Editor’s Note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM radio’s daily program “The Dean Obeidallah Show” and a columnist for The Daily Beast. Follow him @DeanObeidallah. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. Read more opinion on CNN.
At Donald Trump’s “Save America” rally this weekend, Republican US Rep. Mary Miller of Illinois hailed the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade as a “historic victory for White life.”
Social media exploded after her remarks Saturday night, with many people wondering online whether the comment was a Freudian slip. Others theorized that Miller had simply said “the quiet part out loud.”
Her spokesperson said the first term congresswoman had meant to call it a “historic victory for the right to life,” not “White life.” But something else Miller said at the rally, which she has not brushed aside as a gaffe, is alarming in its own right.
I’m referring to the moment when the GOP lawmaker told former President Donald Trump, who stood behind her on the podium, “I am so honored to have your endorsement.”
How can any patriotic American be honored to be endorsed by Trump? How can they even share the stage with him, following the revelations that have emerged from the January 6 committee hearings?
Testimony during the hearings has documented the former President’s personal involvement in an attempt to overturn an election. And it has shown how his non-stop election lies played a role in setting the stage for the January 6 attack, leading to threats of violence against a number of individuals, from fellow Republican officials to two Georgia election workers.
Maybe Miller was “honored” to be endorsed by Trump because the then-President was so deft at personally pressuring election officials to assist him in trying to overturn the 2020 election results – even though he had been told repeatedly by his own aides that there was no evidence of election fraud. Despite that, he continued to pressure state election officials to assist his attempt at overturning the 2020 election result.
Or perhaps the Illinois lawmaker was “honored” to be endorsed by a man who urged his own senior Justice Department officials in late December 2020 – after they had debunked his election fraud lies – to “just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen.”
As former Attorney General Eric Holder tweeted in response to the testimony, “This is the smoking gun. Coupled with other testimony demonstrates both Trump’s substantive involvement and corrupt intent, requisite state of mind.”
Or could it be that Miller was “honored” that Trump sent a tweet attacking his own vice president Mike Pence after he was told violence had broken out during the January 6 attack on the Capitol, as was revealed during testimony at a committee hearing earlier this month?
Wyoming US Rep. Liz Cheney – the vice chair of the committee – put it bluntly at the panel’s very first hearing earlier this month: “Donald Trump’s intention was to remain president of the United States, despite the lawful outcome of the 2020 election and in violation of his Constitutional obligation to relinquish power.”
And the committee has provided reams of evidence to substantiate the allegations that Trump staged a multi-pronged effort to overturn the 2020 election. I don’t see much to be honored about in that.
After Pence refused to stop the congressional certification of President Biden’s win on January 6, Trump was told by his own chief of staff Mark Meadows that the Capitol had been breached by throngs of angry protesters. Inflaming an already perilous situation that put the life of his vice president at risk, Trump tweeted that Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”
Could it be that the feelings of being “honored” that Miller spoke about were engendered by revelations during testimony this past week that Trump, together with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, fabricated accusations that two Black female Fulton County, Georgia poll workers – “Shaye” Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman – had engaged in election fraud?
As a result of Trump and Giuliani’s lies – as we painfully learned during the women’s testimony – the pair were subjected to a deluge of racist insults and death threats. The situation became so dangerous that the FBI ultimately instructed Freeman to temporarily move out of her house for own safety. As Freeman, known as “Lady Ruby,” told the committee, “Do you know how it feels to have the President of the United States target you?”
It’s disturbing that thousands of people showed up at Saturday’s rally to cheer Trump, given the ample evidence of his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Americans shouldn’t shy away from passionately debating politics, but they should draw the line when it comes to supporting a rogue leader who was voted out of office and who played an outsize role in what amounted to a failed coup attempt.
Going forward, one can only hope that the media thoroughly grills Republicans like Mary Miller who say they are “honored” to be endorsed by Trump. Americans are entitled to know exactly which part of Trump’s efforts to overturn our 2020 election they feel honored by most.