NeverTrump Hearts Cassidy

At least their taste in Trump antagonists is getting better.

After more than six years of bandwagoning with every haggard nemesis of Donald Trump—Stormy Daniels, Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Alexander Vindman, and Marie Yovanovitch to name a few—NeverTrump reunited this week to swoon over a telegenic 25-year-old former aide in Trump’s White House: Cassidy Hutchinson. The latest actor to offer a cameo appearance in the January 6 select committee’s show trial caught the collective eye of pundits on the putative Right whose mypoic contempt for Donald Trump caused them to be wrong about basically everything since 2016.

Playing the part of the aged rescuer to the J6 damsel-in-distress, NeverTrump praised her courage and defended her uncorroborated and at times outlandish claims about Trump’s conduct related to the events of January 6. Over-the-top descriptions of her surprise performance headlined their immediate reaction to her two-hour testimony. 

National Review’s Andrew McCarthy appeared the most smitten with the former intern for Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Representative Steve Scalise (R-La.). Her testimony, McCarthy insisted, was “spellbinding,” “compelling,” “stunning,” “riveting,” and “devastating” to Trump. 

“Things will never be the same after this,” the former federal prosecutor warned in a column published Tuesday evening. “All in all, though, Hutchinson showed the nation, moment by moment, what he was like on a day when, undeniably, Trump was at his worst.”

McCarthy’s former NR colleague David French was similarly awestruck. Before Tuesday, French explained in a lengthy fan letter to Hutchinson at The Dispatch, he had little hope the committee would produce evidence to prove Trump was criminally responsible for what happened on January 6. 

Like McCarthy, French said everything changed for him after the committee’s matinee show on Tuesday. “Today’s is different,” French confessed. “Because of a courageous woman named Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mark Meadows. Earlier this afternoon she gave the most extraordinary congressional testimony I’ve ever seen.”

His boss, Steve Hayes, could barely contain himself. “I’ve covered politics for almost 30 years. I’ve never heard anything as jaw-dropping as what we just heard from Cassidy Hutchinson,” Hayes tweeted. “President Trump wanted a coup. He was—and remains—a threat to the Republic.”

Over at the Washington Examiner, the site’s NeverTrumpers quickly raced to Hutchinson’s defense, even helping to inflate her professional bonafides. 

“Hutchinson’s resume alone should establish her credibility,” the Examiner’s editorial board stated. “The 25-year-old had already worked at the highest levels of conservative Republican politics.” (She graduated from college in 2019.) “She did not overstate things, did not seem to be seeking attention, and was very precise about how and why she knew what she related and about which testimony was firsthand and which was secondhand but able to be corroborated.”

LOL.

Examiner columnist Tim Carney claimed Hutchinson “gave the most explosive testimony to date.” While noting some of the discrepancies in her testimony, Carney nonetheless cast aside those doubts to portray Trump exactly how Hutchinson and Cheney described him. “Trump wanted armed men on the White House lawn,” Carney wrote, without evidence. “He then wanted them to march from the White House to the Capitol, armed, in order to stop Congress from ratifying his opponent’s election victory.” Carney also erroneously claimed Trump was in charge of the Capitol Police.

One would be hard-pressed, however, to find a more obsequious—to the point of creepy—billet-doux than the article authored by Mona Charen. 

In her best Single White Female voice, Charen, a once-respected voice of the conservative movement who lost her mind when Trump won the presidency, must have been drooling on her laptop as she wrote these words: 

You have to wonder how Cassidy Hutchinson was raised. What did her parents do to instill a conscience and courage in such a young person? The most frightening thing we’ve learned over the past six years is just how indifferent the vast majority of the Republican party is to the rule of law, the Constitution, basic decency, and truth. But there have also been ordinary men and women who met the moment with grace and integrity. Their examples prove that the flame of liberty has not been extinguished. If this republic survives, Liz Cheney will be remembered as a heroine who ensured that it could. And Cassidy Hutchinson will deserve a place of honor for showing a party of cowards what courage looks like.

The usual suspects chimed in as well. MSNBC contributor and faux conservative Tim Miller marveled how Hutchinson “overcame all of the self-serving rationalizations that prevented the powerful, whose manhoods she held in her palm, from stepping to the plate.” Miller also said Trump “attacked” a Secret Service officer. 

Meanwhile, CNN contributor Amanda Carpenter blasted Republican leaders and wondered aloud why they aren’t as “patriotic as the young staffer they once ordered around.” Bill Kristol, who wouldn’t know the truth if it smacked him in the belly, described Hutchinson as “a young woman telling the truth when her elders have avoided doing so.”

You get the drift.

But a funny thing happened as NeverTrump furiously penned five-star reviews for the supporting actress in the latest January 6 melodrama: Hutchinson’s credibility unraveled. 

As to her most explosive testimony—an altercation inside the presidential limousine that prompted a conversation between Hutchinson, the head of Trump’s security detail, and the deputy chief of staff in the White House on the afternoon of January 6—officials pushed back immediately. NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander tweeted a few hours after her testimony ended that “a source close to the Secret Service says both men dispute Trump grabbed the steering wheel or assaulted an agent,” and both offered to testify under oath.

Politico reported on Wednesday that the January 6 select committee did not reach out to the Secret Service in an attempt to verify Hutchinson’s account prior to the hearing. An agency spokesman told Politico, “we have and will continue to make any member of the Secret Service available” to the committee.

It also appears that a note displayed during the hearing did not belong to Hutchinson, as she claimed, but to a top White House lawyer. “The handwritten note that Cassidy Hutchinson testified was written by her was in fact written by Eric Herschmann on January 6, 2021,” Herschmann’s spokesman told ABC News. “All sources with direct knowledge and law enforcement have and will confirm that it was written by Mr. Herschmann.”

And it’s unclear whether a conversation between Hutchinson and Pat Cipollone, Trump’s White House counsel, could have taken place on the morning of January 6. “Multiple sources including one who was at the WH on Jan 6 tell me Cipollone was not there in the am when Hutchinson testified she spoke with him,” Jack Posobiec tweeted on Wednesday evening. “J6 Cmtes is aware of this discrepancy & are ignoring media inquiries about it. Seems she made up the entire conversation.”

Since the committee subpoenaed Cipollone around the same time Posobiec posted his scoop, perhaps Cheney can clear the air on the discrepancy.

Meanwhile, NeverTrump is up to its old tricks: bashing Trump, berating his supporters, and cheering his latest nemeses who almost always end up as farcical as NeverTrumpers themselves. Some things never change.

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