Jan 6. bombshell video proves Donald Trump watched tons of TV

Who knew!?

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: President Donald J. Trump watches a television in the lower press offi...
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Originally Published: 

As the Jan. 6 congressional committee prepares for its second (and possibly final) primetime televised hearing on Thursday, Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) shared an exclusive bombshell preview of the evening’s agenda, with a short video montage proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that (deep breath here people) Donald Trump watched a whole lot of TV while he was in office. Whoaaaaaa!!!

Okay, I kid (a little), but watch Kinzinger’s appetizer for Thursday’s hearing and ask yourself whether any of this seems particularly surprising:

“Everybody was watching TV,” “He was watching television,” and so on.

While the president of the United States being glued to the boob tube during some of the worst political violence in the past century is, indeed, a pretty damning indictment of Trump’s utter indifference to and/or approval of the Capitol insurrection, Kinzinger’s clip is hardly the seismic WTF moment he seems to think it is. It’s not like there weren’t four years of firsthand reports from within the Trump White House that watching TV is pretty much all the guy did in office. And as for the day of the attack itself, there’s literally footage of him zoning out in front of the electric babysitter before his rally speech that’s been public for a year. Yes it’s bad, but it’s not exactly “news.”

This is, I think, in keeping with what has been the main thrust of these committee hearings to date — one which favors constructing a coherent, airtight narrative of wrongdoing, rather than relying on single instances of shocking revelation. It’s a tactic that was temporarily muddled by the surprise, last-minute testimony of Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson, thanks to her descriptions of sincerely blindsiding outbursts from the former president. But overall the arc of these hearings has been clear: Each session, while containing a number of unknown pieces of evidence, largely confirms the broader, pre-existing understanding of what Trump and his enablers did before, during, and after the insurrection attempt. Put another way: These hearings are something of a reverse iceberg, in which the overwhelming majority of what is being covered is already above-water and can be seen by the naked eye. The committee members’ jobs here, then, are less about shouting “iceberg dead ahead!” as they are about laying out the topography of that seditious iceberg in clear, unambiguous language. We already know it exists; they’re here to tell us how and why it got here.

So, no, learning that Donald Trump is a TV addict who spent Jan. 6, 2021, eschewing direct action in favor of a front row seat on his favorite sofa is not news. But it’s not supposed to be. What it is is another layer — one that’s easy to grasp and understand, no matter how engaged you’ve been with the committee’s work so far — atop what has become an impossible-to-ignore narrative of inaction and possibly abetment. And in that sense, it’s a pretty big deal.