Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of the Senate Republican leadership, appeared on CBS's "Face the Nation" yesterday and was willing to criticize Donald Trump's recent actions. Reflecting on Trump's behavior leading up to last week's attack on the U.S. Capitol, the Missouri senator conceded that Trump was "clearly reckless."
It led host Margaret Brennan to ask the obvious follow-up question: "Are Republican leaders going to hold them accountable in any way for it?" According to the network transcript, Blunt replied:
"The president should be very careful over the next 10 days that his behavior is what you'd expect from the leader of the greatest country in the world. Now, my personal view is that the president touched the hot stove on Wednesday and is unlikely to touch it again."
A few things.
First, it's genuinely amazing that some Republicans continue to see Donald Trump as a learn-valuable-lessons sort of guy. About a year ago, after his first impeachment, a number of GOP senators made the same pitch, insisting that Trump would be on his best behavior from now on, chastened by the painful experience.
Those predictions were soon proven foolish, and yet, there was Blunt, making the case that Trump is "unlikely" to commit even more offenses during his limited remaining time in office.
Second, the idea that Trump will be on his best behavior from now on is predicated on the idea that he regrets last week's violence. There's reason to believe otherwise. The New York Times reported, for example, "Behind closed doors, he made clear that he would not resign and expressed regret about releasing a video on Thursday committing to a peaceful transition of power and condemning the violence at the Capitol that he had egged on a day before."
Similarly, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said late last week that he'd spoken with White House officials who told him, "As this was unfolding on television, Donald Trump was walking around the White House confused about why other people on his team weren't as excited as he was as you had rioters pushing against Capitol Police trying to get into the building.... He was delighted."
For Roy Blunt to be right, Trump would need to feel some sense of contrition. There's no reason to believe that's the case.
And finally, while the Missouri Republican may now be eager to denounce those who were "clearly reckless," it was Blunt who told a national television audience -- weeks after Joe Biden was declared the winner -- that "there was some element of voter fraud" in the 2020 presidential election. What's more, shortly after Biden was declared the president-elect, Blunt told reporters, "You know, [Trump] wasn't defeated by huge number. In fact, he may not have been defeated at all."
If we're going to talk about those who were "clearly reckless," the list doesn't end with Trump.