Bruni began his piece by describing the Jan. 6 committee hearings as “the coalescence of scattered revelations into a clearer, cleaner narrative; an unblinking appraisal of the madness of King Donald; an opportunity for Americans to reflect on how close things came, and might yet come, to falling apart.”
“But for Bill Barr, Bill Stepien, Ivanka Trump and others, they are also something else,” hy het gesê. “They are a trip to the reputation laundromat (or perhaps, for this crowd, the reputation dry cleaner),” Bruni declared, accusing these Trump loyalists of using the hearings to wash away their association with the Trump administration.
“Donald Trump’s onetime acolytes are trying to expunge the stain of their sycophancy. And they’re betting that in a country and era of fickle attention spans and feeble memories, they’ll have more luck with that spot than Lady Macbeth did with hers,” Bruni wrote.
The author refused any thought that any of these loyalists and their testimony reflected genuine sorrow or change of heart. “But her, Barr’s and Stepien’s words don’t amount to moral reckonings. They reflect professional calculations,” Bruni argued.
“If you were still working for Trump by the fourth year of his presidency, there was nothing normal about you. If you served that campaign, during which Trump repeatedly telegraphed his intention to declare any result other than victory an illegitimate one, there was nothing normal about you,” het hy verklaar.
“And if, in the weeks after Election Day, you finally stopped abetting his delusions, midwifing his megalomania and whispering sweet reassurances in his ear, you weren’t returning to normal. You were simply cutting your losses,” Bruni concluded, while adding that loyalists who did so were just looking for a “sturdier, steadier horse” to hitch themselves to.
Bruni quoted an article from New Yorker staff writer Susan Glasser which refused to let Stepien and Barr off the hook for their work under Trump just because they’re aiding the committee. She wrote that they’re both “not only Trump’s accusers but also first-class enablers of Trump and his lies — until Trump finally found a lie too big for them to enable.”
Bruni then went after Ivanka Trump directly: “I’ve spent ample time in her temple of self-celebration, as have others. Sy en haar man, Jared Kushner, will always do what’s profitable for them, and if that occasionally intersects with the public interest, wel, accidents happen.” He then added, “We can think a word of thanks without uttering a syllable of praise.”