Pretty strong stuff, especially coming from the editorial board that went to war with Big Tech over its reporting on Hunter Biden. The famously pro-Trump New York Post has had enough of Donald Trump’s election challenges, it made clear in its editorial today. Under a front-page headline of “STOP THE INSANITY,” the Post’s editors emphasize that Trump lost the election — and that his challenges have proven nothing other than that fact:
— NY Post Opinion (@NYPostOpinion) December 28, 2020
You had every right to investigate the election. But let’s be clear: Those efforts have found nothing. To take just two examples: Your campaign paid $3 million for a recount in two Wisconsin counties, and you lost by 87 more votes. Georgia did two recounts of the state, each time affirming Biden’s win. These ballots were counted by hand, which alone debunks the claims of a Venezuelan vote-manipulating Kraken conspiracy.
Sidney Powell is a crazy person. Michael Flynn suggesting martial law is tantamount to treason. It is shameful.
We understand, Mr. President, that you’re angry that you lost. But to continue down this road is ruinous. We offer this as a newspaper that endorsed you, that supported you: If you want to cement your influence, even set the stage for a future return, you must channel your fury into something more productive.
This might not be as surprising as it seems. The NYP’s editorial board scolded Trump on November 7th over his “stolen election” rhetoric, as WaPo analyst Aaron Blake pointed out on Twitter. They warned Trump at that point to “get Rudy Giuliani off TV,” and to stick to legal challenges such as recounts. To do otherwise, they warned at that time, would tarnish his legacy:
If Trump persists in wild talk to the contrary, he’ll lead his people into irrelevance and marginalize his own voice. His years in the White House have transformed the nation, but refusing to let go now will make it easier for his enemies to undo it all.
They’re even more concerned about that in today’s editorial, especially after watching Trump’s lawyers lose every court case they have presented, save a mooted victory in Pennsylvania over ballots that weren’t counted in the first place. The editors worry that Trump might end up losing two winnable Senate runoffs in Georgia by feeding the flames that Lin Wood and Powell are fanning. It’s not just Trump’s legacy that would be at stake with Democratic control of the Senate, they warn, but Trump himself would become an even bigger target:
If Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler win, they will prevent Biden from rolling back what you have accomplished. A Republican Senate can pressure Biden against returning to the old, failed Iran deal, can stop him from throwing open our southern border, will prevent him from packing the court.
Now imagine a government controlled by your nemeses — Nancy Pelosi in the House, Chuck Schumer in the Senate, Joe Biden in the White House. How high will taxes go? How many of your initiatives will be strangled? And, on a personal note, do you think they won’t spend the next four years torturing you with baseless hearings and investigations?
One has to wonder whether Trump might have already reached the same conclusion. Last week’s late drops of pardons signaled that Trump had turned a corner on grasping his exit, even if he continued to complain about it. His signing of the omnibus/relief bill last night seemed to also indicate a recognition that he didn’t have enough leverage to force Congress back to the drawing board on direct COVID-19 relief payments. He still spent the holidays venting his spleen on Twitter about a “stolen election,” but Powell has become persona non grata at the White House, and a couple of more court losses over the last few days might have finally hammered the point home.
If that doesn’t do it, the upcoming veto override on the NDAA certainly will make the point that Trump has reached lame-duck status. When Republicans sign up to reverse that veto, it will demonstrate that Trump’s dream of a Congressional appointment to the presidency by throwing out the Electoral College results is nothing more than a fantasy — a dangerous, caustic fantasy that will only encourage a backlash against him personally if Democrats gain full control in Washington.
Hence, this development late last night:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 27, 2020
That’s also an encouraging sign of refocused priorities — if Trump stays disciplined on the runoffs. He did a pretty good job of focusing on Perdue and Loeffler in his previous rally, although Trump also vented plenty about election irregularities and the supposed failings of Brian Kemp and Brad Raffersperger, too. If he expects to have an impact with this rally and to have a Senate willing to defend his policy legacy, Trump will have to cut through the extraneous nonsense and focus hard on encouraging his followers to turn out en masse the next day to support the GOP ticket.