Aired on January 07, 2021
Last night, even after a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol attempted to overthrow American democracy, a majority of Republicans in the House and a handful of GOP senators tried to throw out the results of the presidential election, and now, the right-wing media is already trying to blame the left for the sedition they sowed. For more on this, it’s time for “A Closer Look.”
Yesterday, there was a violent insurrection and attempted sedition in the United States, and as we noted on this show last night, what we all witnessed was, unfortunately, a familiar part of American history. It’s not all of what America is, and, in fact, it’s been rejected by a majority of Americans in election after election, including in Georgia on Tuesday, but it is very much a part of what America is, and as we said last night, as well, there have been violent white supremacist coups in this country before — like the mob riot in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1898 that overthrew a legitimately elected biracial government. No one ever learns that stuff in history class because our textbooks whitewash it. In fact, I’m pretty sure my history textbook jumped from the end of the Civil War to the Great Depression, and the chapter in between was just called “Yada Yada Yada.” And if you want to step outside the bubble of American media for just a moment and get a truly harrowing look at the state of our democracy from the vantage point of the rest of the world, take a few minutes to watch this report from a British television network on the violence at the Capitol.
The pro-Trump crowd fought with the police.
Trying to break through their lines…
…intoxicated by the unlikely prospect of reversing America’s election outcome.
This is exactly what was feared, but in no way is this a surprise. It has been fueled by the president’s rhetoric.
We follow the aggrieved and infuriated Trump supporters as they stormed the building…
I swear that’s CNN, and they just said these guys…
…through broken windows and doors they had forced open, and for a few heady moments, they felt they had won a precious victory. America’s long journey as a stable democracy appears to be in genuine doubt.
Wow, that is sobering. Nothing opens your eyes like hearing a British person breathlessly describe your bad behavior. Like, I think I’m a pretty good dad and husband, but I wouldn’t if I heard the BBC say,
[British accent] “Sunday morning, and he’s still in bed, his wife downstairs making breakfast for his sons. He knows he could provide assistance, yet he idly scrolls through his Twitter feed. Looking for what? Even he doesn’t know.”
[Normal voice] So, can politicians and the media stop using the words “banana republic” or “third world country” to describe what happened yesterday? Please? I mean, there have been violent insurrections in this country before and without consequences, and it’s gonna happen again. That’s why the people responsible for this violence must be held accountable from the top down. They should be removed from the White House and expelled from Congress. The FBI, for its part, announced that they are seeking to identify individuals instigating violence in Washington, D.C.. “We are accepting tips and digital media depicting rioting or violence in and around the U.S. Capitol on January 6.”
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh! Oh, oh! Ohhh! I have a tip!
[President Trump] We will never give up! We will never concede!
[President Trump] You have to get your people to fight. We’re gonna walk down to the Capitol…
[President Trump] …and we’re gonna cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not gonna be cheering so much for some of them…
[President Trump] …because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.
[Rudy Giuliani] If we’re right, a lot of them will go to jail.
[Rudy Giuliani] So… …let’s have trial by combat!
Hey, FBI, you might want to check that guy out. I remember seeing him around New York a few years back. Randy-something? No, Rudy! President’s lawyer told a crowd of supporters he wants a trial by combat. But sure, we’re the ones being hysterical by calling this a coup. Also, trial by combat. I knew Rudy was born in the ’40s, but I didn’t think it was the 1440s. “The last time I engaged in trial by combat was with Henry the IV. That’s when I died the first time!” What would a medieval trial by combat even look like with Rudy? He probably keeps his broadsword in his pants. “Oh, is the fight starting? Help me with the zipper, honey.” [Laughter] I mean, imagine… imagine being such a Trump dead-ender that you’re pinning your hopes on a guy who got duped by Borat’s daughter. Although, I will admit, yesterday, even I was inspired when I heard the song that played when Rudy entered the rally.
♪ Macho, macho man ♪
♪ Macho, macho man ♪
♪ I’ve got to be a macho ♪
Do we really believe these people know the intricacies of the Constitution when they don’t know the context of “Macho Man”? And then yesterday, Rudy sunk even lower after the insurrection, when he called up newly-elected Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville and asked him to keep challenging states to stop the certification process. Or at least, he thought he was calling Tuberville. It turns out Rudy accidentally dialed up a different senator, and then that senator released it.
[Rudy Giuliani] Senator Tuberville? Or I should say Coach Tuberville. This is Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer. […] There are ten states that we contest, not three. So if you could object to every state and, along with a congressman, get a hearing for every state, I know we would delay you a lot, but it would give us the opportunity to get the legislators who are very, very close to pulling their vote.
Oh, Rudy. Even when he’s trying to foment a violent coup, he’s also America’s dumbest potato goblin. First Four Seasons Total Landscaping, now this. Also, how could he have mixed up the name “Tuberville” with a different senator? The name sounds like a children’s cartoon character. “Meet the Tubervilles” sounds like the name of a movie where Eddie Murphy will play everyone in the family, and that movie would be great. And I know there’s a lot going on and this isn’t for today, but Eddie Murphy deserved an Oscar for Nutty Professor. Also, this Rudy story is a useful reminder that just because these people are brain-dead morons with sludge in their skulls doesn’t mean they’re not also violent seditionists. It can be a coup, even though most of the people leading the coup are dumb. I’m pretty sure there were also some real f*ck dipsh!t in the Confederacy, too. I mean, there’s a base named after Confederate General Braxton Bragg, who, in addition to being a slaver and a traitor, was also “a jackass and an assh*le,” “a bad strategist, an inept tactician, a racist and a screw-up.” He’d fit right in with the Trump crowd. Did he also get pranked by Borat and send telegrams to the wrong generals? “This is Braxton Bragg. We’re staging a secret nighttime assault in Chattanooga. Don’t tell anyone.” “Um, this is Ulysses S. Grant.” “Oh, no. Damn it! Oh, you screwed up again, Braxton.”
So it shouldn’t surprise us that some of the guys leading this current insurrection against the United States are also some of the dumbest assh*les alive. You’ve got Trump, Rudy, and Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar, the first guy to object to Arizona’s electoral votes yesterday, who announced even after the insurrection that he’d be continuing with his objections, which were joined, it should be noted, by over 120 House Republicans, the majority of the GOP caucus. You might remember Gosar is the guy whose siblings aired an ad for his Democratic opponent in 2018. And not just one of them or two of them — six. Six of his siblings openly campaigned against him. Do you know how humiliating that is? That’s like if my entire family went on James Corden’s Thanksgiving show. You have a contract, Dad. Also, lock up your gin, James. And here’s a question for Gosar, since he’s from Arizona, but he’s also challenging the Arizona results — and this applies to Republicans from Pennsylvania and Georgia and Michigan and all the other swing states — if the presidential election was fraudulent, how come your election wasn’t fraudulent? Why did you take your seat if the results from your state can’t be trusted? It’s the same ballot. Literally the same piece of paper. These guys are like diners complaining to a waiter that the chicken isn’t cooked, and when the waiter asks if they want something else, they say, “Yeah, some more of this raw-ass chicken.” It just shows that their arguments are obvious bull[bleep] It’s just a lie to conceal their true aim — overthrowing democracy and installing Trump as a dictator. And there should be immediate consequences for that, which is why it was, quite frankly, head-spinning and a little bizarre to watch members of the House and Senate return to their chambers yesterday after the violence and act as if nothing had happened.
[Ben Sasse] The center of America is not Washington, D.C. The center of America is the neighborhoods where 330 million Americans are raising their kids and trying to put food on the table and trying to love their neighbor. Organize, persuade, but most importantly, love your neighbor. Visit the widower down the street who’s lonely and didn’t want to tell anybody that his wife died and he doesn’t have a lot of friends. Shovel somebody’s neighbor — shovel somebody’s driveway. You can’t hate somebody who just shoveled your driveway.
Oh, yes, you can. Two 16-year-old punks from down the street kindly offered to shovel my driveway last week, so I said, “Oh, that’s so nice.” And then an hour later, they came back to my door and said, “Okay, that’ll be 50 bucks.” And I said, “50 bucks? I thought this was a community service.” And they said, “Stubborn, old man, where’s our money?” And I said, “I’m not old!” And they said, “1973 called. They want their haircut back.” And I said, “Where’d you learn that joke formation from? It hasn’t been in style for years.” But they just high-fived each other and started shoveling the snow back onto my driveway, so I chased after them, but then I fell and I hurt my back and I couldn’t get up. So I had to beg them to help me up, and they say they would do it for 100 bucks. And I said, “No way!” So then they started shoveling snow on top of me and said, “Now it’s $200,” and long story short, I’m old.
Also, quick follow-up question for you, Ben Sasse. What a-the f*ck are you a-talking about? Violent separatists just ransacked the Capitol in an attempt to overthrow democracy, forcing lawmakers and staff to lock down and shelter in place, and your solution is to shovel your neighbor’s driveway? This isn’t Lake Wobegon. You’re not the host of “Prairie Home Companion.” You’re a United States senator, and insurgents just breached the Capitol! Also, I’m sorry, from your story, who is this widower that doesn’t want to tell anyone his wife died? That sounds super shady, Ben. And if he hasn’t told anyone, does that mean I don’t know he’s a widower when I go and visit? Am I trying to find out over the course of the visit? “Where’s Edith?” “I don’t know. Attic, maybe? Uh, maybe basement?” Does he need me to shovel his driveway because he’s tired from already shoveling? “What were you doing in your flower bed in January?” “Oh! Don’t go over there!” I feel like that’s a bit of a tangent, but so the f*ck was that! Ben Sasse sucks.
Why isn’t Congress immediately convening to remove the leader of a violent insurrectionist movement from the presidency? He’s an urgent national security threat. Thankfully, Democratic leaders and many Republicans have now started to announce their support for Trump’s immediate removal from office. But it’s not just Trump. Today, he was cheered by the RNC. And even after yesterday’s events at the Capitol, a majority of House Republicans and several GOP senators doubled down on their attempt to throw out the results of the presidential election. They went ahead with the same goal as the separatists. One of the ringleaders, Josh Holley, actually got up on the Senate floor and continued to insist on his objections even after a mob ransacked the Capitol.
[Josh Holley] I hope that this body will not miss the opportunity to take affirmative action to address the concerns of so many millions of Americans. We do need an investigation into irregularities, fraud. This is the forum. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court hasn’t heard the case. There’s no other court to go to to hear the case in the state. And so this is the appropriate place for these concerns to be raised, which is why I have raised them here today.
Got to say, I’m getting real Patrick Bateman vibes from this guy, which is a bummer, because based on Twitter, a lot of people are getting real Seth Meyers vibes from him. You have to be a real cretin to not even evince a scintilla of regret for your role in the attempted violent destruction of democracy. The only enjoyable part of Hawley’s speech was watching Mitt Romney right behind him, trying as hard as he could to shoot literal daggers out of his eyes. Do you know how awful you have to be to make Mitt Romney mad? Say what you will about the guy, but he’s not exactly known for his temper. He’s like the youth pastor who lets you off the hook for smoking weed. “Well, if you guys say it’s medicinal, I trust you.”
Trump should be removed from office immediately. Hawley, Cruz, and the rest of the Sedition Caucus should be expelled from Congress, shamed and disgraced. They should be remembered in history forever as seditionists who attempted a coup. And in Cruz’s case, he should also be remembered as looking like an alcoholic werewolf who got stuck halfway between transformations. “There was a full moon, but then it got cloudy. But don’t worry, I’m suing the cloud.”
Yet instead of wearing the shame they deserve and slinking away in disgrace, many of the well-paid provocateurs in the right-wing media who have spent years fomenting the lies and conspiracy theories that led to the moment, they’re doubling down by repeating the gross and baseless lie that it actually wasn’t Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol — it was Antifa.
[Rep. Matt Gaetz, on C-Span] Some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters. They were masquerading as Trump supporters and in fact were members of the violent terrorist group Antifa.
[Fox News] There are some reports that Antifa sympathizers may have been sprinkled throughout the crowd.
[Fox News] There’s always bad actors that will infiltrate large crowds. I don’t care if they’re radical left, radical right — I don’t know who they are. They’re not people I would support.
[Fox News] We don’t know who all were the instigators in this of these horrible things that happened today. I think a lot of it is the Antifa folks.
[Fox News] There is some indication that fascist Antifa elements were involved, that they embedded themselves in the Trump protest to appear to be Trump protesters.
[Fox News] The rumor is that even possibly Antifa insurrectionists possibly could have infiltrated some of these movements and maybe instigated some of this.
Their faces are on camera, you assh*les Some of them were quoted on the record in newspapers. Also, why are you repeating a rumor? And where did you hear the rumor, anyway? Did Rudy accidentally leave you a voicemail, too? Also, it turns out the story Gaetz based his line of bullsh!t on was, of course, also bullsh!t and has since been retracted. It turns out the facial recognition software the rumor was based on actually identified two members of neo-Nazi organizations and a QAnon supporter among the pro-Trump mob, not Antifa members. Oh, well, that’s a little bit of an oops, isn’t it? Innocent mistake, and I’m sure Gaetz and all the craven Fox News ghouls who repeated this disgusting lie to defend a violent insurrection will immediately apologize. Who was running the facial recognition software, anyway? Oh, no. Was it Rudy again? “I used it on myself, and I got a perfect match.” And really, of all people, you think we want to hear from Sarah Palin right now? I mean, how’d you book her? I figured she’d be too busy writing a speech via magnetic poetry on her fridge. “Antifa scoundrels were so and always America hockey mom you betcha!”
It is an urgent matter of national security and essential for the preservation of our democracy that Trump be lawfully removed from office as quickly as possible. And if you’re in the administration and you’re choosing now to resign with two weeks to go instead of helping facilitate his removal through impeachment or the 25th Amendment, then all you’re doing is looking out for yourself. It needs to happen immediately, along with the expulsion or resignation of Cruz, Hawley, and any other Republicans who fomented this violent sedition against our democracy. If this isn’t a moment that calls for urgent congressional action, then nothing is. Congress, put as much effort into this as you would if you were about to, I don’t know…
[Ben Sasse] Shovel somebody’s driveway.
This has been “A Closer Look.”