Analysis & Opinions - The Atlantic

Trump's Savviest Aides Already Headed for the Exits

| June 19, 2022

The hearings give the former president's followers a new excuse to quietly back away.

Many sophisticated observers of the January 6 committee will judge its success by two key metrics: whether the panel refers former President Donald Trump for criminal investigation and, if so, whether Attorney General Merrick Garland actually proceeds. But committee members are doing another job at least as important as advising the Justice Department: They are giving an off-ramp to those who accepted Trump’s insistence that the 2020 election was stolen out from under him—and who might excuse or even support violence done in his name.

Democracies do not fail in a single moment; they gradually break down from within. The same can be said of violent movements. Since the Capitol riot, the United States has been waging what is essentially a counter-extremism effort against Trump and the forces that nearly toppled our democracy. Such movements grow by portraying themselves as successful and their leadership as exceptional. The committee hearings have shown Trump to be not only an insurrectionist and an inciter of violence, but also a desperate sore loser. Almost everyone around Trump was telling him that his public claims of election fraud were “bullshit,” as former Attorney General William Barr put it. The people who continue spreading that myth need to know that Trump is making a fool of them. The savviest of his advisers long ago headed for the exits, and the ones who haven’t are not to be believed....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Kayyem, Juliette.“Trump's Savviest Aides Already Headed for the Exits.” The Atlantic, June 19, 2022.

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