On Monday night, House Freedom Caucus chair Rep. Mark Meadows said he would not rescind or retract his endorsement of Roy Moore for Senate in Alabama.
From the Washington Examiner:
“You can’t unring a bell,” said Meadows, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, when asked if is still endorsing Moore. “At this point, it’s up to Alabama to figure out — Washington D.C.’s not going to decide that. The people of Alabama will.”
“Look, I’m like everyone else,” Jordan said when asked about his endorsement. “If this turns out to be true then he should step down, but you’ve got to let the investigation play out. Ultimately, the decision is going to be in the hands of the people in Alabama.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. John Cornyn, Sen. Mike Lee, and Sen. Steve Daines have withdrawn their endorsements of Moore, leaving only Rand Paul among Moore’s endorsers in the Senate.
One thing he said that is new and about which he didn’t offer much detail, is that they (his campaign) are conducting their own investigation. He also claims they already have evidence of collusion. But he says he’s not ready to release it yet.
“If you step aside for any allegation then you mmight as well not run, because you’re gonna get allegations. First, I would tell these [REPUBLICANS LIKE MCCAIN AND ROMNEY] they wouldn’t make good judges, they wouldn’t make good, uh, people in the judicial system, because you are innocent until proven guilty. In this case, this woman has waited over forty years to bring a complaint, four weeks out of an election. It’s obvious to the casual observer that something’s up. We’re also doing an investigation and we have some evidence of collusion here but we’re not ready to put that to the public yet.”
It is not immediately clear what “collusion” means here.
Roy Moore was interviewed this afternoon on Sean Hannity’s radio show, and hotly denied any misconduct and all of the allegations against him.
Roy Moore: "I don't know Ms. Cortman from .. anybody. I never did talk to her, never had any contact with her. Allegations of sexual misconduct with her are completely false, I believe they're politically motivated."
HANNITY: “Let me go back to Corfman for a minute because this is the issue here. She gives specific instances, where (Hannity recounts allegation in detail, including the touching.)” Now those are specific charges she’s making. and I think, you know, obviously it’s about a month away from this election campaign. Um, are you stating, none of, is it your position, none of that ever happened?
MOORE: It never happened and I don’t even like hearing it because it never happened, and their doing this a month away, four weeks away after forty years in public service. I’ve run five successful campaigns, or five campaigns, statewide campaigns, three in the county. This has never been brought up. It’s never been mentioned. And all of a sudden four weeks out they’re bringing it up. They’re bringing it up because it’s political. It’s a direct attack on this campaign, and it involves a fourteen-year old girl, which I would have never had any contact with, Nothing with her mother or in A courthouse or anywhere else. In fact, her allegations contradict the whole behavior pattern that the other, other, that two of the young ladies even witnessed theirself (sic).
From a different part of the interview:
Sean Hannity just pressed Roy Moore on whether he dated teenagers when he was in his 30s. Moore said it would be "out of my customary behavior." pic.twitter.com/WDPM5IIu46
“If you step aside for any allegation then you might as well not run, because you’re gonna get allegations. First, I would tell these [REPUBLICANS LIKE MCCAIN AND ROMNEY] they wouldn’t make good judges, they wouldn’t make good, uh, people in the judicial system, because you are innocent until proven guilty. In this case, this woman has waited over forty years to bring a complaint, four weeks out of an election. It’s obvious to the casual observer that something’s up. We’re also doing an investigation and we have some evidence of collusion here but we’re not ready to put that to the public yet.”
This posted around the same time as the interview began:
A lot of Senators and GOP politicians are quickly moving away from the former Alabama Justice, who, as we have reported, has been accused of sexual assault against a minor in a report by the Washington Post.
Wow. Senator Rob Portman went right for it when commenting on the allegation, first reported by the Washinton Post, that Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore pursued a sexual relationship with more than one teenage girl, allegedly sexually assaulting one of them.
Portman’s statement, as reported by multiple outlets, including the WaPo, NBC News, and even (blech) Vox:
“I think if what we read is true, and people are on the record so I assume it is, then he should step aside.”
“I assume it is.”
That’s a stronger statement than any other, though several have stated he should step down IF it’s true, including Mitch McConnell.
To answer the question I know would be in the comments otherwise, yes, the word for the allegation is “assault.”
On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.
Sabotage. That’s a pretty strong word for the pretty standard notion of voting for the person you prefer, or simply stating your opinion about something. BUT…
But, when you are the great and powerful leader of a sinister movement, it fits just fine. Just so in the case of Evan McMullin, who destroyed the GOP’s chances in Virginia. At least, that’s so according to conventional pro-Trump wisdom this week.
As I said, a strong word. That notion of so-called NeverTrump culpability was one shared by more than a few people, as Sarah Rumpf wrote in a guest post this morning. It continued throughout the day, implicating more people than just McMullin (some of whom we interview below.) Here is a good post-election example:
The only real difference in 2017 is that one faction from the tribal right decided to join the tribal left.
This is, by the way, the same theory of electoral politics that the Trump movement advanced last November, repackaged for Virginia’s gubernatorial race.
Sarah rightly notes there is no such thing as monolithic “NeverTrump” movement. There are, though, people who don’t like Trump. There are some who criticize him. There are others who analyze the impact that dislike of Trump has on election results. There are people who think he is a negative factor. Maybe even some of those people voted for Trump.
But by today’s conventional pro-Trump wisdom, they are all “Never Trump.”
Even Gillespie himself is being lumped in, after embracing and being endorsed by President Trump.
Fmr Gillespie staffer to me: I walked out before the primary when I saw the campaign was run by NeverTrump losers
Believe me, it goes on. If that’s not absurd enough for you, I don’t know what is.
Wait, yes I do.
In addition to blaming NeverTrump in general for the loss, something for which there is literally no evidence, Evan McMullin in particular is singled out as the leader of this evil group, with Rick Wilson taking a close second. Also Bill Kristol, Jay Caruso, all sabotaging Gillespie. Gillespie, who we are also supposed to believe was secretly Never Trump himself.
So I decided to ask a few people about this conspiracy against Ed Gillespie.
Quin Hilyer, writing for National Review, said late Tuesday night that the GOP losses in Virginia could be attributed to a Trump-effect.
This continues a trend demonstrating that Trump is undermining Republicans all over the country.
I asked Quin if this was part of some directive from Evan McMullin.
HOWE: Does Evan McMullin influence your opinion or who you might vote for?
HILYER: Not in the least. I didn’t support him last year, and I certainly take no cues from him.
HOWE: Would you have voted for Ed Gillespie?
HILYER: Absolutely. I’ve know Ed for 25 years. He’s one of those rare people who started with somewhat sharp elbows but who has become nicer, more principled, and in general a better person the older he has become. And he always has been a solid conservative.
HOWE: Do you believe Evan McMullin or other so-called Never Trumpers sabotaged the Virginia elections?
HILYER: The very idea is ludicrous. Blame Trump, not McMullin, and certainly not other NeverTrumpers, most of whom supported Ed.
I took great offense at a number of pundits — including friends who are thoughtful, wonderful people but who happen to be at least somewhat Trump-friendly – who took the opportunity of the McMullin Tweet to make overgeneralized, blanket allegations that NeverTrumpers in general are actively rooting for Republican losses. I’m sick of the over-generalizations. I’m sick of the attribution of bad motives. It’s unfair, obnoxious, and frankly despicable. We are not some monolithic movement, indeed not even a loose affiliation any more. We are just principled conservatives who are appalled by Trump.
Hilyer, it should be noted, took to Twitter to criticize the McMullin tweet that was characterized as “NeverTrump sabotage.”
I emailed Steve Deace, too. The popular radio host and commentator, who supported Trump’s candidate Roy Moore in Alabama. Deace is fiercely conservative, covering all legs of the stool. He’s as pro-life as they get, and unabashed in his commentary. Yet Deace, too, is frequently targeted as part of this apparently McMullin-led monolith of Gillespie-hate and secret liberalism.
HOWE: Steve, does Even McMullin influence your opinion or who you might vote for?
DEACE: I didn’t even vote for Evan McMullin, but the Constitution Party candidate instead. In fact, I actually had to mute Evan on Twitter months ago, because I found his methods of attacking Trump as fantastically asinine as the methods Trump’s shills often deploy to defend him.
HOWE: Would you have voted for Ed Gillespie?
DEACE: I view Gillespie as the very progressive, corporatist Republican that drove me away from the party in the first place — and thus created the environment that gave birth to whatever is Trump. So unless he could absolutely convince me he really was strongly pro-life, the answer is no.
HOWE: Do you believe Evan McMullin or other so-called Never Trumpers were able to influence, decide, or sabotage the Virginia elections?
DEACE: Evan McMullin is like Lena Dunham in my world. In that I would have no idea what they’re saying if it were for seeing folks I follow on Twitter reacting to them. So, no.
Still, I wanted to be thorough, so I really pushed him.
HOWE: Did you and Evan McMullin collude to stop Ed Gillespie?
DEACE: The only person I’ve ever colluded with was my wife to have children. Or maybe that’s called conception? My vocabulary is kind of all over the place.
I spoke, too, with Jim Geraghty, of National Review. Jim writes about campaigns in particular, in addition to his general commentary, and is a widely read expert. He wrote last night about the election, saying it was “as bad as it gets” for Republicans.
I asked the same questions, which I will still include inline for clarity. (Also, the third question was unique to Jim.)
HOWE: Would you have voted for Ed Gillespie?
GERAGHTY: I did vote for Ed Gillespie.
HOWE: Do you believe Evan McMullin or other so-called Never Trumpers were able to influence, decide, or sabotage the Virginia elections?
GERAGHTY: Only in the sense of their own votes and perhaps a small circle of personal friends influenced by their perspective.
HOWE: In your work following elections and campaigns, have you before or will you in the future consider #NeverTrump to be a voting bloc and/or would you define it as a “movement” the way one might characterize, say, the Trump movement? If not, what would you call it?
GERAGHTY: #NeverTrump in the form of Evan McMullin and Bill Kristol, etc. is a bunch of guys. Trump-skeptical or anti-Trump Republicans — or maybe even Republicans who are disappointed in the Trump presidency so far — is a much more sizable demographic, and part of the reason Republicans up and down the ticket got nuked in the suburbs Tuesday.
This is particularly important. The stark difference between a Capital Letters Movement and the fact that there are just people who think a certain thing about a certain dude. I sort of touched on this myself, on Twitter.
I think Gillespie lost because he was sabotaged by the "people who didn't vote for him" movement.
Certainly opinion writers hope their opinions matter to someone. Certainly the intent is convince people of something, show them something, or in some way influence their perception of an issue or person. But to translate that into a defined and ill-willed machine of sabotage is, well, a bit ridiculous.
But let us go on. In the interest of RedState transparency, I asked our own former Assistant Managing Editor, Jay Caruso, lately of the Dallas Morning News, what he thought.
HOWE: Jay. As my former minion, would you have voted for Ed Gillespie?
CARUSO: Yes. Sir.
HOWE: Did you collude with Evan McMullin to ruin the GOP in Virginia?
CARUSO: My invitation for collusion got lost in the mail. So, no.
HOWE: Were you “rooting” for Democrats to win, as some have accused so-called NeverTrumpers of doing?
CARUSO: I never root for Democrats to win. Period.
Me either. Nor did I vote for any, last year or this.
Of course, nothing compares to getting an answer straight from the horse’s conspirator. I actually spoke with the Lieutenant Governor of Evil himself, Rick Wilson, Republican Strategist and commentator. After showing proper deference to the great hoary hosts of the netherworld, we had this exchange:
HOWE: Rick, I’ve seen people attributing Gillespie’s loss to you, or claiming you take credit for it. Do you?
WILSON: Donald Trump is responsible for Ed’s loss. Top to bottom, full stop. He is a President with the lowest approval ratings in modern history, and his behavior motivated Democrats in VA to record levels. I don’t not take credit for it, nor did I seek it. I warned it was coming, and that the political poison of Trumpism in swing states would have this outcome. Do I hope it clarifies for elected GOPers how much damage is coming because of Trump’s pathetic approval ratings, erratic behavior, and the cult of Bannonism? That’d be the only upside.
HOWE: Would you have voted for Gillespie?
WILSON: I would have. I’ve known Ed for a long time, respect him, and believe he was a good man stuck in a bad situation.
HOWE: Does Evan McMullin take credit for Gillespie’s loss?
WILSON: I haven’t spoken to him about it, and hadn’t spoken to him before the tweet the other day, but I would presume he does not.
HOWE: Do you think Gillespie lost because of sabotage and “never trump” or would you say there was a different reason?
WILSON: Mollie’s assertion (and those of a few others) that some 5th column of Never Trumpers sabotaged Ed’s campaign is pathetic and laughable. A handful of conservative holdouts against Trump OR a massively unpopular President who has failed time and again, and who excused the white-supremacists in Charlottesville? Occam’s razor is pretty clean on this one; Donald Trump is the cause of Ed’s loss, and any other explanation is intellectually bankrupt and dishonest.
All but one would have voted for Ed Gillespie. I would have too. I should note here that the fact of our vote counts exactly as negatively as would our saying we would not vote for him.
In other words, if Rick Wilson, Quin Hilyer and I would NOT have voted for Ed Gillespie, it’s proof that Never Trump sabotaged him, and therefore the loss is not Trump’s fault.
If we would have voted for him, then it’s proof Gillespie himself is evil, deep state, never trump trash and therefore the loss is not Trump’s fault.
The key is that it not be Trump’s fault, you see. A theory, you may be completely unsurprised to learn, shared by Trump.
I’m not sure why it is that people intensely want to have a named group they can point at and blame for their losses. Is that something in human nature? (I’m being obnoxious, here. Of course it is in human nature. But it isn’t helpful. The Democrats needed to learn from 2016, and perhaps they have. Now it’s the GOP’s turn to learn.)
I did not email these questions to Sean Davis or Mollie Hemingway, on the grounds that their tweets already exist. I didn’t email them to the three Trump tweeters above, on the grounds of decency.
Oh, as for me? I would have voted for him. I haven’t colluded. I have no particular problem with, or affection for, Evan. I think he’s a fine tweeter, tweeting his personal opinion. Like with any other person, sometimes I may agree, sometimes I may not. It’s Twitter. Not a wedding.
But look, maybe once everyone is done blaming some phantom movement, or some sinister puppeteer, they can remember what Mollie and I both wrote today. (You really should read her article.)
What we both said was that the GOP needs to learn a lesson about themselves, and start to deliver on their promises. Shouldn’t that be the focus? Not a mysterious #NeverTrump army out to elect Democrats?
Besides, even if you did incorrectly make it about Trump and NeverTrump exclusively, it would be bad news for 2018. Because when it gets down to it, if this supposed NeverTrump cabal of people writing things on the internet can turn the election in favor of Democrats out of mere spite of Trump … well that wouldn’t speak very highly for the power of Trump anymore, would it?
In any case, let’s hope the GOP is figuring out a few things. Paul Ryan, at least, may be ready to start coming through.
There is a lot to learn from the numbers. But even more from what the voters are telling, and have been telling the GOP for years. They’re almost out of time. And scapegoats.
Republican Ed Gillespie has lost his race with detestable Democrat Ralph Northam in Virginia. Now begins the analysis of why it happened. And President Trump has offered his theory.
The guy just wasn’t Trumpy enough.
This will no doubt be the opposite of the conclusion most analysts will come to. They will see it as a bad sign of things to come for Trump’s adopted party.
Here’s the thing … and we’ll leave aside the speed with which Trump turned on the guy he was supporting. Where was I?
Right, here’s the thing.
Politically, it’s a very smart tweet for the President. He is assuring his deeply Trump-devoted base that this loss does not reflect on him or on them. In fact, he is saying to them, it shows that you have to be even more Trump than ever if you want to win. What America wants, he is telling them, is MORE Trump. Not less.
Expect this to be the message from his big boosters, too. Especially on social media. Despite Gillespie having gone very pro-Trump and pro-Trumpism.
This reinforces not only their self-perception and their view of him as the great one, but it also forgives any Trump voters who failed to turn out. You were right, he wasn’t good enough for us. Ironic, considering the burning hate his base has for anyone who failed to vote for him. “Binary choice” and all that.
And it was smart in another way, too. It confirms a truth about the new GOP in general. That truth, which Brit Hume missed in some of his tweets tonight, is that Trumpists are supportive of or voting for the GOP per se. They are voting for other Trumpists. And as we have seen countless times in the past year, those who are not Trumpists are the enemy, no matter the letter behind the name.
If you’re insufficiently Trump, the President says, you won’t win. And we’ll find out if that means being insufficiently Trump means you won’t get any support either. Remember, Trump stumped for Gillespie, and pitched him today on Twitter. But now he lost. Trump doesn’t like people who lose.
Next time maybe there’s no stumping at all. And it will be easier to do, considering Bannon is out there hand-picking only Trumpists.
To put it another way: Tonight on Fox News, Brit Hume described Ed Gillespie as the dictionary definition of “a mainstream Republican.” President Trump turned around and said “yeah, that’s the problem.”
Election analysis will, by habit or necessity, see this race as a barometer of the D vs R dynamic. But Trump’s tweet shows how his base will view it. A measure of R vs. T. If you aren’t T, then maybe you aren’t even R.
Stephen Willeford saved lives on Sunday. He exchanged gunfire with the murderous scumbag who was shooting the Christians at church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
He chased the killer, as did Johnnie Langendorff. This saved lives, of that there can be no question.
That makes him a hero. But you know what else he is?
He’s a card-carrying member of the NRA. You will recall, I trust, that the murderer was not.
So a man who obtained a gun illegally and was not a member of the NRA attacked a church full of Texan Christians and was stopped by a Texan NRA instructor.
Oh did I not mention that part? Yeah. He was also a certified NRA firearms instructor.
This is the good-guy-with-a-gun scenario that our Hollywood betters tell us doesn’t exist (even though they make endless movies about it.) A trained, certified, legal gun owner intervening against a bad guy with an illegally obtained weapon he is not permitted, by gun law, to have.
When RedState learned that the man “may” have been with the NRA, we reached out to confirm it. Before that confirmation came through, it was also confirmed by Dana Loesch, who is an NRA spokesperson, in this Tweet:
I mentioned earlier, when discussing the myth propagated by Shannon Watts, that the left’s obsession with fantasy prevents them from asking real questions that might actually make a difference in a situation like this terrible tragedy in Texas.
Did the background check system (NICS) fail somehow? Did someone in the chain of notification not obey the law? These are real questions that should be the subject of inquiry, as they would be in any non-gun situation.
Instead, the left spends their time pretending toddlers can buy AR15s from Walmart and that it’s easier to buy guns than groceries. Oh, and pretending that the NRA was to blame in Texas. Instead of the truth.
Anti-gun fanatic and Dana Loesch stalker Shannon Watts has been doing what she does for the last 24 hours or so since the horrific events in Texas. Namely, going nuts about guns and paying no attention to the man behind the gun.
And as usual, she sucks in easily-led celebrities and other societal elites with her false claims.
Here’s a prime example. Watts tweeted this preposterous thing…
That means he’s prohibited purchaser, but there’s absolutely no regulation of long guns (AR15s) in Texas. No background check required. https://t.co/H0oqxgEsx9
This is just flatly untrue. I will make this as simple as possible. And by me, I mean the ATF. This is from the FAQ at the site, in answer to the question of whether background checks are required.
Yes. Licensed manufacturers, importers, and dealers must conduct a background check for the transfer of all firearms subject to the GCA.
[18 U.S.C. 922(t); 27 CFR 478.102]
All. Firearms. This is a federal law that applies to all gun sales from all licensed dealers and all stores everywhere in the United States, including the state of Texas.
In the state of Texas, a background check is required to buy those. Period. No Texas law has disallowed AR15s from that requirement, nor in any other way contravened federal law. Texas is not different or special here. The law applies.
Watts, if challenged, will likely claim she is referring to private transfer (which would not apply to the shooter in Texas) or that she meant there is no additional Texas requirement, but of course, that’s not what she said.
And that matters, because a famous actress believed her, and that actress’s tweet was retweeted and believed by thousands who now think you can walk into Walmart in Texas and walk out with an AR15 and nobody has to know anything about you.
It’s disinformation, intended to frighten, designed to confuse the issue, and done intentionally. Propaganda, of the fear-mongering variety, to be exact. Not to mention it is furthering a negative stereotype of Texans as lawless idiots.
That’s how myths are made. Like the myth of the unfettered sale of AR15s in Texas.
Myths, by the way, detract from action that might actually be helpful. Background checks are required. Is the background check system working properly? Are they missing things? Aren’t those better questions than pursuing a myth about the Wild West?