So among the many bits of craziness from last week, Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) managed to stand out. He got suspended from Twitter for a bigoted tweet about a transgender general, but that’s not the best part. The best part is that Banks has been sending letters to federal agencies in which he presents himself as the “ranking member” of the January 6 committee.
And, of course, Banks is not on the January 6 committee. He was named for the committee by Kevin McCarthy, but Pelosi nixed him, along with Jim Jordan. From TPM:
Both CNN and Politico obtained copies of one of Banks’ letters, sent to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. In that letter, Banks claimed to be a ranking member of the Jan. 6 committee and asserted that the “minority party” in Congress should be privy to the same information provided to the majority. He requested that any information Haaland shares with the select committee also be sent to him directly. You can read the short, weird letter here, courtesy of Politico reporter Olivia Beavers.
Did Banks imagine that Secretary Haaland wouldn’t know who is on the January 6 committee? Does Banks imagine that he is on the January 6 committee? Either possibility suggests that Banks is having some, um, psychiatric dysfunctions.
You probably remember that when the committee was being formed, House Republicans were given all kinds of opportunities to be full participants on the committee, short of giving them the power to sabotage it. But no arrangement pleased Kevin McCarthy, who announced that Republicans would boycott it. But now there are two Republicans on the committee, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. I guess Banks is not on speaking terms with those two colleagues.
I also guess that the pro-Trump Republicans are getting nervous about what information the committee is receiving.
The most generous read of this is that it’s yet more Trumper theater. It seems unlikely that any Biden appointee at any relevant department is going to get confused about who’s on the committee. They watch TV too. But it is of a piece with the larger story. We get to try to overthrow the Republic and equal billing on the committee charged with investigating what we did. We also get to stonewall and block the investigation from starting for months. But if you decide to do it without us – because we refused to participate – well, we still get to participate.
Marrshall calls this “Trumper privilege.” Trumpers can’t accept not being in control. Trumpers can’t accept elections they didn’t win. Trumpers can’t accept well-docuented facts that contradict what they want to believe. Marshall continues,
Is this privilege or lack of accountability or is it really simply a politics of power? It is really no different from the authoritarian impulse and hyper-masculinity politics that pervades Trumpism. We should have the power. Because we should. And anything that stands in the way of that is by definition unfair. Because we should have power.
Needless to say, this is no way to run a democracy.