There are currently 212 members of the House Republican conference, and this week, each received a gift from Donald Trump's Save America operation. It was not, however, a gesture of generosity from the former president.
As Politico reported, the gift was a copy of Mollie Hemingway's conspiratorial book "RIGGED: How the Media, Big Tech and the Democrats Seized Our Election," which was accompanied by a signed note from the former president. It read in part:
"There is no question, American Democracy was under siege during the 2020 Presidential election. Facts are coming out weekly — and election fraud, media bias, and voting irregularities continue to be unearthed. Republican leadership should never have certified the election on January 6th, and now Democrats will never stop their assault on America — our freedom, faith, family, and values."
Trump concluded, "I hope you find this book informative and encouraging in your battle for the heart of our Nation."
Let's briefly take stock of what makes this notable.
Second, Trump's commitment to his election delusion is, if anything, intensifying. His signed note to GOP lawmakers referenced "facts" that simply don't exist outside of his imagination.
But stepping back, the larger significance is the far-from-subtle point of this little present: Trump isn't just lying, he's also lobbying.
The deliveries to House Republicans was the former president's latest effort to not only flaunt his weird beliefs and strained relationship with reality, but also to encourage his GOP brethren to toe the line. His lies should be their lies. His conspiracy theories should be their conspiracy theories. His fights should be their fights. His campaign against democracy should be their campaign against democracy.
In theory, Trump's political operation could've simply sent the book, letting its title and thesis speak for itself. But he included a conspiratorial note to remove any potential ambiguities.
As Republicans on Capitol Hill focus their energies on Election Day 2022, the former president is effectively telling them to instead look backward — at an attack on democracy that only Trump and his acolytes can see, "facts" that only they're aware of, and an "assault" that only they perceive.
Politico quoted a House GOP staffer saying the delivery of the gift "just shows how Trump is continuing to pressure members/Republicans to embrace the Big Lie."