Why today’s 1/6 hearing was utterly devastating for Donald Trump
It was, in a word, ugly.
1) Hutchinson said she was told that when Trump got back into the presidential limousine, known as the Beast, and was told that he could not join protesters at the Capitol, he lost it. The then-President tried to grab the steering wheel and, when one of his security detail reached to stop him, he grabbed at that man’s throat.
2) Trump, in expletive-laden language, urged that people with weapons — guns, knives and the like — be let through the magnetometers before his speech to the “Stop the Steal” rally. His goal? Ensure that the photographs and video of the event showed a packed crowd all listening to him. “They’re not here to hurt me,” Trump reportedly told people.
3) Meadows, when pressed by White House counsel Pat Cipollone, to say something more amid “Hang Mike Pence” chants at the US Capitol responded, according to Hutchinson: “[Trump] thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they are doing anything wrong.”
Consider that. The President of the United States tried to commandeer his limousine, was stopped from doing so, and struck out at one of the people tasked with protecting him. The President, knowing there are armed people gathering, urged that they be let into a confined space so that the crowd looked robust. Amidst chants that his vice president be hung, Trump said that he deserved it.
It sounds more like the plot of a bad made-for-TV movie than real life. And all of it was happening on the same day that thousands of people stormed the Capitol, leaving 5 people dead and more than 100 police officers wounded.
In each of these instances, Trump bridled at having his power — or that of the mob — curtailed in any way. The image of Trump created in Hutchinson’s testimony is of someone driven wild by anger, spinning out of control even as he was fomenting a lie that the 2020 election was stolen and urging his followers to come to Washington on January 6 to protest the results.
And, again, this behavior was not a one-off on January 6. Trump’s behavior was erratic for months following the election.
Asked whether that was the only time that Trump had behaved that way, Hutchinson said it was not. “There were several times that I was aware of him throwing dishes or flipping the tablecloth so that all the contents of the table went on the floor.”
Trump comes across as a man desperately clinging to power, resistant to any attempts to curtail what he believed to be his absolute power to do whatever he wanted — up to and including remaining in office by any means necessary.
It’s an ugly portrait. And, unfortunately, an accurate one.