quietly back on Team Loyalty.

The only thing that’s different between now and then is the rise of Ron DeSantis, providing a potential escape hatch from the cult this time. But if, God forbid, DeSantis falters and we end up with Trump as nominee again, they’ll all find ways to rationalize Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony today. Better the autocrat than the Democrat.

Ninety-five percent of the explanation for the “stunned” reactions is reputation-laundering, frankly. Check out Mark Meadows’s predecessor, pretending to be surprised and appalled by the behavior of a loose cannon whose behavior he observed closely for more than a year:

Anonymous Trump advisors are whispering to CNN that they’re also stunned to find that Donald Trump had a violent temper at a moment when he was very publicly in the grip of a narcissistic mania about losing power:

“This is a bombshell. It’s stunning. It’s shocking. The story about ‘The Beast’ — I don’t have words. It’s just stunning,” said one Trump adviser, referring to the presidential limousine.

“This paints a picture of Trump completely unhinged and completely losing all control which, for his base, they think of him as someone who is in command at all times. This completely flies in the face of that,” the adviser added.

The Trump adviser, who was in a group text chat with several other Trump aides and allies as the hearing played out, said that “no one is taking this lightly.”

“For the first time since the hearings started, no one is dismissing this,” the adviser said.

One Trump ally called the hearing a campaign commercial for DeSantis 2024. According to CNN, another former aide told them that “while Tuesday’s testimony was crazy, it’s also 100% believable given what this person knew after working in the White House.” The Times is seeing backpedaling from Trump aides too:

Many of these human barnicles have doubtless already sized up the 2024 picture, concluded that DeSantis is a better bet than Trump, and are looking for excuses to make the jump from Mar-a-Lago to Tallahassee. That same dynamic may be happening at the grassroots level with the January 6 hearings: Voters who are already inclined to switch sides as a matter of personal preference may be seeking a rationale to justify doing so to ease the sense of “disloyalty” they feel. For the consultant class, Hutchinson’s testimony about the limousine incident may be a convenient pretext to make their move. “I knew he was capable of trying to stage a coup to remain in power but I had no idea he might assault a Secret Service agent. That’s my red line!”

Whereas, for Republican voters, the logic will be, “I don’t believe a word Cassidy Hutchinson said … but I bet some swing voters will, so I guess we’d better go with DeSantis.”

Fox News — well, Bret Baier, at least — is also giving the Trump faithful a noseful of bad vibes today:

He called Hutchinson’s testimony “jaw-dropping” elsewhere. But have no fear: Tucker will be on tonight to reassure everyone that the real insurrection was Stephen Colbert’s film crew being caught after hours in a congressional office building and that Cassidy Hutchinson once posted something approving of the vaccines on Instagram, so how can anyone trust her?

House Republicans, arguably the biggest and most cowardly rodents in this entire saga, are also pretend-shocked:

Meanwhile, just 10 out of 200+ of them voted to impeach Trump last year and all 10 are likely to be ex-congressmen next year. When Liz Cheney’s primary challenger, Never Trumper turned Trump sycophant Harriet Hageman, announced her candidacy in Wyoming, more than a hundred of Cheney’s colleagues co-sponsored a fundraiser for Hageman.

Pelosi could call another snap impeachment vote this afternoon based on Hutchinson’s testimony and she’d likely get fewer Republican votes than she did in January 2021. Apart from the 10 who supported impeachment at the time, who recognized that that was the right thing to do and had the nerve to act on it, they’re trash one and all.

HuffPost spoke to one of the Capitol Police officers who defended the building that day following today’s hearing:

“Our own president set us up,” Gonell said, presumably referring to Hutchinson’s claim that Trump didn’t care that his rallygoers were carrying weapons. Alex Holder, the filmmaker who spent time interviewing the Trump family before and after January 6 and who recently gave evidence to the committee, told a British paper today that Eric Trump, for one, was fine with raising the risk of violence via casual incitement about rigged elections. “When I asked Eric about the potential danger of sort of rhetoric and the sort of the belligerence, he felt that it was … fair game in that it … was sort of the equivalent on the other side of the political discourse, or he felt that it was the right thing to do … because the election was stolen,” Holder said.

The whole team is no worse than a 50/50 shot to be back in the White House in three years. And next time, no one with a scintilla of integrity will be allowed into the West Wing. Job one will be making sure there aren’t any Cassidy Hutchinsons around who might later break the code of omerta.

I’ll leave you with this, in which Melania Trump’s former press secretary (previously Trump’s press secretary) recalls one of their final conversations on January 6.

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