Editor's Note: Steve Schmidt is one of the founding members of the Lincoln Project. He is a communications and public affairs strategist who has worked on several Republican campaigns, including John McCain's 2008 bid for the White House, and he is now a regular political contributor to MSNBC.
On Sunday night, Schmidt reacted in a series of 10 tweets to a disturbing report in the Washington Post that a little-known Trump appointee at the General Services Administration has declined to sign paperwork to authorize the transition process. MaxNewsToday has assembled these tweets and reprinted them as one easy-to-read op-ed for our ongoing segment, Schmidt Storm. It has been edited for grammar and clarity.
This is a moment of global jubilation and profound relief. It is also a moment that requires vigilance and presence. This decision will kill Americans at a moment when Covid is raging. This will be a miserable winter of death in our country. The action's real target is American democracy. This is the first meaningful action in an attempt to kill it. I’m going to use a word with intention. Sedition. That is the appropriate word to describe the actions of Newt Gingrich, Lindsey Graham, Rudy Giuliani and Tom Cotton as they hurl baseless conspiracy theories with no evidence of voter fraud whatsoever.
Their actions are despicable and profoundly UNAMERICAN. The failure of incumbent GOP elected officials to congratulate the president-elect is disgraceful. It is dangerous. It is unprecedented in the history of the country.
This is thuggish and authoritarian behavior. It is not acceptable in America. The bad faith and dishonesty of the GOP majority in Washington at this moment is appalling.
Apparently, Trump’s ego needs sating, so he is going to start holding more super-spreader rallies that will kill people, as he takes a sledgehammer to the American people’s faith and belief in the legitimacy of the system with his blizzard of lies and conspiracy nonsense.
What we are seeing is astounding. Senior American elected officials are refusing to accept the will of the American people. This may be playing out as a farce for now, but we should all watch with wariness. We are witnessing an authoritarian moment. It won’t succeed. This time. But it is here, and it has rooted itself in the soil of our polity.
This is the essence of Trumpism. It is an authoritarian movement and a cult of personality. It has fascistic markers and teems with menace and extremism. Sadly, it is here to stay. The Lincoln Project will fight on the side of American democracy and liberty. Here, the people are sovereign. We choose our leaders and fire them when they fail. American soil is a bitter place for tyrants and autocrats. Trump has been defeated. Yet, the damage he has done will endure, and he is not yet done vandalizing America and defacing his high office.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, but these next 70 days will be very hard. Trump is going to do things that will weaken our democracy for a generation over the next weeks. We are watching the greatest conspiracy theory of all time forming before our eyes— right now.
That, of course, is the baseless idea that the election was stolen from Trump. It will be an article of faith in the GOP, and belief in it will be tablestakes for every 2024 candidate.
What a tragedy for America.