So, the Proud Boys now judge Donald Trump "a total failure" and "extraordinarily weak." The members of the far-right group understood at last that when the former president denounced them for doing what he incited them to do, they looked ridiculous.
How to save face? They couldn't concede that posting pictures of themselves engaged in a murderous assault on the U.S. Capitol was supremely stupid. No, it was that Trump was too cowardly to join them. But thinking that he would was also supremely stupid.
After winding the mob up with insane ranting about a "stolen election," Trump urged it to march to the Capitol to stop the counting of votes. "You'll never take back our country with weakness," he said. "And I'll be there with you."
Of course, he wasn't there with them. It was some strange Neverland these Lost Boys came from. How else explain their expecting Trump to expose himself to the swarm, much less risk injury in a violent encounter?
While the boys were vandalizing, looting and threatening to hang elected officials, according to The Washington Post, Trump serenely watched the rampage on White House TVs. At a certain point, though, it dawned on the president that the unfolding horror was not in his interests. He conferred with advisers and lawyers to ensure he wouldn't take the rap for it.
Thus, at 2:38 p.m. Eastern time, after a Capitol Police officer had already been killed, he tweeted, "Stay peaceful!" He then issued a video in which he told the herd to go home.
A day later, he condemned the blockheads for their "heinous attack" and said he was "outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem." And to think that some of the Proud Boys actually expected a presidential pardon for their crimes.
The main objective here is not to point out the treachery of Trump. It's not even to question the right wing's willingness to believe that Trump hadn't lost. With all those conspiracy theories infesting their media — and weeks of getting pounded by a charismatic speaker's lies — one could envision their swallowing the nonsense that dark forces had denied victory to he whom they called "Emperor Trump."
The Proud Boys' grasp on reality was never all it could be, but still. The group had it together enough to closely follow Trump's 86 unsuccessful legal challenges to the election results. It should have been easier to note Trump's long history of covering his rear end and employing an army of lawyers to countersue those he had betrayed. But somehow, the Lost Boys thought they'd be an exception.
And so, they portrayed the double-cross as an unexpected abuse of what they imagined as their honor. They hit back — or so they thought. "The Proud Boys Now Mock Trump" is how a New York Times headline characterized their criticism.
With all due respect to the headline writer, the people being mocked are the right-wing rioters facing criminal charges after being turned in by their children, ex-wives and (former) employers. Trump is back at Mar-a-Lago, smelling the sweet chlorine from his swimming pool and playing golf.
The insurrectionists now have their own lawyers. Despite the "heinous" nature of their acts, some of the legal advisers have taken the tack of portraying their clients as naive nitwits.
The lawyer representing the "QAnon Shaman" says the would-be actor regrets what he did but was duped by Trump. And he refers to his client in clownish terms — as "the guy with the horns and the fur, the meditation and organic food."
The Proud Boys are now saying in online posts that the group should drop politics and abandon both parties. They may be on to something, finally.Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.
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