Excerpts from “Tired of Winning: Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party,” by Jonathan Karl of ABC News:
“He lacks any shred of human decency, humility, or caring,” a former White House official wrote of Trump, the man he had served for more than a year. “He is morally bankrupt, breathtakingly dishonest, lethally incompetent, and stunningly ignorant of virtually anything related to governing, history, geography, human events or world affairs. He is a traitor and a malignancy in our nation and represents a clear and present danger to our democracy and the rule of law.” (p. 263, Jonathan Karl, CBS Political Affairs Reporter)
“Two and a half years after January 6th, the man whom many of the rioters said was ultimately responsible for the carnage seemed on the way to finally being held accountable…He faces a maximum of 55 years in prison—the maximum in the documents case is higher—but because Trump stands accused of betraying the very oath of office he hopes to take once again. The charges include defrauding the United States and depriving Americans of their right to have their votes count—a right central to the meaning of democracy.” (p. 269)
“President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it.” (Mitch McConnell on Feb. 13, 2021.)
“Remnants of the Trump era will be a strange reminder of how Trump operated—his disregard for history and for the law—in this case, the Presidential Records Act of 1978—says that official presidential records are the property of the American people, not of any individual, not even a president. Trump destroyed some of them, others he took home to Mar-a-Lago as if they were personal souvenirs of his time as commander in chief. Fortunately for future historians—and current criminal investigators—many of the documents he attempted to pilfer were returned, and many of those he tried to destroy were gathered, taped back together, and preserved by government employees attempting to comply with a law their boss had no intention of following.” (p. 272).
The MITT ROMNEY IS A TOTAL LOSER napkin: “One of the more unusual documents now under seal at the National Archives is a paper napkin from Air Force One. The napkin—the existence of which has never been made public—is hardly a state secret, but it reveals much more than the words written on it by Donald Trump with a Black sharpie: MITT ROMNEY IS A TOTAL LOSER.” We don’t know the exact content of this presidential musing—or even the date it was retrieved—or why Trump chose to scrawl those words on a napkin. Did he write it after Romney became the only Republican to vote to convict him in his first impeachment trial? Or when Romney became one of seven Republicans to vote to impeach him in his second impeachment trial? Or maybe it was after Romney and his wife, Ann, congratulated Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on winning the 2020 election. “We know both of them as people of good will and admirable character,” Senator Romney said in a statement issued minutes after Biden and Harris were projected as winners of the election. “We pray that God may bless them in the days and years ahead.”
Trump had called Romney a loser many times, but the context of the words scrawled on the napkin—TOTAL LOSER—were different than those he blurted out on Twitter or during speeches. The napkin was a private note, probably one he had written to himself, and an indication Trump had Romney on his mind, and perhaps a reflection of the obsession with the man who won the Republican nomination four years before Trump did. Of course, the note wasn’t completely wrong—Romney, like Trump, was a loser. Both men had lost a presidential election. But, unlike Trump, Romney took his loss with grace and dignity. He did what Trump would never do. He congratulated his opponent—Barack Obama—and put the country above himself, offering words of support to the man who had defeated him.
SAM HOUSTON STORY: Sam Houston, the former Governor of Tennessee, battlefield hero, and founding father of Texas independence. Houston was the first president of the Independent Republic of Texas, the first senator from the state of Texas and one of the most independent, unique, popular, forceful and dramatic individuals ever to enter the Senate chamber. Houston put all of that on the line beginning with a vote he took in the Senate in 1854 against what would become the Kansas-Nebraska Act. To Houston’s fellow Democrats, it was a must-pass bill, a test of Southern unity and survival. Houston saw the bill for what it was—a way to reopen the the issue of expanding slavery that would set America on a path to civil war. Not a single Senate Democrat joined him in voting against it...His stand against Southern secession was so forceful, Houston received a few votes to be Abraham Lincoln’s vice president. He traveled around his state to make what had become a very unpopular case for Texas to remain in the Union. While he was campaigning in the city of Waco, a bomb exploded behind the hotel he was staying in—an unsuccessful attempt to either kill or intimidate him. He survived the bombing, but he lost the battle. And when Texas officially seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy, Houston was once again defeated, removed from office after he refused to take the oath of the new Confederate state of Texas. Sam Houston was far from perfect, but at the end of his life, he stood up to the madness of his own party—and the madness of his own constituents. Despite the steep personal price he paid, his place in history was secure—and it started with a vote, an act of political courage—made inside the Senate Chamber.” (p. 279).
“Trump’s betrayal shows just how vulnerable our democracy is and how much it depends on people who are in positions of responsibility to act responsibly.” (p. 281).
“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed (January 6th) was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” (Liz Cheney, R, Wyoming, while heading the January 6th Commission.) (p. 285).
Of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump the second time, the vote of Representative Tom Rice of South Carolina to impeach was among the most surprising. Rice’s reason for voting to impeach, articulated in Jonathan Karl’s book: “When Trump watched the Capitol, the People’s House, being sacked, when he watched the Capitol Police officers being beaten for those three or four hours and he lifted not one finger or did one thing to stop it—I was livid then and I’m livid today about it.” (p. 285)