So Kevin McCarthy met with Donald Trump (“Much to discuss!”), and I’m struggling to come up with an analogy for taking a meeting with someone who (according to you) “bears responsibility” for an insurrection that tried to overthrow the peaceful transfer of power just before the House minority “leader” announces his picks to serve on the select committee looking into what happened on Jan. 6.
The problem, of course, is the unprecedented nature of what Trump did—and is doing. Of course, Trump remains the de facto leader of the Republican Party, which is to say he has incredible influence without any statutory authority. Technically speaking, Kevin McCarthy has more formal authority, but good luck with that. Truth be told, meeting with Trump is sort of like meeting with the head of state of some foreign country: Trumpistan. They have weird customs, speak a foreign language, and worship an idol. They have lots of weapons, know how to use them, and—oh yeah—also determine if you get your next job promotion.
For this reason, it makes sense that McCarthy would have to meet for Trump. But couldn’t they exercise a little discretion? Again, Trump is the guy who just tried to overthrow the government. Every five minutes, more horrific revelations emerge. Less than 24 hours ago, leaks about Trump’s “Reichstag moment” surfaced. Sometimes, in these cases, people hold secret meetings. One could imagine a scenario where Kevin McCarthy realizes it would be unseemly and unwise to be seen with Trump, and where Trump also accepts this reality. In this scenario, Trump and McCarthy might secretly gather at some conclave to plot the future, with Trump—sub-rosa—calling the shots. Going through the motions of secrecy would be a nod to normalcy, which is why Trump prefers to flaunt it.