While plenty of Republicans have embraced Donald Trump because they support his hateful agenda, others have gone along for the ride mainly because of political calculations. However, with the political climate changing and the midterms less than a year away, many from this latter group are desperate to figure out a way to distance themselves from Trump without drawing attention to the fact they have skated on the wrong side of history for years.
A new strategy taking hold is about looking toward the future. This sounds good if you say it fast. The problem is these Republicans who have closely associated themselves with Trump are now trying to have it both ways, requiring everyone to look forward with selective amnesia about the past, as if the recent horror show of the Trump administration and the continuing threat to democracy is of no consequence. How convenient.
“I think… people are in the present and want to vote on what they see going on now,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told attendees at an event in Kentucky on November 8. “So, I think the election will be about the future, not about the past,” he added.
At an annual News Corp stockholder meeting on Wednesday, Chair Rupert Murdoch voiced this same strategy with Fox News’ profits and ratings in mind. “The past is the past, and the country is now in a contest to define the future,” he said. Murdoch insisted that it’s “crucial” for conservatives to play an “active, forceful role” in the “current American political debate.”
The next day, over a year after the 2020 presidential election, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel finally acknowledged the result. “Painfully, Joe Biden won the election and it’s very painful to watch. He’s the President. We know that.” Without skipping a beat, McDaniel then jumped on the “Let’s just move on” bandwagon. “I think every Republican right now should be talking about 2022. I’m not talking about anything else other than what Biden is doing to destroy our country… I think we should be talking about Joe Biden.”
Finally, there’s Chris Christie. It’s hard to turn on the TV these days without seeing Christie proclaim to one journalist or another with faux gravitas that it’s time for Trump and the GOP to move on as he promotes his book and teases a presidential run. “We can no longer talk about the past and the past elections… Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are laying ruin to this country,” Christie warned donors earlier this month. “We better focus on that and take our eyes off the rearview mirror and start looking through the windshield again.”
McConnell, Murdoch, McDaniel, and Christie have all enabled and embraced Trump and benefited from their relationship with him. Now that Trump’s Big Lie might threaten their ambitions, it’s no surprise they are desperate to redirect everyone’s attention to the clean slate of the future. However, to paraphrase the old saying, these opportunistic losers have made their bed with Trump, and so they must lie in it.