President Joe Biden generally says very little about his predecessor — he's referred to Donald Trump simply as "the other guy" — but the Democrat made a rather dramatic exception on the anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack. The incumbent president presented a detailed condemnation of the Republican's anti-election lies, explaining to the public the corrosive effect Trump's war on reality has had on our democracy.
The defeated former president didn't take it well.
Trump was apparently following along on television, and while he's been banned from social media for lying uncontrollably in dangerous ways, the Republican issued a series of press releases yesterday morning, the first of which insisted, among other things, that the United States is no longer energy independent, has corrupt elections, and has seen its international standing deteriorate.
It was soon followed by another statement in which he falsely said the 2020 presidential election was "rigged." He repeated the ridiculous claim in a follow-up statement. Finally, we were treated to this gem, in which Trump accused Democrats of trying to "stop the peaceful transfer" of power, claimed there's new evidence of Georgia selling ballots for $10, and reiterated his twisted belief that "the real insurrection" was the election.
Let's not miss the forest for the trees: Biden explained to Americans, "The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election. He's done so because he values power over principle, because he sees his own interests as more important than his country's interests and America's interests, and because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution."
And as the president made these comments, Trump responded to accusations of lying ... by lying some more. The Republican could have just as easily issued a statement that said, "Biden's obviously right."
Adding to the tragic irony, one of Trump's many missives argued:
Biden ... used my name* today to try to further divide America.... The Democrats want to own this day of January 6th so they can stoke fears and divide America.
A year ago yesterday, the then-president urged his supporters to "fight much harder" against "bad people" and "show strength" at the Capitol. "You'll never take back our country with weakness," he added. "You have to show strength." A deadly insurrectionist riot soon followed.
A year to the day later, this same guy accused his successor of delivering a Jan. 6 speech intended to "divide America."
But as amazing as it was to see Trump flaunt his strained relationship with reality, what stood out as even more amazing than the messages he shared with the press was the messages he shared with prospective donors. NBC News reported yesterday:
While Biden slammed Trump from the Capitol, the former president sent out a fundraising email to his supporters, offering a chance to meet him and take a photo at his Jan. 15 rally in Florence, Arizona.... In the fundraising pitch, Trump offered to fly the winning donor and a friend to Florence and pay for their hotel accommodations. Florence is in Pinal County, where Trump won 58 percent of the vote to Biden's 40 percent in 2020.
In other words, as the incumbent president exposed Trump's lies, the former president asked that his followers reward him with money.
Recent history suggests the scheme will work: Trump's political operation has more than $100 million in the bank, thanks to the generosity of Americans who either don't know or don't care that the Republican continues to deceive them.
* Biden never referenced Trump by name.