Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, said that “Jan. 6 will be a disaster rather than a gain for Democrats,” which will cost them seats in the November midterm elections. Though he said those who broke into the Capitol should be brought to trial and that the event be investigated, he argued that the Democrats were covering up their own complicity by failing to adequately secure the Capitol.
“The select committee process is only getting more corrupt and destructive,” Mr Gingrich wrote in a newsletter this week. “Using an outrageous, painful and unacceptable event (which I completely condemn) to smear your opponents rather than get to the truth will ultimately be rejected by the American people.”
Key figures in the January 6 survey
In fact, at the time of the attack, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, was sharing control of the Capitol with the Senate majority leader, who at the time was Mitch McConnell, the Republican of Kentucky. Republicans have not tried to blame Mr. McConnell for the security breach or for not preparing for an attack.
As improbable as it seemed 365 days ago, Mr Trump emerged from the wreckage of January 6, still the dominant force within the party. Those who speak against him are purged, and his endorsement is the most coveted asset in nearly every Republican primaries. A Republican senator personally explained his reluctance to break with Mr. Trump by noting that the former president polled the Republicans in his state better than he did. “You can’t downplay that in terms of political reality,” the senator said.
Yet Mr Trump is not all-powerful within the party. For months he complains to Mr. McConnell and demands that Republican senators remove him as their leader. Republican senators have uniformly ignored Mr Trump as if his rants were irrelevant.
And there are times when Mr. Trump doesn’t seem to be in command of his base so much as a prisoner of it. When he urged an Alabama audience to get vaccinated against the coronavirus — a vaccine he helped generate — in August, the crowd chased him out. To make the point, he avoided bringing up the vaccine again for months.
When he said he had been boosted in Texas last month, he was booed again. This time, he told supporters that while “you shouldn’t be forced to take it”, they were “playing into their hands”, meaning his opponents, by denigrating the vaccine. By Wednesday, he was turning to a full-scale assault on vaccine mandates. “This is an outcry, and MAGA nation should rise up and oppose this blatant overstepping of the federal government,” he said in a statement.