Good morning, and a happy day to Tom Brady, who’s going to his first post-Patriots Super Bowl, looking more like 2004, when the Pats beat the Panthers, than a 43-year-old about to play the champion Chiefs. Go Bucs!
Over the weekend, Vanity Fair, which for a while now has been among the sharpest tools in the media shed for investigative reporting, published a piece by Adam Ciralsky, a seasoned former intelligence attorney turned reporter in the national security space, about the DoD’s role, reaction, and relationship with President Trump, especially during January 6th’s Capitol insurrection. RedState writer “Shipwreckedcrew” described Ciralsky as “clearly an anti-Trumper and a Democrat.”
Ciralsky’s spider sense led him to request—and receive—an embed with acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller and his chief of staff Kash Patel during the crucial days before and during the “stop the steal” rally that turned into a riot. According to Ciralsky’s report, Miller also felt the prescient tingle.
On the morning of January 6, as Miller recounted, he was hopeful that the day would prove uneventful. But decades in special operations and intelligence had honed his senses. “It was the first day I brought an overnight bag to work. My wife was like, ‘What are you doing there?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know when I’m going to be home.’” To hear Patel tell it, they were on autopilot for most of the day: “We had talked to [the president] in person the day before, on the phone the day before, and two days before that. We were given clear instructions. We had all our authorizations. We didn’t need to talk to the president. I was talking to [Trump’s chief of staff, Mark] Meadows, nonstop that day.”
Possibly, Miller’s feeling came from Trump himself. In the article’s second paragraph, Miller recounted that on the day before the rally, the president told him “You’re going to need 10,000 people,” when asked how many troops the Pentagon would need to supply.
“We’re like, ‘We’re going to provide any National Guard support that the District requests,’” Miller responded. “And [Trump] goes, ‘You’re going to need 10,000 people.’ No, I’m not talking bullshit. He said that. And we’re like, ‘Maybe. But you know, someone’s going to have to ask for it.’” At that point Miller remembered the president telling him, “‘You do what you need to do. You do what you need to do.’ He said, ‘You’re going to need 10,000.’ That’s what he said. Swear to God.”
Ciralsky’s fresh takes from Miller and Patel showed the Pentagon acting according to its long-practiced procedures. As every senior official at the Capitol was ringing the E-ring’s phones off the hook during the time the crowd overwhelmed D.C. and Capitol Police, Miller said his people played by the book, and knew what they were doing.
“I know for an absolute fact,” Ciralsky quoted Miller saying, “that historians are going to look…at the actions that we did on that day and go, ‘Those people had their game together.’”
So, if the president told his defense secretary that he’d need 10,000 people, and Washington D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser failed to cede any control of security in the District to the National Guard (stung by the president’s use of force to clear Lafayette Square of BLM protestors last June), and the Capitol Police simply didn’t believe the crowd would resort to violence, isn’t that a pretty good defense for Trump in an impeachment trial? Is Miller running interference for Trump out of loyalty, or is he covering up something? Or is the Pentagon truly an independent political force, with its own priorities?
The impeachment trial clock starts today. This trial will be a lot different than the last one, which featured no real or useful witnesses, and became a political circus. This trial will be one where witnesses testify as to who did what leading up to, and during January 6th.
It will be done in public. The nation needs to know in order to move on. Whether Trump is convicted or not, we need to know, and not just because we need to know what Trump knew, and when he knew it.
Joe Biden has entrusted the DOD to a former general. I have always believed that the Pentagon needs to be run by someone who understand the military mindset.
I think that the “whiz kid” Robert McNamara and Don Rumsfeld style of civilian oversight allowed the White House to micromanage military operations in a way that is deleterious to morale and national interests. Rumsfeld’s best performance was to get out of Gen. Schwarzkopf’s way during the First Gulf War, but Rumsfeld also got Bush to approve the B-1 bomber, which turned out to be a giant white elephant and money pit.
I’m glad Biden put a veteran in the SecDef role. But Ciralsky’s glimpse into the Pentagon’s dysfunction (during my time as a defense contractor, we called it the Puzzle Palace), makes me question the wisdom of handing over the reins to an organization that may be called upon to provide internal security in a post-Trump era of extreme politicization.
The New York Times @nytimesPresident Biden is perhaps the most religiously observant commander in chief in half a century. A different, more liberal Christianity grounds his life and his policies. https://t.co/G27AWibfSe
The Christianity praised by the NYT is not the same Christianity practiced by, say, Franklin Graham. It’s a “different, more liberal Christianity.” I suppose the Christ that has taken the NYT’s portrayal of Biden into revival is one who supports abortion, critical race theory, green economics, and socialism.
The real Jesus, is more like the one Hunter Baker, dean of arts and sciences at a Tennessee Baptist college called Union University, follows. Baker wrote a heartfelt and deep apology for being a MAGA-hat-wearing Trumpist, and trashing those who warned against it. David French, writing in The Dispatch, praised Hunter’s introspection and humility.
In our present environment, it takes guts to write an apology. It’s countercultural within our broader society, and it’s even more countercultural within the MAGA community. As my colleague Jonah Goldberg noted on Friday, even after the calamity of January 6, most MAGA voices are busy doubling down, demanding continued loyalty to Trump and seeking punitive actions against the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach.
French’s response: “Thank you. Apology accepted.”
Anyone who thinks the Trump presidency ended in a resounding note of patriotism and statecraft should apologize. And those who are owed an apology should graciously accept it. So far, these are both the exception. But I’m willing to play “Red Rover” and take them one by one.
I, for one, apologize for my shilling for Trump at times, under cover of “calling balls and strikes.” In fact, when I got the outcomes I liked, I ignored the poisoned character that produced them, or somehow hoped he’d be influenced by all the laying on of hands and prayer surrounding him. When I saw the polluted effluent of that character, I hand-waved it away as leftist media outrage. I admit, I should have been more outraged myself. All through 2015 and 2016, I was outraged. Then when Trump won, I decided I owed it to the voters to write in a favorable way and give him a chance.
Trump never had a chance unless he first changed his character. He never did, and nobody close to him held him accountable. Now, we must deal with it, or the next demagogue (who may be a Democrat) will do far worse.
If Trump can hide behind evangelical, white southern Christians, despite his enormous penchant for sin, why can’t Biden hide behind a liberal, social justice Jesus, and get the NYT newsroom to take communion with him?
The answer is: neither should.
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