Fri. Nov 18th, 2022

Forget about Kumbaya.
Presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s call for “unity” is being greeted by many Republicans with disbelief and scorn, after four years of Democrats demonizing President Trump and his supporters.
Some Democrats, meanwhile, are itching for a Biden Justice Department to prosecute Mr. Trump and his advisers for perceived crimes after they leave office. As an alternative, they’re urging employers to blacklist former Trump officials from working again.
Several current and former White House aides are pointing to the “Trump Accountability Project” promoted by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat, to shun Trump officials after they leave office as proof of how out-of-touch Mr. Biden is with his troops. They say it reeks of McCarthyism.
“This is what we were all afraid of,” a former White House official said. “Joe Biden is going to be a Trojan horse of the radical left. We’re seeing this six days after the election.”
Some on the right say Mr. Biden’s show of reaching out to Trump supporters also was presumptuous, noting that the president and his legal team are still challenging reported voting irregularities and fraud in several states. Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said at a staff meeting Monday that the president is “still in this fight.”
American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp said on Twitter, “For democrats calling for unity you may want to actually stop counting illegal votes in NV first.”
“We are not suckers anymore. We caught you red handed,” he said.
The president called Nevada on Monday “a cesspool of fake votes.”
Trump allies, pointing to boarded-up storefronts in cities before Election Day, also say that some on the left were prepared to riot if Mr. Biden lost.
“If the election is reversed and President Trump wins, those same people calling for ‘unity’ are going to burn the country down,” tweeted Ryan Fournier, co-chair of Students for Trump.
Heaping insult and condescension on angry Trump supporters was former first lady Michelle Obama. In a statement over the weekend, she disparaged the roughly 71 million Americans who voted for Mr. Trump in language that evoked Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” comment in 2016.
“Let’s remember that tens of millions of people voted for the status quo even when it meant supporting lies, hate, chaos, and division,” Mrs. Obama said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to reach out to these folks in the years ahead and connect with them on what unites us.”
Conservative columnist Ben Shapiro commented on Twitter, “I’m sure that Democrats are looking forward to healing and reconciliation with the millions of Americans they think are racist, sexist, homophobic bigots. Or alternatively, they’re lying and using ‘unity’ to mean ‘shut the hell up.’”
Even before Mr. Trump was inaugurated, many on the left called his election illegitimate.
The former White House official said, “I was standing in Trump Tower on Nov. 9 [2016], looking down at 5,000 protesters yelling ‘Not my president.’ I get that Democrats now are calling a truce, but there were plenty of other times when they could have called a truce. It implies there was active warfare [by the president] without cause.”
Several House Democrats then tried to block Congress’s certification of state results that won Mr. Trump the election.
Rep. Barbara Lee of California failed in her objecting “on behalf of the millions of Americans, including members of the Intelligence Community, who are horrified by evidence that the Russians interfered in our election.”
Then came the long-running Mueller investigation, which distracted the White House for nearly three years but found no “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
House Democrats then launched an impeachment of Mr. Trump that carried into the election year. And now Trump supporters are, they perceive, being asked to grasp the Democratic hand extended to them.
Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican and a vocal defender of the president, said on Twitter, “Let me get this straight. Democrats want us to forget what they did to: Michael Flynn, Brett Kavanaugh, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, KT McFarland, The President and his family.”
Said former Bush White House aide Ari Fleischer, “Resist. Overturn. Boycott. Surveil. Leak. Impeach. And now they tell us it’s time to heal. Where were they for the last four years?”
The intolerance displayed in 2018, when then-White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her family were asked to leave a Virginia restaurant and there were other interruptions of Republicans in nonpolitical spaces such as restaurants and homes, now seems almost quaint in retrospect.
A few moderate Republicans, such as Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, have congratulated Mr. Biden on his apparent win. They also were among the few GOP lawmakers who regularly distanced themselves from Mr. Trump.
Republican strategist John Feehery believes Mr. Biden will establish a working relationship with at least some in the GOP.
“Plenty of more establishment Republicans want to move on and try to find common ground with the new president,” Mr. Feehery said. “The populist wing of the party believes that this election was stolen from them and that the Left has spent so much time calling them and the president racist, anti-semitic, etc., that they will find it awfully hard to find common ground.”
Noting that Pfizer announced a COVID vaccine Monday that is 90% effective, Mr. Feehery said the development could play a role in bridging the partisan divide.
“Conservatives are traditionally much more dubious about vaccines in general, but because this is a Trump legacy, they might be much more amenable to taking it,” he said.
“On the other hand,” he cautioned, “the party of science might be less interested in taking the vaccine because it is clearly a victory of the Trump administration. But I think Biden will want to move forward on it, because he doesn’t really want to have to impose a mask mandate.”
The partisan divide this year has sharpened to such a degree that conservatives increasingly have moved away from Twitter to the social media platform Parler, where they say they’re finding freedom from censorship. They’re also finding fewer opposing viewpoints.
After the election, Parler’s app shot up to Number One in the ranking of downloads.
“Fox & Friends” weekend co-host Pete Hegseth commented on Parler over the weekend, “It’s been 30 minutes, and I’ve had more engagement on @parler than I’ve ever had on #ShiTwitter. Free speech is a beautiful thing.”
He said Mr. Trump, whose tweets about election fraud have been flagged frequently in the past week, and he risks losing even that access when he becomes a private citizen, should migrate to Parler.
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