There are many ways to make money. sceneIn the most recent remake of GodzillaKen Watanabe portrays Dr. Ishiro Srizawa standing on a shoreline looking out at sea. He is surrounded with bustling soldiers. Behind him, two giant “MUTO” creatures are beating the living hell out of San Francisco. A huge ocean bulge appears in the distance at dizzying speed. It is the King of the Monsters. The general commands Serizawa to ask if Godzilla could defeat the evil that is ravaging the city. “The arrogance of men is thinking nature is in our control and not the other way around,” replies Serizawa. “Let them fight.”
This is how I’m feeling about Donald Trump and his buddies within the Proud Boys these days.
The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol building is not Trump’s only problem on that particular front; six Capitol police officers are suing him for sparking the Capitol riot, during which they were viciously assaulted, and recent court papers filed by Trump’s defense team indicate they plan to lay responsibility for the whole thing at the feet of the Proud Boys and other right-wing groups.
“Former President Donald Trump is seeking dismissal of a suit accusing him of sparking the Jan. 6 Capitol riot,” reports Bloomberg News, “arguing that speakers at political rallies don’t have a ‘legally enforceable duty of care’ to adversaries or others ‘who might find themselves in the path of impassioned supporters.’ Trump, sued in August by eight Capitol Police officers who claim they were assaulted that day, argued in a court filing that the lawsuit should be tossed out because Trump isn’t ‘vicariously liable’ for the actions of people who heard him speak at a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally before the siege.”
It ain’t “Stand back and stand by,” that’s for sure. Trump and his newest band of legal superchamps seem to be arguing that he can, in fact, yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater, and if you get your face stepped on by someone fleeing the room, well, that’s your problem. This is far less theoretical that the old legal idea. Trump is transferring the bag to the Proud Boys, his most loyal and menacing allies, with these filings.
This seems to be Trump’s attempt to find some peace between himself and his hardcore allies. This split with Proud Boys is nothing but cold-blooded, political calculus that can be seen in hundreds of courtrooms per day. They were there, Your Honor, and they went under the bus(The standard-issue fate of almost everyone foolish enough to get on their wagon to his star).
Trump parted ways with the anti vax brigades last week. It was a move that went down with them as well as a bag full of cement at a track meet. Candace Owens was Trump’s interview subject. She suggested that the vaccines were flawed or dangerous. “Oh no, the vaccines work,” he replied, “but some people aren’t the ones. The ones who get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don’t take the vaccine. But it’s still their choice. And if you take the vaccine, you’re protected. Look, the results of the vaccine are very good, and if you do get it, it’s a very minor form. People aren’t dying when they take the vaccine.”
In a Christmas Day message, Alex Jones, a vicious conspiracy monger, immediately spoke for many anti-vax brigades members in a Christmas Day address to the former president. “But now that you know that [Anthony] Fauci signed you onto a fraud, you must extricate yourself from this lie, or you will be forever known as the M.V.V.P., the Most Valuable Vaccine Pusher, and the name Trump will be associated with pure evil,” ranted Jones. “Do not go down history as Josef Mengele 2.0. Your legacy will be that a monster. Your legacy will be that a eugenicist. Your legacy will be that of a child killer, using medical tyranny.”
In the meantime, the House 1/6 Committee prepares to move into an more public phase of operation, sweeping in new testimony and evidence left and right, while Trump’s efforts to stop them have finally reached the Supreme Court. This is a moment of uncertainty and peril. The court’s 6-3 conservative bias, which includes three Justices that he personally chose, would appear to be a safe haven for the former president. Yet that same court had a number of opportunities to involve themselves in Trump’s favor during the post-election chaos, and they very deliberately wanted no part of it. It is impossible to predict where they will end up on this.
Donald Trump seems like he is running out of friends at an increasing rate. His own behavior is what is causing the distance. It’s a strange decision tree he’s climbing, and puts one in mind of the old saying: What do you call a leader with no followers? A man taking a walk.