Trump: These Georgia Senate runoffs are illegal and invalid

“This election that I’m asking you to turn out for is illegal” is an interesting GOTV message.

He tweeted that last night. This morning he was back to touting his upcoming rally in Georgia as if nothing had happened:

Either someone else with access to his account (Dan Scavino?) posted one of those messages and got their signals crossed with Trump or the president posted all of them and has now abandoned any pretense of logical consistency as his desperation over being forced from power deepens. He continues to double and triple down on January 6 as some sort of suspenseful moment of truth even though enough Republicans have already showed their cards to make the outcome certain. House Democrats will vote to certify Biden’s victory; most Senate Republicans, starting with Mitch McConnell, will join Senate Dems in doing the same. And Mike Pence isn’t going to do anything outlandish to disrupt the certification, as the DOJ’s response to Louie Gohmert’s lawsuit makes clear.

The only suspense about January 6 is whether Trump understands yet that the outcome is a fait accompli and what he’s prepared to do, or try to do, once reality finally, finally hits home. The first remains an open question, amazingly, 59 days removed from the election:

The second question is more complicated in that what Trump might be willing to do and what some of his fans might be willing to do aren’t necessarily the same thing. Here’s a deep thought offered by one notable fan with a huge following:

That was a bridge too far for Nick Sandmann, whom Wood represented in his defamation claims against the media over the Covington fiasco. It was too far for Jenna Ellis as well:

Also a tiny bit too far for Newsmax host and new populist heartthrob Greg Kelly:

It’s unclear whether Kelly and Ellis find Wood’s comments sincerely despicable or just counterproductive at a moment when Pence might still hypothetically be persuaded to disrupt the certification. That’s another element of real suspense about January 6 and its aftermath: How far are individual MAGA heroes prepared to go to continue to resist reality here? If Trumpers gathered in Washington for the “protest” start breaking windows, is that too far? If Trump himself tries to deploy the military in some way, is that too far? Some members of Kelly’s audience would doubtless say no. Is Kelly prepared to cross them on that they way he crossed them on Wood last night?

If you think the “Trump tries to do something crazy with the military” scenario is hysterical, be advised that Pentagon officials are reportedly worried about it:

Pentagon and Washington-area military leaders are on red alert, wary of what President Donald Trump might do in his remaining days in office. Though far-fetched, ranking officers have discussed what they would do if the president declared martial law. And military commands responsible for Washington DC are engaged in secret contingency planning in case the armed forces are called upon to maintain or restore civil order during the inauguration and transition period. According to one officer who spoke to Newsweek on condition of anonymity, the planning is being kept out of sight of the White House and Trump loyalists in the Pentagon for fear that it would be shut down.

“I’ve been associated with the military for over 40 years and I’ve never seen the discussions that are being had right now, the need for such discussions,” says a retired flag officer, currently a defense contractor who has mentored and advised his service’s senior leaders. He was granted anonymity in order to speak without fear of reprisal.

A half-dozen officers in similar positions agree that while there is zero chance that the uniformed leadership would involve itself in any scheme to create an election-related reversal, they worry that the military could get sucked into a crisis of Trump’s making, particularly if the president tries to rally private militias and pro-Trump paramilitaries in an effort to disrupt the transition and bring violence to the capital.

David Ignatius has also heard from government officials fretting that Trump will try … something, although no one knows what. The subtext running through all of the “what will he do next?” reporting is the belief that the president is no longer merely “mercurial” but outright unstable and just can’t be trusted to act rationally at this point — although maybe that’s wrong. Maybe he’ll respond to Wednesday’s defeat by ranting as usual on Twitter about primarying all the RINOs who betrayed him, which would be fine. But maybe his desperation has reached the point where he’ll encourage his fans to break sh*t to show their displeasure. Or maybe he’ll give some weird order to the military and we’ll find ourselves thrust into a major crisis when the Pentagon refuses to obey it.

If you think it’s unimaginable that a major American politician would call for street violence, broaden your imagination:

No one who didn’t live through this period since November 3 will fully understand the absurdity and depravity of it. No history book will do it justice.

In lieu of an exit question, read Trump supporter Andy McCarthy at NRO reckoning with what he’s seen from the president over the past two months. (If you’re blocked by the paywall, Rod Dreher has excerpts.) McCarthy doesn’t quite retract his support, and in the end he seems to worry more about what Democrats might hypothetically do with the precedent that’s being created than he does about what Trump and certain MAGA all-stars are actively trying to do at this moment. But the genre of post-election op-eds by Trump voters reflecting that perhaps they shouldn’t have supported a candidate who’s spent two months trying to pull off a coup is very small and McCarthy’s done his best to add to it. I’m looking forward, in a grim way, to his next piece about the aftermath of January 6.

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