House Republicans have collectively lost their minds.
You’d think that House Republicans might have slowed their roll after the man they pushed as their star whistleblower against Hunter Biden, Gal Luft—an Israeli-American dual citizen who claimed to have compromising information on President Joe Biden and his son—was charged with serious crimes last November. Or especially when, per the recently unsealed indictment, it became clear that those crimes included being an unregistered foreign agent for China, trafficking arms, breaking international sanctions, and making false statements to federal officials. (According to the DOJ, Luft faces a maximum of 100 years in prison. Luft, who the DOJ now considers a “fugitive,” has previously chalked up the charges to political persecution.)
But no, House Republicans have not skipped a beat in their relentless hunt for a smoking gun on the Bidens. Instead, charging full speed ahead in defense of their missing whistleblower during last week’s ultra-mortifying House Judiciary Oversight hearing, a furious-looking and jacketless Jim Jordan accused the FBI of “suppress[ing] American speech, of course, conservative speech in particular. I find it stunning.” Stunning is a word for it.
Perhaps more stunning is that this particular MAGA caucus seems completely immune to both shame and common sense. The problem Republicans find themselves in is perhaps best summed up by Democrat Eric Swalwell, who texted me that his colleagues across the aisle could use some stronger leadership. “Typically the Speaker of the House sets a party’s agenda in Congress. But there is no functional leader of the House Republican Party. Instead, it’s made up of an ensemble cast of chaos agents providing a comedy of errors each week Congress is in session.”
Some of this abject embarrassment surely could have been prevented if House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had control over his caucus. For example, few—except for, perhaps, Democrats—benefited from hearing Wyoming congresswoman and election denier Harriet Hageman accuse lifelong Republican and Donald Trump–appointed FBI director Christopher Wray of having “personally worked to weaponize the FBI against conservatives.” Wray reminded the clown car of his résumé. “The idea that I’m biased against conservatives seems somewhat insane to me, given my own personal background,” he said. And that wasn’t even the most embarrassing moment from the hearing; Florida Republican Matt Gaetz accused Wray of being “blissfully ignorant as to the Biden shakedown regime” and claimed that “people trusted the FBI more when J. Edgar Hoover was running the place” (to which Wray said there’s been a sharp increase in Floridians applying to the FBI). Representative Troy Nehls even brought up the right-wing conspiracy theory that somehow January 6 rioter Ray Epps was working for the FBI to discredit Trump. Epps is currently suing Fox News after former host Tucker Carlson spread this conspiracy theory.
Then, Republicans ended last week with the passage of a defense budget bill, which according to The New York Times, “would limit abortion access, transgender care and diversity training for military personnel.” In other words, it was littered with partisan poison pills, each representing another Republican dog whistle and passed 219 to 210 on partisan lines.