Et tu, William?
Former Attorney General William Barr unleashed a stinging rebuke of his former boss Donald Trump following the assault on the Capitol by Trump loyalists yesterday. Barr basically blamed the president for inciting the violence, saying his actions were a “betrayal of his office and supporters.”
Barr was considered one of Trump’s most loyal cabinet members so his words are something of a surprise.
“Orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable,” Barr said in a statement obtained by the Washington Examiner on Thursday. “The President’s conduct yesterday was a betrayal of his office and supporters.”
Trump had exhorted a crowd estimated in the hundreds of thousands to march on Capitol Hill as Congress was set to conduct the task of certifying each state’s electoral votes.
“The violence at the Capitol Building is outrageous and despicable. Federal agencies should move immediately to disperse it,” Barr said in a statement on Wednesday.
They did, but far too late. Trump supporters lingered on Capitol grounds for hours until police finally cleared them out for good.
Barr resigned before Christmas after displeasing Trump by not appointing a special prosecutor to look into Hunter Biden’s shady affairs and by not agreeing that there was widespread voter fraud by Democrats that cost Trump the White House. Prior to that, he had served the president loyally. He appointed a prosecutor to look into the origins of the Russian collusion narrative about which John Durham may be readying a report and indictments. He is not a reflexive Trump hater by any means.
His resignation letter was a homage to his boss:
Your 2016 victory speech in which you reached out to your opponents and called for working together for the benefit of the American people was immediately met by a partisan onslaught against you in which no tactic, no matter how abusive and deceitful, was out of bounds… The nadir of this campaign was the effort to cripple, if not oust, your Administration with frenzied and baseless accusations of collusion with Russia.
Barr came in for heavy criticism from the left for his attempts to keep law and order last summer during the riots. He was more than willing to deploy armed federal agents to riot-torn cities in order to help restore order. That Trump didn’t send in the Army to handle the crowds at the Capitol is seen as racist by many because of the response to the looting, arson, and rock-throwing at police by Black Lives Matter protesters last summer.
Those who continue to insist that the attorney general should be non-political need to take a close look at Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. Barr was no better and no worse on that quality than either of those two partisans.