OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Guest Author, S. Christopher Michaels, wrote the article below. Look for more of his material here at WayneDupree.com.
A wild tale is unfolding across media platforms detailing the final weeks of the Trump Presidency.
Axios are pushing the popular narrative. A less-known and competing account comes from a smaller outlet, DeepCapture. The spin on the ‘demise´ of the MAGA movement will dominate news cycles for weeks and months to come. My sense on reading both accounts is the truth lies somewhere in-between.
The real question that should be on everyone’s mind as they read either or both articles are, why now?
Just this week, we saw Senator Ted Cruz take his public ‘loyalty’ pledge denouncing Trump’s speech on January 6th. More politicians and media-types will feel compelled to make similar pledges of fealty to the new king. Purging the vanquished is nothing new in American politics, regardless of what your preferred news source tells you. Still, I can’t help but have more questions than answers when I read both justifications for the waning weeks of Trump’s time in office.
I took to social media last night trying to offer a reasoned approach. Naturally, both tribes came back with pitchforks in hand or outright ignored my pleas. My recommendation to them, and you, is to read both articles and make a Venn diagram. There are overlapping circles for the uninitiated, where we place similarities in the shared space and the differences in the separate areas. Each article is itself a narrative of the meeting on December 18, 2020, in the White House. The Axios piece clearly comes from someone who is both trying to distance himself from Trump and ‘set the record straight.’ Simultaneously, the DeepCapture story comes from someone who is trying to cozy up to Trump and ‘set the record straight.’ Both cannot be correct in their entirety. Both can be wrong, though. Or, at least, wrong enough to have ignored objectivity in their own reporting.
I don’t want to waste your time supporting either narrative. You’re capable of reaching your own conclusions. I haven’t the foggiest idea of the verifiable reality that occurred aside from the facts in common between the two stories. Truth be told, neither do you. We can speculate—but that’s all it is: speculation. Let’s divide the difference and focus solely on the facts that appear in both stories.
- Both sides agree a meeting occurred on December 18th.
- The meeting was attended by General Flynn, Sidney Powell, Trump’s legal advisors, and many others.
- Trump was presented with competing pathways to conduct his remaining days in his first term in office.
- At some point in the evening, the two teams became heated in their exchange about the best way forward.
- The meeting was adjourned from the Oval Office and resumed in the Presidential residence upstairs.
- Whether that night or later, Trump did not decide to appoint Sidney Powell as a Special Counsel.
- Trump did not choose to enact the recommended Executive Orders that would have been seen as extraordinary measures.
These facts are not in dispute between the accounts. This is the overlap in our Venn diagram. The tabloid material in each retelling offers nothing but good ‘scoop.’ It serves only to reassure Team Outside or Team Inside that their side held the moral high ground.’
I was hoping you could put on your detective hat with me.
We have a he-said, she-said. We are getting a story six weeks after it occurred. We are getting quotes from both sides that offer ‘damning’ examples of their opponents. As detectives, we need to reconstruct the scene as best we can. We have to start with the facts that are corroborated in both articles. From there, we have to assume motives from each of the eyewitness accounts and observe their future actions to determine if our assessment of their reasons is correct or not. Short of any audio recording or retelling by President Trump himself, we can’t know what did or did not happen aside from the facts in common. There is no physical evidence we can reference. We are left to make circumstantial determinations about who to believe and why.
And this ties into the question I asked earlier. Why now? Presumably, each article, as told by its eyewitness, is designed to promote its own position at its adversary’s direct expense. Furthermore, each was delivered within one day of the other. What this really tells me is there is a larger fight going on behind the scenes.
We have each side’s narrative. We have corroborated facts. The reality we are left with is that President Trump is out of office. There is a power vacuum in the Republican Party. MAGA supporters and establishment types are fighting over that space. Who will win is not yet known. What is known is that conservatives are cannibalizing each other to claw their way into the driver’s seat for their own shot at glory. In so doing, we are letting current officeholders drive policy down a road many of us are uncomfortable with. We won’t like the outcome if we don’t lock arms as conservatives, protecting the freedoms we hold so dear. Either we stand together, or we face reality we won’t like one bit.
As always, this has been the World, According to Chris.
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