On January 4, 2021, the day before a crucial run-off vote to determine which party would control the Senate for at least the next 2 years, Donald Trump appeared at a rally in Georgia ostensibly to assist two candidates for the U.S. Senate, but the rally was marked by lying that even by Trump standards wildly overshot his own standards. He did this because on January 6, 2021 the joint houses of the American Congress were to meet to approve or reject the votes by the Electoral College, which gave Biden the victory. Trump’s minion, Mike Pence would have the job of “presiding” over the joint meeting of both Houses, but the job is ordinarily ceremonial. At this rally Trump said he would like Pence “a lot less” if he did not do what Trump wanted. Somehow he thought Pence could manipulate things so that the votes of the Electoral College could be overturned in his favour.
Trump may also be desperate to avoid becoming the subject of numerous House of Representatives or Department of Justice investigations that are being contemplated.
These two forces seem to have driven Trump completely out of control. Here is what Daniel Dale, CNN’s Trump fact-checker who probably rarely sleeps, had to say about Trump’s speech the day before that meeting after Don Lemon asked him what stood out about that speech:
“What stood out was that the speech was like from an alternate universe. The president is not even remotely connected to reality. Either he’s lying, his brain has been completely captured by internet weirdos, or both. And frankly as a fact-checker I’m bored. Like have you ever sat at a family gathering or at a bar or on a date that had someone just talk your ear off with complete nonsense like for an hour and you feel like you can’t escape? That’s all of us right now because that’s the president right now. He said over and over that he had won the election by a landslide. He lost the election. He said over and over that the other side engaged in mass cheating, stealing, forging, ballot dumping, none of which happened. He stood there and read, this is not ad-libbed, this is reading from a teleprompter, imaginary statistics about voting in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin. It’s all wrong. It’s all debunked by fact-checkers. It’s all dismissed by the courts. On and on. It hardly feels worth it to get into the details of this, though it’s actually my job and I get paid for it. I do think it’s worth getting into some of the false claims he made about the Democratic Georgia candidates. Of course we have an election tomorrow. For example, he claimed that Raphael Warnock talked about ‘opening up the jails.’ If you go back and watch that full clip in context when Warnock last year talked about releasing prisoners who were arrested for marijuana offences in particular, not just letting all criminals out. Jon Ossoff is part of the crusade to defund the police. John Ossoff is on record for months over and over saying he opposes defunding the police, he wants police reform. This was just a wildly dishonest speech. One of the worst honestly I have ever heard from the president.”
Of course those lies had consequences. Trump was not able to fire up enough Georgian voters to get his candidates elected. He may though have fired up the Democrats enough to come out in droves to vote against them. As well he may have been effective in getting his supporters to show up on January 6 for a rally in front of the White House from where he would “lead” them to the Capitol. He turned out he led them from the rear, but he they were fired up enough to wreak havoc. The Capitol was invaded by his followers. Lies have consequences. Sometimes those consequences are serious.