What Is Mitch McConnell Thinking?

Josh Holmes, the Mitch McConnell acolyte who defends him with the sleek loyalty of Grima Wormtongue with a full Windsor, called me a dipshit the other day for reporting a quote from a deputy chief of staff for a U.S. senator. I don’t take it personally, but I do think it’s indicative that McConnell world is a bit on tilt at the moment. Having been such a failure this cycle even as the House Republicans performed so impressively can’t feel good. The McConnell folks were all projecting confidence about the two Georgia seats, saying the $2,000 stimulus checks both candidates supported were unnecessary, building up the amazing ground game and effectiveness of the most expensive advertising blitz in the history of the U.S. Senate — so to have their effort turn into such an embarrassing disaster has to have them feeling a bit defensive.

Now comes McConnell’s impeachment effort, as effective and well-thought as his filibuster defense effort, and it is already looking like an embarrassing and risky bit of 4D chess. His acolytes are already depicting this as being some kind of redo of Tea Party crazies versus the establishment. It’s obviously nothing of the kind. Graham, Scott, Scott, Cotton, Rubio, Paul, Lee, Johnson, Hawley, Cruz, Ernst, Kennedy, Risch, Cramer, and Cornyn are all on the same side here: This impeachment is vindictive, unserious, and constitutionally dubious, in addition to being politically suicidal with small-dollar donors and the only path to making Donald Trump form a third party. This position is obviously true, and disputing it requires you to twist your brain in such a way that you end up as Mitt Romney. Nobody wants that.

The GOP Senate call this week was consistent with that. “During a GOP Conference call last week, Sen. KEVIN CRAMER (R-N.D.) was among several senators who said he was flooded with calls from constituents demanding he acquit Trump. He also said he was hearing from donors — including at least one from the McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund super PAC — who wanted the GOP to do more to defend Trump, according to a person on the call.

“Other GOP senators on the line — including RON JOHNSON (Wis.), JOHN KENNEDY (La.), RICK SCOTT (Fla.) and JAMES RISCH (Idaho) — complained that they were even holding an impeachment trial. They peppered McConnell with questions about their options for getting out of it, including possibly appealing to the Supreme Court to throw out the case.

“McConnell’s staff explained to the senators that the chamber would not likely have standing to stop this in court. And McConnell made clear he did not view it as his job to help Trump with his strategy. Talk to Trump ally LINDSEY GRAHAM if you have advice, the Republican leader told senators floating ideas to assist Trump.”

Marco Rubio and Rand Paul both went on the air yesterday to denounce this process, and it’s worth watching both of their appearances. The effort by Chris Wallace and George Stephanopoulos to demand that the senators defend not lighting their party on fire is pretty blatant, and there’s not a lot of subtlety to it. Essentially, they want the Republicans in the Senate to accomplish a goal they cannot: eliminate the possibility of a Trump comeback in 2024. But doing so would also obviously encourage the destruction of the Republican Party.

I can think of no single act that would do more to increase the likelihood Trump forms a third party, and Wallace and Stephanopoulos (and Tapper and Todd) know that. So let’s not play pretend. A push for impeachment doubles down on the corporate donor loss with an online donor loss and a devastating hit to the ability to channel Republican rage toward electoral benefit. It is an act of political suicide. One cannot dissolve the people and elect another. Your job is to represent them.

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Kevin McCarthy Comes Under Fire For Saying Trump Isn’t The Only Person Who Shares Blame For The Jan. 6 Capitol Riot

House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy came under fire this weekend for claiming in a recent interview the entire country shares some responsibility for unrest at the Capitol earlier this month.

During a “Full Court Press” interview with former Fox News host Greta Van Susteren, McCarthy rejected the idea that President Donald Trump was entirely responsible for “inciting” the riot as Democrats attempt to impeach the former president after he’s left office.

“I thought the president had some responsibility when it came to the response. If you listen to what president said at the rally, he said, ‘demonstrate peacefully.’ And then I got a question later about whether did he incite them. I also think everybody across this country has some responsibility,” McCarthy told Van Susteren, according to a transcript obtained by Newsweek.

Trump detractors immediately seized on the comments, vilifying the Republican for declaring an uncomfortable reality.

A McCarthy spokesperson spun the California congressman’s comments in a statement to Newsweek claiming the House minority leader is merely being misunderstood, arguing instead McCarthy meant to reiterate genuine calls for unity as a task placed on everyone.

“I understand that some might want to spin McCarthy’s comments as spreading culpability of the actual rioters to everyone, but that’s just plain wrong. He has maintained since the attacks that we all have a responsibility to lower the political temperature across the spectrum that has been building for years and unite as Americans—this isn’t the first instance of political violence,” a spokesperson told the magazine.

McCarthy also released a video chronicling his consistency condemning the violence, a consistency absent among Democrats when left-wing militants frequently broke out in riots in the name of social justice last year.

The initial interpretation of McCarthy’s remarks however, weren’t entirely wrong to begin with. They’re just an uncomfortable reality legacy media refuses to reckon with.

No writer has explained corporate media’s culpability in the Capitol attacks as succinctly as Federalist Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky in her article, “To Heal, We Must First Acknowledge Plummeting Public Trust Is Reasonable.”

Jashinsky highlights the story of Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old veteran who served in the military for 14 years before she was shot and killed storming the Capitol. Below is one of Babbitt’s final retweets on Twitter.

“People I trust in DC … 1) President Trump – the end,” the post reads.

While it might be misguided, these sentiments are emblematic of how many Americans feel towards Washington. U.S. institutions including Congress have failed them time and time again while lying and mocking them. Evidence of that is made clear on what happened Jan. 6.

Jashinsky writes:

They’ve watched their mayors and governors violate their own regulations for the sake of leisure or personal convenience or politics, crippling business and workers while they eat crabs. They then watched the media’s nakedly unbalanced coverage of it all, wild bias from bonus-pocketing journalists purporting to be arbiters of fact and undisputed occupants of the moral high ground.

Their lives, like all of our lives, have been upended in just over a decade by products tech oligarchs promised would make us happier. Those same billionaires now join the chorus of elites who treat them as ‘irredeemables’ and ‘deplorables’ because they disagree with full-throated progressivism.

Now Democrats have passed a snap impeachment of a president already voted out of office, not featuring a single hearing with a single witness, forcing the Senate to conduct a trial for an ex-president. There’s no context for unity with the backdrop of impeachment, let alone a process playing out to punish a man only to be made a martyr from the partisan procedure.

Legacy media’s conduct doesn’t justify what happened at the Capitol several weeks ago. Nothing does. But legacy’s media’s conduct did contribute to the unraveling of trust in the nation’s institutions, leaving millions, if not thousands, looking to Trump as the only figure they felt spoke with truth. So did the Democratic Party’s normalizing political violence, the Republican Party’s clinging to electoral fiction, academia breeding aggressively woke children running the nation’s newsrooms, and Hollywood unfairly mocking those refusing to conform to their left-wing standards.

Former Fox News Host Megyn Kelly, who now runs her own podcast with no allegiance to Trump, made the same point on BBC below, earning her the same scorn from the same sort of people refusing the same responsibility for playing any part in fomenting the the divisions that ultimately stormed the Capitol.

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Why Are Members Of Congress Who Had Been Vaccinated Still Wearing Masks?

In an eerie preview of our “post-pandemic” future, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are still donning face masks even after vaccination, illustrating how pandemic rules might be here to stay for quite some time, with no clear threshold provided for what justifies repeal.

House Democrats began to put in motion last week a new rule change fining members $500 then $2,500 on the second offense for those who don’t wear face masks. The proposal comes after Democrats baselessly blamed maskless Republicans sheltering in the Capitol bunker during this month’s siege for infecting three Democratic lawmakers.

The vaccination drive for members of Congress, however, began in December. By now, most members of Congress and even a sizeable number of staff have been afforded the opportunity to be vaccinated, receiving both shots clearing them of possible infection. And yet, face masks remain compulsory on Capitol Hill, and now on all federal property pursuant to a new executive edict passed down by the new president Wednesday.

Every person pictured in the photo below at President Joe Biden’s signing ceremony should have been vaccinated, and yet remains properly distanced wearing face masks.

So why are members still wearing them despite themselves being vaccinated? Some might charge it as political theatre, others cite it as “example setting.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the jury still technically remains out on whether vaccinated individuals can still spread the virus, recommending that until more data is available — whenever that will be — masks remain essential regardless of one’s own immunity.

While not downplaying the purported effectiveness in masks to slow the spread, many have highlighted, however, that previous vaccine experience shows there’s little to no chance vaccinated individuals can still serve as conduits of the virus.

“If there is an example of a vaccine in widespread clinical use that has this selective effect — prevents disease but not infection — I can’t think of one!” writes Harvard Dr. Paul E. Sax.

Dr. Monica Gandhi of the University of California, San Francisco echoes Sax’s sentiments on Twitter, writing, “Please be assured that YOU ARE SAFE after vaccine from what matters — disease and spreading.”

Still, Gandhi has continued to urge those who are vaccinated to continue wearing masks.

When it comes to masks on Capitol Hill, some members have refused to take the vaccine, whether out of skepticism of the vaccine itself such as Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck, or out of an insistence that front-line medical workers get vaccinated first such as Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul (who also already had the virus last year).

The Office of the Attending Physician did not respond to The Federalist’s inquiries on how many members of Congress or how many staffers had been vaccinated.

Paul, also a physician, has also recommended Americans already enjoying immunity either through previous infection or vaccination throw away their face masks, arguing there’s no need, though CDC guidelines have stipulated otherwise.

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House GOP Bill Reintroduced To Protect Women’s Sports Following Anti-Science Biden Order

Florida Republican Rep. Greg Steube reintroduced the “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act” this week after President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday effectively eliminating women’s sports.

The bill, first introduced last year, mandates schools comply with Title IX recognition of reproductive biology and birth genetics to categorize school sports between men and women.

Introduced on the heels of an executive order from Biden compelling federally-funded institutions to allow biological males who identify as female to be admitted to women’s sports programs and locker rooms, Steube’s bill already enjoys double the co-sponsors that it did last Congress.

“By forcing biological female athletes to compete against biological male athletes in competitive sports, we are taking away women’s opportunities on and off the field,” Steube said in a Thursday statement. “These unfair policies discount the hard work and determination put in by our female athletes and give biological male athletes an unfair advantage in joining teams, setting records and earning scholarships.”

Speaking to The Federalist, Steube complained that Biden’s Wednesday executive order erased Title IX protections.

“Title IX was set out specifically to protect women and protect women’s sports,” Steube said, emphasizing that Biden’s edict “completely eviscerates the gains that women have had in sports by allowing that to happen.”

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National Guardsmen were forced out of the Capitol building to rest in a parking garage

According to a POLITICO report published Thursday, thousands of National Guardsmen were ordered to leave the Capitol building and rest in a nearby parking garage without internet reception, with just one electrical outlet and one bathroom for 5,000 troops.

The guardsmen, who had been resting inside the Capitol building between 12-hour shifts, were told they could no longer use the Capitol building as a rest area after protecting the nation’s capital in the days leading up to the presidential inauguration.

“Yesterday dozens of senators and congressmen walked down our lines taking photos, shaking our hands and thanking us for our service,” a guardsman told POLITICO. “Within 24 hours, they had no further use for us and banished us to the corner of a parking garage. We feel incredibly betrayed.”

After the POLITICO article was published, many lawmakers took to Twitter to ask for answers.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) called the situation “unreal” and offered her office to be used as a rest area for the guardsmen.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted: “If this is true, it’s outrageous. I will get to the bottom of this.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) noted that the Capitol buildings remain closed to the public, “so there’s plenty of room for troops to take a break in them.”

By 10 p.m., Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) said the situation was “being resolved” and that the guardsmen would be able to return to the Capitol building later that night.

“Just made a number of calls and have been informed Capitol Police have apologized to the guardsmen and they will be allowed back into the complex tonight,” added Sen. Duckworth. “I’ll keep checking to make sure they are.”

Brig. Gen. Janeen Birckhead, the Guard’s Inauguration Task Force commander, confirmed in a statement to POLITICO that the troops were out of the garage and back into the Capitol building late Thursday night.

The National Guard Bureau said the troops had been temporarily relocated because Congress was in session.

“The National Guard continues to assist and support the U.S. Capitol Police. As Congress is in session and increased foot traffic and business is being conducted, Capitol Police asked the troops to move their rest area,” the National Guard Bureau said in a statement. “They were temporarily relocated to the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Center garage with heat and restroom facilities. We remain an agile and flexible force to provide for the safety and security of the Capitol and its surrounding areas.”

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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New York Rep. Elise Stefanik Condemns Local Paper For Mocking Her As ‘Childless’

New York Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik condemned a local paper in her home district Tuesday for publishing an article of deplorable satire on its blog, mocking the young representative as heartless and childless.

The piece, published Sunday in the Albany Times Union and titled “Storytime with Elise Stefanik,” offers a short, fictional narrative in which Stefanik reads to a room of first-graders at a local school. The article, which appears to have been taken down but is also available on the personal website of one of its authors, portrays her as a purely self-interested politician who has even forgone growing a family out of professional ambition.

“I myself am childless because I am a rising star in the Republican Party, and family planning is possible by way of the contraception paid for by my excellent taxpayer-provided healthcare plan,” wrote the co-author bloggers, Peter Marino and Lale Davidson.

The writers also painted Stefanik as cruelly insensitive to the suffering brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, portraying her as offering a cold-hearted response to a first-grade child in the made-up tale when told of their grandmother’s passing.

“What is that you say, little one in the front with the adorable curls? Your grandmother died of COVID? I’m sorry. But, you know, she was old and was going to die sooner or later. That’s why Republicans invented Heaven,” the fictional Stefanik says. “Anyway, you don’t have to worry, since children are immune to the hoax.”

The real Stefanik, 36, released a joint statement with her husband, Matt Manda, demanding the blog’s retraction and an apology with an explanation from the paper on how it came to the decision to publish.

“As a young married couple, we have developed a thick skin over many years as we have become accustomed to repeated sexist smears in media coverage,” Stefanik and Manda wrote. “However, the Times Union’s decision to publish an article that mocked us as ‘childless’ is a new low and is truly heinous and wildly inappropriate. This shameful statement is not only inherently sexist, but also hateful, abusive, and heartless.”

The New York couple emphasized they hope to be parents soon and thanked supporters for their continued prayers and encouragement in recent years.

“Like millions of families, we hope and pray that we will be blessed by becoming parents,” they wrote.

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Pelosi Baselessly Claims GOP Reps Are Dangerously Bringing Guns To Inaugural

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims lawmakers might be carrying firearms to this week’s inaugural ceremony as more than 20,000 troops secure the nation’s capital on lockdown.

According to ABC News congressional reporter Ben Siegel, on a call with Secret Service Wednesday Pelosi said she was “very, very concerned” about lawmakers bringing their weapons.

Pelosi speaks as if colleagues trained to protect themselves and others by carrying firearms pose a significant threat after security failed at the Capitol earlier this month. Instead, the events vindicated Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert’s vows to carry legally on the hill.

“I walk to my office every morning by myself, so as a 5-foot-tall, 100-pound woman, I choose to protect myself legally, because I am my best security,” the freshman congresswoman said in an ad released days after the new Congress was sworn in.

The ad sparked outrage among Democrats who don’t understand legal gun use as a measure to protect oneself and others from violence. In December, Democrats launched a bid to ban firearms carried by members, who are exempt from D.C. statutes, after Boebert first raised the idea with Capitol Police at new member orientation. The ban proposal drew support from about two dozen Democrats, according to the Hill.

A memo from the chamber’s sergeant-at-arms reminded lawmakers firearms are still restricted to members’ offices.

While Boebert, who also made headlines this month for refusing to comply with Capitol metal detector screenings, has made a point to challenge congressional guidelines for firearms, the Colorado congresswoman stands among only a handful of colleagues vocally against Pelosi’s massive increase in security measures around the complex. None others have produced ads declaring their intent to bring firearms to the Capitol.

Pelosi has demanded fines for members who refuse to abide by the new House security protocols. The first offense will trigger a fine of $5,000, with the second $10,000 deducted from the member’s salary.

The hysteria marks just one episode of Democrats exploiting the chaos at the Capitol this month to spike fears that Republicans are preparing to launch a second Civil War in light of Joe Biden’s inauguration. Such security measures, including the addition of more than 20,000 troops to lock down the capital city, were absent in the aftermath of far-left extremists burning businesses to the ground.

Leftist riots in 2020 included setting fires in the U.S. Capitol. Instead of increasing security, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser named a plaza after them and celebrated their anarchy.

After leftist political violence, Pelosi condemned the presence of federal troops coming into Washington to secure federal monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial, which had been defaced.

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Portland City Council Demands Reparations From Congress

The Portland City Council formally outlined plans to demand reparations for black Americans and Native Americans last week, escalating fringe calls that have become mainstream in the Democratic Party for restitution for slavery, which the United States eradicated more than 140 years ago.

Under its heading on “Racial Justice,” the city that was repeatedly ransacked by left-wing Antifa demonstrators for more than 100 consecutive days demanded that Washington “Establish federal reparations for Black and Indigenous communities.”

The proposal also demands that Congress establish “Juneteenth” as a national holiday on June 19th and create a “federal anti-displacement program” to provide funds for “households, businesses, and cultural institutions” prioritizing minorities. The 13th Amendment abolishing slavery should also be changed, Portland city leaders said, by striking the “Punishment Clause” to effectively ban prison labor.

While Portland hasn’t passed the widespread reparations for itself that it has demanded of the federal government, one North Carolina town passed reparations unanimously last summer amid 2020’s launch of the 21st-century woke revolution in the aftermath of the George Floyd riots.

“It is simply not enough to remove statues. Black people in this country are dealing with issues that are systemic in nature,” said Asheville City Councilman Keith Young, who was one of two black Americans on the council at the time.

Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee reintroduced a bill in the new Congress this month to establish a commission to study reparations for slavery, which one economist at Duke University estimated could cost the United States up to $12 trillion.

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That Time Dems With COVID Voted For Pelosi — Then Blamed GOP For Getting COVID

A trio of House Democrats are blaming Republicans for their infection with the novel Wuhan coronavirus this month after testing positive following a brief stay in the Capitol bunker amid last week’s riot.

“Today, I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife’s health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers who put their own contempt and disregard for decency ahead of the health” of colleagues, Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider of Illinois said, admonishing Republican colleagues he charged with not wearing a mask at their secure location.

Democratic Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey, 75, also blamed Republicans for her own positive test result in an op-ed in the Washington Post. So too did Washington Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal, claiming Republicans created a “superspreader event,” through their noncompliance to wear masks. Jayapal said this without considering whether she had contracted the virus in the House gallery when she was surrounded by others in close quarters without wearing a mask herself, as shown in the video below:

There’s little evidence, however, to suggest maskless Republicans infected any one of the three positive members, let alone each in the Capitol bunker. Though it’s unknown whether any Republican members might have been carrying the virus asymptomatically at the time of the Capitol riots, no GOP lawmakers had been confirmed to be infected. One of the few Republican representatives infected amid the chaos was Texas Republican Rep. Kevin Brady, who confirmed to The Federalist that he was not present at the Capitol, having announced that day, prior to the demonstrations, that he was COVID-19-positive.

The trio of Democrats placing baseless blame on Republicans for their infections also turns a blind eye to Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore having appeared to break the CDC-recommended quarantine period to fly in for the speakership vote re-electing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Moore announced on Dec. 28 that she had tested positive for the coronavirus and then six days later flew to Washington, D.C., for the vote.

While declaring herself “medically cleared” to travel, the Wisconsin lawmaker did not disclose whether she had undergone a negative COVID-19 test prior to the trip.

Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stipulate a minimum of 10-day isolation for individuals infected with COVID-19, regardless of whether the person has symptoms. Symptomatic cases should remain isolated until 10 days after the start of their symptoms and are to go 24 hours without having a fever before public re-entry. The CDC says even asymptomatic positive cases should isolate until 10 days after getting their test.

Moore was not one of the three lawmakers, each of whom had tested negative but were still within CDC quarantine windows, who voted with special arrangements for the House speaker.

Moore’s office released a statement several days after the vote, declaring the representative had tested positive on Dec. 22 and was therefore not violating CDC guidelines. Moore’s office did not respond to The Federalist’s repeated inquiries as to whether Moore had ever received a negative test following her positive one, nor did they respond with proof that she had tested positive on Dec. 22, with her statement having been released days after news of her trip sparked controversy.

Could Moore then have caused a congressional coronavirus outbreak because Pelosi needed every vote in for the speakership?

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Donald Trump to Supporters: ‘NO Violence, NO Lawbreaking, and NO Vandalism’

President Donald Trump called for his supporters to remain peaceful during the transition of power during the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden in a statement released on Wednesday.

“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking, and NO vandalism of any kind,” the president said in a statement to reporters that was first published by Fox News.

Trump reminded his supporters that he did not stand for violent protests amid reports that there were other uprisings planned around the country.

“That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for,” he said. “I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers.”

Trump’s message was released Wednesday afternoon as the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, moved to impeach the president on the basis that he incited the mob of his supporters to attack Capitol Hill.

A senior Trump adviser told Fox News that the president wanted Big Tech companies to “join with him” to secure a peaceful transition of power.

“This is a critical time in our nation’s history and surely we can all come together to deliver this important message and not continue to play partisan politics,” the adviser told Fox News.

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