The Korea Herald


[Martin Schram] Republicans, what do you see when you look in the mirror?

By Korea Herald

Published : July 6, 2022 - 05:30

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It is yet another morning after. But as you stare at your bathroom mirror, on this Wednesday morning after Tuesday’s hearing, it somehow feels as if you are staring at just another news screen. And this one just keeps looping more bad news you can’t bear to see.

Like one-third of Americans, you’ve always been proud to call yourself one of our 45th president’s MAGA Trumpers. You are, of course, the face and politics of that person in your mirror. It is you, a proud Trump enabler. Just as you are proud to be a college graduate with a successful professional career.

But on this Wednesday morning, the more you stare at the face in the mirror, the more it seems to morph into that other face you saw on your news screen Tuesday and came to admire more than you dare to admit. It was the face of the young woman who seemed to be single-handedly rewriting JFK’s Pulitzer-winning “Profiles in Courage” as she testified before the House hearing on the horrific events of Jan. 6, 2021. She soon seemed far more mature, more patriotic and more emotionally together than the panicky, pathetic, much older men who were her bosses: President Donald Trump, his chief of staff Mark Meadows and deputy chief of staff Anthony Ornato.

At first, you reflexively hated what she was saying about her bosses. But you could see she was telling tough truths about all she witnessed from her position astonishingly close to the power center of Trump’s White House before, during and after the horror of the violent occupation of the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, by pro-Trump insurrectionists.

But as you kept staring at your own troubled face in your bathroom mirror this past Wednesday morning, you suddenly realized you no longer felt proud and honored to be known as a Trump enabler. Your mind’s eye kept seeing (and your mind’s ear kept hearing) reruns of 26-year-old Cassidy Hutchinson’s straight-talk testimony about what she had witnessed as a special assistant to the president, who worked directly for the chief of staff.

She told us she’d heard the president’s men saying that enforcement officers reported pro-Trump protesters were armed with more than a few AR-15s, Glock-style pistols, bear spray, body armor, spears and flagpoles topped with spears. Secret Service was using magnetometers to screen the crowd for weapons before allowing them into the Ellipse grounds where Trump was about to speak. But the crowd was sparse and thousands were refusing to go through the magnetometer screening (apparently for obvious reasons). And that made Trump “furious,” Hutchinson testified. He wanted everyone to be let into the Ellipse with their weapons -- and then wanted them to be allowed to take their weapons to the Capitol. (And we know that, once there, the crowd smashed windows and doors, bashed woefully outnumbered police and overran the Capitol as senators and representatives fled in fear.)

As you stare into your bathroom mirror, your mind keeps replaying Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony about her president’s willingness to send protesters with weapons to try to halt Congress’ electoral certification of his defeat: “He was furious. … I overheard the president say something to the effect of … ‘I don’t effing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the effing mags away.”

It became shatteringly clear to Cassidy Hutchinson that the president she admired and enabled didn’t give a rodent’s patootie about just who would become the victims of those thousands of armed pro-Trumpers after they reached and breached the US Capitol. Where do you stand?

Fast Forward to Wednesday Night: Once again, you are staring into your bathroom mirror; and once again, it has become your news screen. You are hearing reruns of the latest breaking news. Yet another courageous conservative Republican woman, Rep. Liz Cheney, just spoke in Simi Valley, California, to a sizable crowd at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute. As Cheney recounted the week’s revelations, she stood in front of a huge blue backdrop that proclaimed in white letters, “A TIME FOR CHOOSING.”

“We have to choose,” Cheney said. “Because Republicans cannot both be loyal to Donald Trump and loyal to the Constitution.” Suddenly the large audience interrupted her with loud applause.

So now, you are not just staring into your bathroom mirror, you are talking to it. You are asking that face you have known all your life whether you both have the guts to finally make that public, patriotic choice: Are you finally ready to stand and applaud Cassidy Hutchinson and Liz Cheney?

Martin Schram
Martin Schram, an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service, is a veteran Washington journalist, author and TV documentary executive. -- Ed.

(Tribune Content Agency)