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A hive of bees showed up at our house this week. Monday was the first day I noticed them. This wasn’t unprecedented; if past results were an indication of future performance, I assumed they’d move on after a couple days. But by Thursday thousands and thousands of bees were still under the patio roof in an undulating mass like in a scary movie about, well, bees.
So finally I called and scheduled a bee removal service for Friday. Seriously not an hour after I called, the bees were airborne, swirling in a dazzling swarm, and in a few minutes they were gone. It was as if they telepathically knew I’d called a bee guy.
Which got me thinking about Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy.
In the days after January 6, McCarthy, in one of several snippets of audio that your national media has obtained, said he was going to tell Trump “I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign.” In another recording, McCarthy, referring to Trump, told Republican colleagues. “I’ve had it with this guy. What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that, and nobody should defend it.” When this stuff was first reported early this week, McCarthy contended he’d never said he would urge Trump to resign. Later the audio was released, showing that McCarthy is a lying liar.
Trump meanwhile is crowing that McCarthy never did actually urge Trump to resign. Neither McCarthy’s lie nor his chickening out and not telling Trump to resign is surprising, McCarthy’s brand being that of a feckless noodle and cowering sycophant.
But for a moment there after January 6, McCarthy exhibited a normal, rational human reaction to Trump and Trumpism. And his wasn’t the only Republican palm going to a Republican forehead. A lot of Republicans had “had it with this guy” in the days after January 6. “If this isn’t impeachable, I don’t know what is,” said Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell. Senator and pilot fish Lindsay Graham famously said of Trump while criticizing colleagues who wanted to reject election results, “…count me out. Enough is enough.”
For a moment there, hordes of Republicans were swirling, apparently ready to abandon the hive they had cuddled into during Trump’s occupation of the White House, and plot a path to a new destination.
Alas, they were like my bees, which were gone all of maybe 90 minutes Thursday afternoon before swarming back to the patio, again all scary-movie like. It wasn’t long after January 6 before all, or nearly all, the Republican drones dutifully returned to their Trump hive, too.
The bee guy came to our house as scheduled Friday afternoon and vacuumed the bees into a bee box to take them to a beekeeper (which was pretty interesting and cool to watch). The few stragglers that he didn’t vacuum started going elsewhere almost immediately. By cocktail time the patio was bee-free.
The bees weren’t going anywhere on their own, so the bee guy got rid of them. He realistically and seriously evaluated the situation, and then with competence, care and effectiveness, did his job. I wish I thought that’s how American voters would do theirs.
(This column originally appeared in the Daily Current newsletter, the editor’s opinionated morning news roundup, which you can subscribe to here.)