If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve known for a long time that former President Donald Trump’s allegations about a massive electoral fraud conspiracy are sheer fabrication. As it becomes more and more clear over the months, the main figures of the Republican Party have known the same thing for so long.
They either remained silent about their concerns or were excommunicated from their roles. Instead, the strongest voices in the GOP are those actively promoting Trump’s lies. But even those who remain silent are content to use these lies to advance their own agendas.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that one of those GOP leaders, Justin Riemer, was trying to get his colleagues across in November. Riemer, the counsel for the Republican National Committee, wrote in an email to a staff member that the RNC should not post Trump’s claims about voter fraud on its social media accounts. And he didn’t mince his words:
“What Rudy and Jenna are doing is a joke and they are making fun of the court,” Riemer, a longtime Republican lawyer, wrote to Liz Harrington, a former party spokeswoman, on November 28, referring to lawyers for Trump Rudolph W. Giuliani and Jenna Ellis. “They are misleading millions of people who think the president is going to win this thing one way or another.”
Giuliani allegedly tried – and failed – to get Riemer fired after learning of the email. But if you look at the RNC’s position since then, you can see that two things are true. First, that the committee as a whole took Riemer’s advice and did not as a whole claim that the election was stolen from Trump. And President Ronna McDaniel never endorsed Trump’s wildest lies and conceded that President Joe Biden won.
Second, the RNC has apparently decided that lying by omission is not a sin. Because while the party apparatchiks don’t directly tout the big lie, they still support Trump and use it to bolster their fundraising efforts. Politico reported in May that the RNC had “sent 97 emails mentioning Trump” to its mailing list since January 6. And it does not condemn candidates who expose conspiracy theories or refuse to offer them campaign funding and infrastructure.
You can also see it when the committee chooses to speak. When Republicans like Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming try to speak the truth, the RNC does not cringe in support. But the committee is more than happy to spend the time, money, and effort defending laws that hinder voting, like the one Georgia passed – laws that must thank Trump’s lies for their popularity among the basis of the GOP and their rapid adoption.
Because let’s be clear: Riemer disagreed with Giuliani and Ellis only because they went too far. As The Post reported, he feared their antics would undermine a broader GOP campaign to promote “electoral integrity” as an issue. Ahead of the election, the RNC was more than happy to join the Trump campaign’s efforts to block postal voting during a pandemic as it would help Democrats vote.
Those “millions of wishful thinking people” that Riemer warned against are still being misled, even if it isn’t the RNC that says Trump should be the real president. They’re just fans of the people who are.