Trump feels fallout from Capitol attack hearings as allies abandon ship | Today Headlines

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Somewhere in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Thursday afternoon, it seems entirely possible that an elderly man was sitting in front of a television screaming in rage.

Donald Trump, who spends his summers at his Bedminster Golf Club, is a television guy, a ratings guy. So the widely televised hearings of the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol hit him where it hurts.

Related: ‘Dangerous cancer’: Fourth hearing reveals how Trump’s big lie destroyed people’s lives

The former US president was reportedly glued to them – and didn’t like what he saw. While the panel presented a carefully crafted case against Trump as the leader of a failed coup, he would be furious if there was no one in the room to speak on his behalf.

Trump “listened to every audience” and became increasingly furious – to the “point of being on the verge of screaming at the television”, according to a close adviser – with what he considers the “lack of defense of his Capitol Hill allies,” reported the Washington Post.

He may be aware that while the hearings come too late to force his resignation and may or may not result in the Justice Department pursuing criminal charges, they appear to be inflicting greater political damage than anyone imagined.

Thursday’s fifth hearing served much the same in the Cannon Caucus Room which, somewhat reminiscent of an ornate grand ballroom with curtains drawn and lights on, brings a gravitas to Trump’s nailing that no trickle of media revelations or revealing memoirs box.

Photographers crowded around the witnesses just as panel chairman Congressman Bennie Thompson brought down the gavel, a now ominous sound for Trump, and spoke of a “brazen attempt to use the Department of Justice to advance the President’s personal political agenda”.

Trump’s consternation likely only intensified when Republican Liz Cheney summed up her pivotal role in the plot to overturn the election, and then another Republican, Adam Kinzinger, questioned former Department of Justice officials. Justice. “Today, President Trump’s utter disregard for the constitution and his oath will be on full display,” Kinzinger said.

Again, everything went smoothly and efficiently. There were no interruptions, objections, points of order or sabotage tactics. And that would have made Trump furious. He particularly criticizes Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, for boycotting the committee instead of giving pro-Trump Republicans a voice.

Trump told Punchbowl News, “In retrospect, I think it would have been very smart” to put more Republicans on the committee. “Republicans have no voice. They don’t even have anything to say.

McCarthy apparently bet that would allow Republicans to view the hearings as illegitimate, partisan and an attempt to distract from more pressing issues such as inflation. But the presence of Cheney, Kinzinger and more than a dozen Republican witnesses undermined that argument.

Moreover, McCarthy, who wants to be Speaker of the House of Representatives, may have forgotten that Trump pays attention to television, where the hearings are a must and will continue next month, prolonging the agony. Even if they don’t penetrate the Trump base, they penetrate Trump himself.

And his formidable political instincts – which served him well against Hillary Clinton and warned him early that Joe Biden posed the greatest threat to his re-election – will now warn Trump that the January 6 committee’s contribution to the history books threatens his hopes of a 2024 presidential election.

The hearings painted the portrait of a man detached from reality, peddling paranoid conspiracy theories and putting himself before his country. Kinzinger noted, “He was willing to sacrifice our republic to prolong his presidency. I can’t imagine a more dishonorable act from a president. They also highlighted an insensitive and cruel streak that saw him make baseless allegations with no regard for how they would ruin individual lives.

A source close to Trump told NBC News: “I look at this and say there’s no one in America watching this – even with everything going on in the world with Joe Biden – and saying, ‘ Donald Trump should be the next president of the United States. Nobody.'”

Trump’s checkered record of endorsements in this year’s Republican primary election has also raised questions about whether he still has a grip on the “Make America great again” movement. The hearings could turn it into damaged merchandise and give even die-hard Maga fans reason to seek out more eligible alternatives.

Frank Luntz, political consultant and pollster, said, “I see people are not drinking the Kool-Aid anymore. I see people walking away from Trump for the first time. His approval matters far more than anyone in the Republican Party, but he no longer controls the Republican Party. It’s the loudest voice, it has the most influence, but it loses control every day.

Trump’s main challenger to the throne is Ron DeSantis, the right-wing governor of Florida, who is winning over him in the opinion polls. A poll of 300 likely Republican voters in New Hampshire, the first presidential primary state, found 39% wanted DeSantis to be the next nominee, while 37% favored Trump, within the 5.5% margin of error. , according to the University of New Hampshire survey. Center.

Pam Roehl, attending the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference last week in Nashville, Tennessee, told The Associated Press that she still supports Trump, but finds herself increasingly in the minority among her friends who have moved on. “They’re kind of, ‘Accept the program.’ Why don’t you support DeSantis? “, She said.

If the two men clash, DeSantis could point to his Florida legislative record and be freed from the baggage of the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 insurrection. More than three decades younger than Trump, the governor would be seen as the candidate of the future as the former president keeps dwelling on the past. Trump’s big lie, it seems, could prove his great responsibility.

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