The past several weeks of farcical hearings initiated by the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 attack have displayed the lengths to which the American political left will go to in their efforts to derail the prospects of a second Trump administration.
The hearings began with a June 9 televised hearing on prime-time TV that was carried by virtually every major network in the United States. Holding them when television viewership is at its highest for the day was obviously no accident, as an audience of at least 20 million Americans tuned in to watch, according to Nielsen.
The initial hearing included, among other things, a dramatic performance from Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney. She attempted to sell the American people on a Trump-designed and initiated “seven-part plan” to overturn the results of the 2020 election and tried to tie the actions of pro-Trump groups like the Proud Boys at the Capitol directly to the then-sitting president.
Over the next few weeks, the committee would grasp at straws. Allegations would be leveled that then-president Trump was well aware that he had lost the election. Former attorney general William Barr, meanwhile, accused the former president of becoming “detached from reality,” despite the fact that there was sufficient evidence of irregularities related to the administration of the election.
Perhaps nothing presented at the hearings was quite as sensational as the claims made last week in the sixth and final hearing by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to then–White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Among the claims made by Ms. Hutchinson was that then-president Trump tried to force his Secret Service detail into driving to the Capitol while the protests were still ongoing. Upon their failure to comply, she alleges, he grabbed at the steering wheel of the presidential limousine and reached for the throat of the man in charge of his Secret Service detail, Bobby Engel.
In an interview last week with Newsmax TV, former president Trump responded to the claims made by Hutchinson against him.
“The woman is living in fantasy land,” said Trump. “She’s a social climber, if you call that social. I think it’s just a shame that this is happening to this country, and we don’t have any Republicans up there to dispute it. We have one who quit — [Adam] Kinzinger — [and] we have another one who’s down by 35 points in Wyoming [Rep. Liz Cheney]. She’s a total disaster, she’s a train wreck, but think of it. Nobody to cross-examine.”
Trump also alluded to an important point made in the immediate aftermath of last week’s hearing. Members of the Secret Service detail assigned to him were never asked to corroborate the claims made by Hutchinson, and further to the point, the agents are willing to testify that Trump did not lunge for the wheel of the presidential limousine or physically attack the chief of his security detail.
“They put her on, and they don’t even confirm it with the Secret Service. The Secret Service people in the car said this didn’t happen, but you don’t even need that. Who would do that? I would grab a Secret Service person by the throat?” Trump explained.
The fact is, these hearings have been as one-sided as a Harlem Globetrotters-Washington Generals game. Especially as the question of potential perjury by Hutchinson is considered, it raises the question: where is the pushback by the House GOP leadership to these theatrics? Leadership at the very top of the party — namely, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy — has been largely absent.
The top Republican candidate to retake the White House in 2024 has had his name dragged through the mud, based largely on hearsay and innuendo, and little is being done to counter these attacks. The fact that the U.S. House Select Committee was allowed to be constructed with a 7-2 Democrat advantage, and permitted significant time on the congressional calendar and prime-time TV hours on what amounts to nothing more than an anti-GOP infomercial, is inexcusable. And this was all allowed to happen mere months in advance of what may be the most consequential midterm elections in a generation.
This should be a clear indictment of the leadership skills of the man favored to be the next speaker of the House should the GOP retake control of the House of Representatives as expected this coming January. Why didn’t McCarthy insist on a better-balanced January 6 Select Committee? His failures have become so blatantly obvious that even the liberal media have called him out on them.
All of this considered, the GOP needs to do some serious soul-searching in advance of potentially voting to name a new GOP House speaker this January. McCarthy has now failed the conservative base when it matters most, just as social issues and recent Supreme Court rulings motivate the Democrat base and cast doubt on GOP chances to retake Congress in November. The party must certainly find a better option to lead the House should the previously expected “red wave” crash against the electorate.