July 23, 2022

January 6th Hearing: Real Republicans Standing Tall

by Hal Gershowitz

Comments Below

Of course, this week’s witnesses, Matthew Pottinger and Sarah Matthews will be trashed as RINO’s (Republicans in Name Only), which, today, simply means any Republican who refuses to worship at the altar of Trump…who, by any historical measure, really is a Republican in Name Only.

Most of the witnesses who have testified in these hearings have been committed, life-long, honorable Republicans, each of whom has put honor and integrity ahead of blind loyalty to the Party, or more succinctly, to the man who controls the Party. The verb controls is used advisedly rather than leads because what the former President is doing is the antithesis of leadership. Donald Trump is, to his devotees in 21st century America, as the unforgiving Pied Piper was to his followers in 13th century Hamelin. The consequences are likely to be similar.

Horrified by what they saw and heard in the West Wing of the White House on January 6th, 2021, Pottinger and Mathews resigned that evening rather than be associated with the tragic events of the day and the man who was responsible for the chaos and bloodshed at the Capitol. As a former assistant to Mark Meadows, Cassidy Hutchinson acknowledged at the prior June 28th hearing, all of the chaos was because of a long-planned and carefully curated lie. It was a lie, and everyone in the White House knew it.

Trump Svengali, Steve Bannon, had revealed the planned calumny to a gaggle of cronies just before the 2020 election. He is heard in a now famous audio recording revealing, “…That’s our strategy. He’s gonna declare himself a winner.” Bannon told the group that the plan was that Trump would declare victory on election night—even if he were losing. Bannon explained that Trump knew that the slow counting of Democratic-leaning mail-in ballots meant the returns would show early leads for him in key states. The strategy was to use this fact to assert that Trump had won while claiming that the inevitable shifts in vote totals toward Joe Biden would result from fraud. Bannon also predicted that Trump’s false declaration of victory would lead to widespread political violence, along with “crazy” efforts by Trump to stay in office.

As it has always been, Trump’s time-worn, adolescent tactic is to simply trash anyone who stands in his way or is critical of him. Whether it was John McCain, Mike Pence, or January 6th witness Cassidy Hutchinson, who worked directly for White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the West Wing, he trashes them. Following Hutchison’s testimony on June 28th, she was predictably described by the former President as a “terrible employee,” a “total failure,” and whose “biggest job duty with us was making sure we had Diet Coke in the kitchen.”

Following efforts by Trump and his sycophants to tear down Cassidy Hutchinson after her testimony in June, Ms. Matthews tweeted, “Anyone downplaying Cassidy Hutchinson’s role or her access in the West Wing either doesn’t understand how the Trump White House worked or is attempting to discredit her because they’re scared of how damning this testimony is.”

This week’s witnesses, Mathew Pottinger and Sarah Mathews, will be harder to trash. Pottinger is a former Marine who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan during three combat deployments and served as deputy national security adviser in the Trump White House. He is simply as American as the stars and stripes, a Sousa march, and apple pie.

Sarah Matthews had previously interned for Republican Senator Rob Portman and former Republican House Speaker John Boehner. She became press secretary of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and was later hired by the Trump presidential campaign in 2019. Matthews became White House deputy press secretary in 2020.

Pottinger, whose credentials as a serious Republican and an outstanding American are above reproach, knew enough was enough when Trump savaged his extraordinarily loyal vice president. “One of my staff brought me a printout of a tweet by the President, and the tweet said something to the effect that Mike Pence, the vice president, didn’t have the courage to do what he—what should have been done,” Pottinger said. “I read that tweet and decided at that moment to resign. That’s when I knew I was leaving that day; once I read that tweet.” Pottinger understood the depth to which the former President was willing to sink in order to stay in office. Sarah Matthews will be even harder to trash as she served as a spokeswoman for Trump’s reelection campaign and then was hired as deputy press secretary in the Trump Administration.

There are, of course, other Republicans who understood where to draw the line between loyalty to the Party and loyalty to the country and to the constitution. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone knew where to draw the line, as did Republican Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, Rusty Bowers, Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and Republican U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr. Then there was Trump’s director of the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency, Chris Krebs, who the former President fired as soon as Krebs declared the election one of the securest ever. They and many others, while highly partisan, were not corruptible. Even Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Bill Stepien, walked away from the former President because he, perhaps more than anyone, knew that Trump’s claim of election fraud was simply another baseless calumny.

Also noteworthy were the scores of judges, including many Republicans and many appointed by Trump, who would not bend to Trump’s or Bannon’s shenanigans, including U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols, who presided over the just-completed trial that found Steve Bannon guilty of Contempt of Congress.

History will treat Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger well. They are genuine Profiles in Courage who understand that party loyalty sometimes demands too much. Country, they understand, comes before Party, especially when Party stands with those who plot against the country and the constitution.

All comments regarding these essays, whether they express agreement, disagreement, or an alternate view, are appreciated and welcome. Comments that do not pertain to the subject of the essay or which are ad hominem references to other commenters are not acceptable and will be deleted.

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35 responses to “January 6th Hearing: Real Republicans Standing Tall”

  1. Richard Compton says:

    Very excellent essay. I only hope the truth is exposed to those in the bubble that is Trumpism. I keep posting articles and essays over Jan 6, policy and current events. But nothing is more important than the eventual realization by the general public as a whole what actually was done to subvert democracy.

  2. Susan Duman says:

    If you could take charge of the political mess in our country, your readers would be most appreciative. Where do we go from here?

  3. John Gunderson says:

    Excellent analysis and assessment. The former President is, in fact, the Rino as his plan all along was to win at any cost with more lies. All the credit goes to those who wish to expose that strategy. How many patriotic Republicans have to stand up and come forward before Trumpism tactics will ultimately be discredited?

  4. Jamie Kabler says:

    Hal, this is your best
    Well done!

  5. Kristin McInnes says:

    The real RINOs are Trump and those in Congress who stand by him like groveling sycophants. Authoritarian is not synonymous with Republican. It’s sad and pathetic that so many people have allowed themselves to be brainwashed and gaslighted by the most dishonest criminal to have ever occupied the White House.

  6. Leslie Usow says:

    It is your best- and you’ve had some pretty sensational columns Thank you

  7. Peggy says:

    Always a great column–my concern is that Voters need to wake up, this is a battle for our democracy. It would be interesting poll to see how many Republicans want a democracy. With Steve Bannon’s plans at the local level taking place, we are on a very dangerous path.

  8. Joanne hirschfield says:

    All of the trump bashing gave us Biden! Are you happy now?

    • Maureen Vagelakos says:

      Yes

    • Ray Dean Jansma says:

      You bet. Do I think Biden’s doing a good job? Absolutely not. Do you honestly think Trump was better? Then ask yourself this question, “If Joe Biden and done 1/10th of the things Donald Trump did during his presidency, would you approve those actions? If you say “yes,” you’re either so jaded as to believe the Republicans are always right, no matter what. Or, you’re simply not being honest.

    • Ray Dean Jansma says:

      You bet. Do I think Biden’s doing a good job? Absolutely not. Do you honestly think Trump was better? Then ask yourself this question, “If Joe Biden and done 1/10th of the things Donald Trump did during his presidency, would you approve those actions? If you say “yes,” you’re either so jaded as to believe the Republicans are always right, no matter what. Or, you’re simply not being honest.

  9. Joanne hirschfield says:

    All of the trump bashing gave us Biden! Are you happy now?

    • Prover Stephen E. says:

      Yup.

    • Deborah Baker says:

      I would still vote for Biden over trump. Yes, he’s having a tough Presidency. He doesn’t control much of what he’s being blamed for. And if trump were still President, he’d be wrestling the same issues—except Ukraine. He wouldn’t have lifted a finger to help Ukraine—he’d have helped hand it over to putin. The stock market was due to come down because it goes up and down. The backup at the ports had multiple players and causes. I love having respect, kindness, and orderliness back in the White House. The chaos of trump was exhausting. He ruined relationships with our Allies and embraced autocrats. January 6th is directly attributable to 45 and he needs to be charged with attempting to overthrow the Constitution. Let’s be clear. He is a Domestic Enemy and he violated his oath of office. He cares about no one but himself. He does not love this country.

      • AFS says:

        I would have voted for Biden also, it’s not like we had much of a choice! I can’t imagine the mess this country would be in had Bannon’s plan played out the way they thought it would. For those who say why are we still talking about 1/6 let me tell you this, we can not sweep 1/6 under the rug like the rest of Trumps atrocities! Jan. 6 was a direct attack on out democracy! The attack on our capital was one of the worst days in American history Trump would have lead the charge if his secret service detail wouldn’t have stopped him. He wanted anyone who didn’t back him “removed”, deliberately continuing the lies his delusions wanted as truths. His thugs were known white supremacy groups, that’s who he called on to do his dirty work. He knew they were armed! So yes , we are still talking about 1/6 this is what a separates the “men/women from the boys/girls” you look tyranny in the face and expose the truth! That is what the Jan. 6 committee is doing. Without the committees findings there would still be doubt as to what involvement Trump and his cronies had. It’s sad but many of the people who needed to watch these hearings still had their heads buried in the armpit of Trump and refused to watch!
        Biden was handed a cesspool when he took over and the Republicans have made it impossible to get anything done with their continued filibusters. We used to have adults in the roles of our Representatives now we have Crips and Bloods who only can see their own small visions and refuse to do what is best for the whole! I remember a time when the “parties” used to work for the good of the Country, now they only work (I use that word lightly) for their Party!

  10. Trip says:

    I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on how the party system will change in America. Will anyone move to the center or will there be increasing pressure to move to the extremes. Will we move from a 2 party system?

  11. Michael says:

    Hal

    With everything going on in this country and the world, why the continued obsession with 1/6. We get it! You think was a reprehensible event.

    But it may surprise you to know that there are other important things happening in the world.

    May I suggest you get treated for your TDS – Trump Derangement Syndrome. You can rail against Trump the person all you want. I truly hope he does not run again

    But I am thankful for the three Supreme Court justices he appointed – even more so after hearing Kagan’s outrageous comments this week.

    I think Trump was on to something on identifying the breast of China and the Abraham Accord was a good thing. We also would not have left BILLIONS in weapons to our enemies and we also wouldn’t be suffering from the intentional actions of misguided policies pursuing an realistic green agenda.

    All of this is out there but nary a peep from Hal. It’s 1/6 and more 1/6 from the Hal Channel. What a shame. Perhaps you don’t have the capacity to address other critical issues.

    This week, there will be a flood of bad news on the economy. Why don’t you prove to your readers that you have the ability to comment on issues affecting all of us on a day to day basis.

    And as someone who knows and has supported Adam Kinzinger, he has embarrassed himself with his sophomoric comments.

    • Steve says:

      It’s amazing how some people always want to talk about things that have nothing to do with the subject of the essay.

  12. Stuart Goldfine says:

    How about Biden bashing? Name anything positive that Biden has done. He is the worst President since Jimmy Carter. Both have peanut brains.
    Tell everyone about his dirtball son, Hunter Biden, and why he has not been indicted or jailed. If he were Trump’s son, he would have been lynched.

    • Lloyd Levin says:

      Stewart – disagreement on policy or direction is totally acceptable. But your lack of respect for the individual, the human being, is totally unacceptable! If our country and its’ political leadership continue on this path, we will loose our democracy!

  13. Stuart Goldfine says:

    Lloyd, wake up. We are losing our democracy under the Democratic regime. And how much respect has Trump been given by the Democrats? He has been vilified, impeached twice, and now they want to indict or impeach him again.

  14. Perry Altshule says:

    It amazes me. We don’t accept the truth.
    Donald Trump will do anything to maintain his trumped up lies. He will gladly throw his most loyal supporters, until now, under the bus
    His megalomaniacal rants and his obviously proven lying are an assault against democracy.
    I disagree wit Liz Chaney’s policies but find her a great American
    We need more if the great Americans that believe in a two party system and Democracy to stop and think about the fact that this man is tearing the fabric of the America we all love to shreds
    With sadness
    Perry

  15. Margie Kulp says:

    If nothing more could come of all of this than Ms. Chaney’s closing remarks, that would be almost good enough for me. She noted that all of the hearings put together have shown that Mr. Trump should NEVER be allowed to hold office of any kind again!

  16. Rick Gordon says:

    I appreciate your columns – always thoughtful – and I agree with the vast majority of your views. Regarding the Jan. 6th committee – the presentations that I most appreciate are the 1st person testimonies by those in and around the actual situation. The presentations I least appreciate are the partisan members of the committee going on and on about the event and activities before/after. I believe the committee has made a significant contribution to the national debate – especially the 1st person material. The material would have been twice as good if Pelosi had allowed for a fully bipartisan committee.

  17. Harriet Bernstein says:

    Murdocks papers New York Post and Wall Street Journal in editorials concur in Margies statement

  18. Carol Frankel says:

    With all the factual and irrefutable evidence against Trump, what is taking US Attorney General Merrick Garland so long to indict him? The wheels of justice do move slowly indeed.

  19. Tom Kelleher says:

    Excellent! As a retired History teacher who does have faith in our democratic institutions, I only hope this and the many other essays you wrote in this vein will encourage many more true Republicans to step up and squash this dangerous trumpian movement.

  20. sheila says:

    Just for the record, it was Kevin McCarthy who pulled his nominees on the Jan 6 Committee after Pelosi nixed Jim Jordan and Jim Banks. Pelosi was perfectly within her right not to accept Committee members whose intent would be to disrupt and destroy. She wanted this Committee to reveal the unfettered truth — and that, it did. By the way, there are 2 Republican members on the Committee, which makes it bi-partisan.

  21. This is one of your best articles. Jeff and I always enjoy reading everything you write says:

    This is one of your best articles. Jeff and I always enjoy reading everything you write

  22. Ray Galante says:

    Cheney & Kizinger define honesty and objective political positions. Both deserve future roles in Congressional leadership.

  23. Shirley says:

    You did it again, Hal. This was an excellent essay. You dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s. I was so glad to see Cassidy Hutchinson come forward with her testimony. It opened the door for more witnesses to testify who probably would have remained silent.
    I only wish more Trump supporters would read this essay.
    Thank you for your hard work.

  24. Pat Keefe says:

    Is there a way to share this essay?

  25. Jack Wilkinson says:

    It’s always unfortunate when both sides are not equally represented & heard, with details left out.
    I don’t like Trump & his communications!
    However when the Select Committee was put together by Pelosi, it was the first time ever the opposition was not allowed to select their own representative members.
    If this happened in reverse the Media would be constantly naming it the Fake Select Committee. But don’t hear the true facts this not a Select Committee, but clearly unfair political effort. Please comment to this item to show you are truly looking for the complete and honest reporting. Not a Hollywood production.

    • Hal Gershowitz says:

      Reply to Jack Wilkinson:
      House leader Kevin McCarthy selected Representatives Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), and Troy Nehls (R-Tex), to serve on the January 6th Committee. Speaker Pelosi rejected Banks and Jordan because she apparently believed their objective would be to obstruct the Committee’s investigation. She accepted the other three Republican representatives, one of whom voted against certifying the election (Nehls), and invited McCarthy to substitute alternatives to Jordan and Banks. Instead, McCarthy pulled all five Republicans, leaving only Republicans Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Kinzinger (R-Il.). Some Republicans, including former President Trump, believe McCarthy made a mistake by refusing to seat other Republican representatives on the committee.

  26. Daniel Baker says:

    #45, early on, wasn’t sure what his stand was on abortion – or indicated he didn’t care. He used to be a Democrat. Why was he a Democrat, and what caused the change? How many issues is he pro-Russia on, and why is the knowledge of his admiration for Putin suppressed?

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