Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Springtime In Berchtesgaden

Charlie Pierce:

Well, this is just impossibly adorable. From CNBC:

The leading Republican Senate fundraising group handed former President Donald J. Trump its inaugural “Champion for Freedom Award”… Chairman Sen. Rick Scott of Florida handed the small silver award to Trump — who was dressed as if he just walked off the golf course — on Friday at the ex-president’s club in Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

A participation trophy! How lovely. Did they take him and the other kids on the team to Burger King after the ceremony? Forgive my cynical soul if I wonder if there is going to be a second Champion For Freedom award next year.

The former president*, of course, responded completely in character.

A day after getting his award, Trump reportedly lashed out at McConnell as the former president was speaking to a group of Republican donors at Mar-a-Lago. Trump claimed that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., would have overturned the election results if a Democratic candidate stood to gain. “If that were Schumer instead of this dumb son of a b— Mitch McConnell, they would never allow it to happen,” Trump told the crowd at the event, which was held by the Republican National Committee. “They would have fought it.” A source told NBC News that Trump griped that “a real leader” never would have accepted the Electoral College results showing he lost.

Trump also went after McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, who resigned as Trump’s Transportation secretary a day after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, where supporters of the then-president rampaged through the halls of Congress, disrupting proceedings that were confirming Biden’s victory.

“I hired his wife,” Trump griped. “Did he ever say thank you?”

“She suffered so greatly,” Trump said sarcastically.

They don’t know what to do with him. I can’t recall from history a figure who simultaneously is both so widely loathed, widely feared, and widely influential as El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago is at this moment. The odd thing is that his influence is largely made up of the reputation of influence. Until it’s demonstrated in elections all over the country, it consists mainly of what people say it is. Which is why they went out of their way to stroke the ingrate’s enormous ego with a little silver tchotchke that he can hang on the wall in his fake Oval Office between his Time Person of the Year cover, and his Michigan Man of the Year plaque.

I like to think that the Republicans who flock to Palm Beach are doing it for their own selfish reasons — an election endorsement to fend off a ravening primary challenge in the manner of Marjorie Taylor Green — mixed with the same kind of nodding reassurance that those of us who have lived with people in the fog of dementia are told to do: be nice, be tolerant, don’t contradict, and let them talk. If they actually believe that the former guy really did win the election and that there was massive voter fraud on a galactic scale, then the rest of the country is going to deal with them, but not like we’d listen to Uncle Fluffy tell us once again how he beat the krauts in the Battle of the Bulge.

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