By Mary Murphy / The Herald
Of all the testimony before the U.S. House’s Jan. 6 committee in recent weeks and continued last Thursday, the most breathtaking may have been that of a former White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, regarding the events that took place just before the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021.
Hutchinson recounted the moments after President Donald Trump gave a speech that day on the Ellipse, believed to have ignited the events following. Trump returned to his Secret Service team after leaving the stage, and demanded to be driven to the Capitol.
Trump’s agents responded with a no and said that it was not safe for him to go there, that there were people with weapons, and that he should return to the West Wing immediately.
Trump, Hutchinson said, responded with a reaction that was something along the lines of little to no concern that those people would hurt him, or that the scene was dangerous.
This was followed by another stern no from his security team, which reportedly prompted Trump to reach for the steering wheel, and yell “I am the f**king president,” according to Hutchinson’s account, as reported by The New York Times.
This testimony, among that of many others, indicates the president was not being half as transparent as he had previously promised.
This kind of emotionally driven behavior by Trump in Hutchinson’s testimony, was in fact one of the things he ridiculed most in his 2016 Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, and arguably, was a persuasive tactic for his supporters.
Trump’s years of campaigning started with his attacks on Clinton. These mostly consisted of Trump accusing Clinton of lying about her email scandal, and claims she was “too emotional” for the job, something his supporters used repeatedly as a main reason for their dislike of Clinton and their chants of “Lock her up!”
Trump presented himself as the superior candidate by claiming he would be truthful and transparent, and that everyone else, including the media, was lying and untrustworthy. This is when he famously began using the term “fake news.”
This was smart of Trump. For him to gain this sort of trust and make his supporters feel betrayed by others, he would promise them that he would not do the same, and then create fear and a need for a leader by preying on people’s economic insecurities,. This was the perfect recipe to create his “Make America Great Again” army.
Before the 2020 election, this army only grew stronger, as did the economy. His trust with this group of supporters was something similar to that of a parent and a child. Anything he said would be believed.
Trump knew this and abused it, by referring to Joe Biden’s election win as “The Big Lie,” using it to convince his supporters that he, in fact, was cheated and had actually won the election, which fed the Jan. 6 events. Notably, Trump’s critics have now turned the Big Lie phrase against him, to describe his repeatedly disproved claims of election fraud.
It makes sense if anyone is told that the object of their loyalty has screwed them over, they are bound to get angry, violent possibly, so really, how can one blame them?
If the Trump supporters are to gain anything from these hearings and testimony, it is the realization that what they had hoped for in a president who promised transparency and trustworthiness — unlike Clinton — is not anything approaching what they got in Trump. He is a liar and he will continue to be so. They can save their energy and pledge this now: to make a more educated and wiser vote in 2024.
And they can consider Stephan Aryes. A Trump supporter and one of the participants in the attack on the Capitol, who testified during a recent Jan. 6 hearing that he no feels regret and remorse for his actions; describing his past self as having had “blinders on.”
Although still a supporter of Trump, Aryes has come to realize that the claims of election fraud were false; he has become increasingly frustrated with Trump for pushing this agenda.
This surprise testimony by Hutchinson was one of many. Others who stepped up include fellow Republican and committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney and members of Vice President Mike Pence’s Secret Service detail, during comments and testimony shared in Thursday’s hearing.
The credibility of these sources alone should be enough reason for Trump supporters to reflect on their support. But what’s more is that these people have been supported by nearly everyone who was present that day at the White House, except for Trump himself: Red flag, no?
Trump supporters have done a tremendous job ignoring the hearings’ revelations, that their supposedly more “stable” option for president was anything but.
Trump supporters could benefit from recognizing that, woman or man, everyone reacts emotionally at times. We have seen this through Trump’s irresponsible obsessions and rants on Twitter, and now his apparent tendency to “reach for the steering wheel” when irate.
Give a woman a chance to prove her emotional stability — say Hillary Clinton — and ask if had she been elected president, would she attempt to grab the steering wheel of her limo?
Mary Murphy is a HeraldNet digital news intern and is a student at the University of Washington, where she has served as opinion editor for The UW Daily student newspaper.