How the defense of Trump foretells a possible new GOP era of extremism

There’s a strong political case for Republicans to ignore Donald Trump halfway through a midterm primary season that’s seen his influence over voters wane. But as the January 6 hearings hit prime time, the ex-President’s thunderous demands for loyalty and the hunger for power of his acolytes in the House mean that’s not an option.

Trump’s demand for, and the GOP’s willingness to offer, a robust defense into what are expected to be damaging details of his complicity in a coup attempt are deeply revealing about his future political intentions and the former President’s control over his party. The evolving plan to hit back against the committee on behalf of Trump also exposes the hypocrisy and the ambition of key House Republican leaders who whitewash Trump’s role in the history of the January 6, 2021, insurrection to advance their own careers.

It offers a foreboding reality check 17 months after the Capitol insurrection about how the House Republican conference has chosen the promise of future political advancement over the protection of American democracy.

  • The committee is expected to mount a devastating case about Trump’s behavior as he tried to steal the 2020 election in the run-up to and during the January 6 assault on the Capitol, which he incited and didn’t act to stop as lawmakers ran for their lives.

There are potential pitfalls for Republicans who stand with Trump as the lurid tale of violence, lies and autocratic power grabs is told again for the American people and for the benefit of history. The evidence could be so damning that those who seek to discredit the hearings will find themselves defending the indefensible — a dark moment of the American story that is so heinous it will live in infamy.

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