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Bill Barr’s Flip-Flop

While reading Heather Cox Richardson’s latest “Letters from an American [1],” I was stunned to see what former-attorney-general-under-Trump Bill Barr had said in reference to the former president.

Dr. Richardson, a professor of history at Boston College, began with background of an interview last week between Barr and CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins:

On Friday, in an interview with CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins, Trump’s former attorney general William Barr brushed off the recent news that Trump, furious that the story he had taken refuge in a bunker during the Black Lives Matter protests in summer 2020 had leaked, called for the White House leaker to be executed.

“I remember him being very mad about that. I actually don’t remember him saying ‘executing,’ but I wouldn‘t dispute it, you know,” Barr said to Collins when she asked him about it. “The president would lose his temper and say things like that. I doubt he would’ve actually carried it out.”

Collins followed up, asking if Trump would call for executions on other occasions. “He would say things similar to that on occasions to blow off steam. But I wouldn’t take them literally every time he did it,” Barr answered.

Why not? Collins asked.

“Because at the end of the day, it wouldn’t be carried out and you could talk sense into him,” Barr said. “I don’t think he would actually go and kill political rivals and things like that.” Barr said he intends to vote for Trump.

After all that, the following exchange was mind-blowing:

“Just to be clear,” Collins said, “you’re voting for someone who you believe tried to subvert the peaceful transfer of power, that can’t even achieve his own policies, that lied about the election even after his attorney general told him that the election wasn’t stolen.… You’re going to vote for someone who is facing 88 criminal counts?”

“The answer to the question is yes,” Barr said. “I think the real threat to democracy is the progressive movement and the Biden administration.”

The contention of the former attorney general—who had been responsible for enforcing the rule of law in the United States of America—that a man who has demanded the execution of people he dislikes is a better candidate for the presidency than a man who is using the power of the federal government to create jobs for ordinary people, combat climate change, protect the environment, and promote health and education, illustrates that Republican leaders have abandoned democracy. [emphasis added]

Simply astonishing.

The Republicans who know Trump and have voiced that he is a dangerous man but now say they will vote for him in 2024 is a staggering thought.

But what struck me the most in the above exchange was Barr stating, “I think the real threat to democracy is the progressive movement and the Biden administration.”

For a learned man, that is an extraordinarily ignorant statement.

I can live with policy differences.

But someone willing to subvert the peaceful transfer of power, who lied about the 2020 election being stolen, who has made threats against those he disagrees with, is a danger to society and our republic and, quite frankly, our way of life.

Similar flip-flops have happened with others who called out Trump’s bad or illegal behavior but now will support him. Chris Sununu and Mitch McConnell immediately come to mind.

You know who hasn’t flip-flopped on her disapproval of Trump? Former Congresswoman Liz Cheney. Why is it she has the backbone to voice her beliefs and stand by them while Barr, Sununu, and others back down and capitulate? Instead of backing down, Ms. Cheney is crisscrossing the country talking with voters and explaining why Donald Trump would be a danger if back in the presidency. “Leadership is not about popularity,” she has said, “but about making the right decisions.”

Read all of Heather Cox Richardson’s post here [1] for more insight into the Barr pretzel-twist.