Thursday, December 16, 2021

The Coup Caucus

Information recently released from the House January 6 Committee demonstrates that Mark Meadows was at the center of Trump's attempted coup. 

The trove of documents, delivered to the select committee in recent weeks, reveals that Meadows played a pivotal role in the planning of the failed effort by some Trump supporters to overturn the results of President Biden’s election victory, either through Congress or other means...

“As the White House chief of staff, he was communicating with members of Congress, with members of the press, with the president’s family directly on the 6th; he was communicating with the organizers,” said a congressional source familiar with the Jan. 6 probe.

A report in the New York Times documents how Meadows worked with six Republican members of Congress to overturn the election: Jim Jordan, Scott Perry, Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks, and Louie Gohmert.

The men were not alone in their efforts — most Republican lawmakers fell in line behind Mr. Trump’s false claims of fraud, at least rhetorically — but this circle moved well beyond words and into action. They bombarded the Justice Department with dubious claims of voting irregularities. They pressured members of state legislatures to conduct audits that would cast doubt on the election results. They plotted to disrupt the certification on Jan. 6 of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory.

Those six Republican members of Congress are also part of the 11 whose phone and social media records have been requested by the committee. 

In addition to their work on overthrowing the results of the 2020 presidential election, those Republican members have one other thing in common: they are all members of the House Freedom Caucus. When Mark Meadows was representing North Carolina's 11th district in Congress, he was also a member - serving as chair of the caucus from 2017-2019.

I'm not going to recount all of the ways this "lunatic caucus" has disrupted our democratic processes, but it is clear that, with their embrace of chaos, they signed on as Trump enablers very early. As former member Mick Mulvaney once said, "Trump wants to turn Washington upside down — that was his first message and his winning message. We want the exact same thing." After being ousted as House Speaker by the Freedom Caucus, here is how John Boehner described them:

They can’t tell you what they’re for. They can tell you everything they’re against. They’re anarchists. They want total chaos. Tear it all down and start over. That’s where their mindset is.

Boehner went on to describe Mark Meadows as "an idiot" and he called Jim Jordan "a legislative terrorist."

Apparently, when the group initially formed, they had trouble coming up with a name.

One of the working titles for the group was the Reasonable Nutjob Caucus. “We had twenty names, and all of them were terrible,” Mulvaney said. “None of us liked the Freedom Caucus, either, but it was so generic and so universally awful that we had no reason to be against it.”

It's really too bad that they didn't go with "Reasonable Nutjob Caucus." Just like my name for them - the Lunatic Caucus - it would have been a better fit. But now we can call them by their real name: the Coup Caucus. 

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