Donald Trump held a rally in Ohio on Saturday night, with thousands of supporters eager to hear him spout more misinformation about his loss in the 2020 presidential election. But the news around all that misinformation continues to contradict the Big Lie that he continues to spread instead of coping with the fact that he’s no longer president. That includes among one of the biggest names in his own administration.
In a piece in The Atlantic, writer Jonathan D. Karl interviewed former Trump attorney general William Barr, who detailed what happened when Trump learned he publicly said there had been no evidence of widespread election fraud to steal the election from Trump. There are some wild excerpts, and the piece details the fallout from a December 1 instance where Barr said on the record that no fraud had been detected that would have changed the result of the election.
“My attitude was: It was put-up or shut-up time,” Barr told me. “If there was evidence of fraud, I had no motive to suppress it. But my suspicion all the way along was that there was nothing there. It was all bullsh*t.”
Trump, of course, was furious with Barr for publicly contradicting the wild conspiracies he was spouting while still in office. And when they met in person after the Associated Press story was published, well, things got weird in a hurry. The Atlantic story said Trump “went off” on Barr, making a Dr. Strangelove comparison and also noting that Trump referred to himself in the third person.
Trump brought up Barr’s AP interview.
“Did you say that?”
“Yes,” Barr responded.
“How the fuck could you do this to me? Why did you say it?”
“Because it’s true.”
The president, livid, responded by referring to himself in the third person: “You must hate Trump. You must hate Trump.”
Months later, after an insurrection attempt and a number of lies disproven again and again, Trump is still defiant about the election. His rally on Saturday was a reinforcement of just how committed he is to saying he won despite all evidence. According to the New York Times, “scores” of people left early during a rambling 90-minute speech that covered a bunch of his favorite topics.
Mr. Trump’s speech — low-key, digressive and nearly 90 minutes long — fell flat at times with an otherwise adoring audience. Scores of people left early as he bounced from topic to topic — immigration, Israel, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s protective mask.
“Do you miss me?” Mr. Trump asked in one of his biggest applause lines. “They miss me,” he declared.
And while many in the crowd parroted Trump’s election lies, outside of Trump World his campaign to somehow undo an already-certified election six months into Joe Biden’s presidency looks to be running out of steam. As CNN reported, his surrogates were dealt another string of losses in courtrooms across the country as Trump sycophants desperately grasp for any kind of fraud.
“Our clear finding is that citizens should be confident the results represent the true results of the ballots cast by the people of Michigan,” the committee, chaired by Republican state Sen. Ed McBroom, said in its report. “The Committee strongly recommends citizens use a critical eye and ear toward those who have pushed demonstrably false theories for their own personal gain.”
“Last year, I told President Trump and others who push the Big Lie to ‘put up or shut up.’ It’s been six months and no proof of wrongdoing has been produced. Enough is enough — this whole circus must end,” Robb Pitts, the chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, said in a statement.
In other news, Mitt Romney described Trump’s still-ongoing desperation to overturn his election loss “like WWF” and “not real.”
Mitt Romney on Trump continuing to push the Big Lie:
"This is like WWF, that it’s entertaining, but it’s not real… Did he hear it from the intelligence community? No. So where did he hear it from? The MyPillow guy? Rudy Giuliani?" pic.twitter.com/cQdhv1zudI
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) June 27, 2021
“Did he hear it from the intelligence community? No,” Romney said. “So where did he hear it from? The MyPillow guy? Rudy Giuliani?”
It’s clear at this point that those who want to stay in Trump’s orbit have committed to his election lies and exposing fraud that isn’t there, if only to keep the former president’s favor. But it certainly is interesting to see some of his biggest supporters finally say that enough is enough.