This afternoon a 26-year-old former assistant showed more courage and integrity than an entire administration full of grown-ass adults who were purportedly working in service to the American people, but had long ago decided to serve only their ambition and grievance.
Cassidy Hutchinson did so at risk to her safety. Her social circle. Her career.
And she overcame all of the self-serving rationalizations that prevented the powerful, whose manhoods she held in her palm, from stepping to the plate.
It was a fitting testimony for me, seeing as it came on the day that I published Why We Did It, a book that aimed to answer the question: Why haven’t there been more Cassidys?
So I wanted to offer a few thoughts on the matter.
One of the lines I borrowed when reflecting on my own journey was from Tara Westover’s memoir, Educated: “Vindication has no power over guilt,” she wrote.
The stories Hutchinson relayed may have offered no solace to the consciences of those of us who feel partially responsible for getting here, but they were certainly the most potent vindication imaginable.
Everything that all of us Enemies of the People had warned about concerning Donald Trump was borne out in her testimony. He was chaotic, reckless, megalomaniacal, fascistic, abusive, cowardly, petulant, anti-American.
He attacked a Secret Service officer. Sprayed ketchup across a White House wall in anger. Expressed total lack of concern for the safety of others, as long as he felt he was secure. Was completely uninterested in our democratic traditions—the political machinery that actually makes America great—and was happy to overthrow the government in order to stay in power.
What Hutchinson revealed is something we all privately knew, but now have sworn testimony of every single person around Trump saw what we saw, firsthand. And yet they did nothing.
This is why everyone I interviewed for my book was so filled with hatred for the Never Trumpers, the media, and the liberals in their life. It’s because they knew we were right. And were unwilling to do anything about it. So rather than deal with their own culpability and take responsibility for themselves, they demonized those of us who spoke the truth. Because every time one of us said what they knew, out loud, it was an implicit indictment of their character.
Dealing with internalized shame is hard. Lashing out at those who make you feel bad about yourself is easy. To a man, the Trumpists took the easy path.
We also learned how these wannabe mafiosos would maintain solidarity by appealing to ambition and a demand that everyone be loyal team players.
Liz Cheney relayed testimony from another witness:
“What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I’m on the team, I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I need to protect, you know, I’ll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World.”
With threats like these Trump maintained loyalty and preyed on the insecurities of people who decided they cared more about being invited to Mar-a-Lago for Cougarfest ’22 than they cared about the country they had signed up to serve.
Today’s testimony showed not only the complexes that led weak-minded men and women to go along with evil, but that they recognized this evil, full well, from the jump.
Cassidy Hutchinson found the strength to break out of this prison of the mind. She realized that she could write a different story for herself. That the enemy was not the people telling the truth about her boss. That she was not stuck on a conveyor belt. That she had responsibilities to her country. That she had agency in the execution of her duties.
That she didn’t have to do it any longer.
I hope others learn from her example.