Apparently Not Even Jared and Ivanka Think Trump’s Election Scam Is Going Anywhere

content-header__row content-header__hed” data-testid=”ContentHeaderHed”>Apparently Not Even Jared and Ivanka Think Trump's Election Scam Is Going AnywhereSome Republicans are offering more forceful rebukes as the president and Rudy Giuliani's antics get even more desperate, but they're still not doing enough to end this dangerous power grab. 

November 20, 2020

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump look on as Donald Trump speaks in a meeting in 2017.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

There is nothing that better captures the dueling menace and absurdity of Donald Trump’s coup attempt than his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, ranting and raving about vast international conspiracies while mysterious black goop streaks down the sides of his face. Yes, this is a dangerous and unprecedented assault on the bedrock of our democracy. But it’s also, in its chronic ineptitude, a laughingstock. His power grab has been pathetic—but couldn’t it still work?

There’s some comfort to be found in the fact that his inner circle doesn’t seem to think so. As Axios reported Friday, while his allies are publicly indulging him, most see his efforts as futile and have actively avoided his legal team, wanting no part in Giuliani’s circus. Even Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, the prince and princess of Trumpworld, apparently don’t think he stands a chance. And with the White House paralyzed by Trump’s unyielding obsession with the phantom voter fraud he claims cost him the election, his aides and staff appear to be counting down the days until this is all over. “Looking forward to getting out of here,” one administration official told CNN this week.

Just because his gambit is almost certain to fail doesn’t mean it can’t do real damage. That his White House and his party have nonetheless stood by as he imperils democracy is contemptible, but whether he actually thinks he can hang onto power or simply wants to burn it all down on his way out the door, the whole exercise is inflicting real wounds on the country—and holding up Joe Biden’s transition team, who to inherit major crises in two short months. 

His latest maneuver—targeting the certification process and courting GOP state lawmakers in an effort to appoint electors that will overturn the will of the people—is so outrageous, it's led some Republicans to speak out more forcefully. In a statement Thursday, Utah Senator Mitt Romney said that “it is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American President.” Iowa Senator Joni Ernst said in an interview with Fox News Radio Thursday that allegations of a rigged election by Trump lawyer Sidney Powell were “offensive” and lacked proof, though she maintained that Trump’s court fight remains a “means of recourse” for him. Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse perhaps went the furthest, condemning Giuliani’s antics and noting that the president’s lawyers in court “have repeatedly refused to actually allege grand fraud — because there are legal consequences for lying to judges.” “Wild press conferences erode public trust,” Sasse said in a statement. “So no, obviously Rudy and his buddies should not pressure electors to ignore their certification obligations under the statute.”

“We are a nation of laws,” he added, “not tweets.”

The statements may not be particularly surprising coming from Romney and Sasse, who have occasionally criticized the president, even as they have largely enabled him. Less expected, perhaps, was MAGA mouthpiece Tucker Carlson bashing Trump’s legal team on his program Thursday night. The Fox News host didn’t counter the president’s bogus voter fraud claims, but he tore into Powell after she declined requests to appear on the show and to produce evidence in support of her press conference whopper: that votes were actually changed from Trump to Biden in electronic systems. “We would have given her the whole hour,” Carlson said. “But she never sent us any evidence, despite a lot of requests, polite requests. Not a page. When we kept pressing, she got angry and told us to stop contacting her.”

“She never demonstrated that a single actual vote was moved illegitimately by software from one candidate to another,” Carlson added. “Not one.”

When you’ve gone too far even for Tucker Carlson, that’s a bad sign. But it’ll take more than a handful of qualified condemnations from Republicans and shrugs from administration officials to end this charade. It is well past time for the GOP to stand up to this bumbling tyrant. Trump may be a punchline, but the joke is getting less funny by the day.

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