There is no way in hell I will count outgoing Attorney General Bill Barr among the people who stood up to Donald Trump. I’d put voter-suppressing Georgia Governor Brian Kemp way ahead, given the Georgia fracas, and I am on the record as not a Kemp fan.
But Barr, amazingly, did submit his resignation Tuesday, and that tells us a lot.
First, it tells us what we already know: Trump lost the presidency, decisively, and nobody has a way to reverse that. Not Trump, not Kemp, not Barr.
It also reminds us Barr is a sycophant: In his resignation letter, he praised Trump for “the many successes and unprecedented achievements you have delivered for the American people.”
The 300,000 Americans dead of Covid thank you both.
Apparently, Trump grew impatient with Barr’s acknowledging the truth: There was no evidence of significant fraud in the election. Apparently, that ended Barr’s career. I’d like to feel sad about that, but I’m not sad, at all.
The truth is, Barr is an extremist Catholic conservative who hitched his career and his vision to the success of this anti-Christian, amoral fool. And, sadly (for most of the country), he got a lot of what he bargained for, mainly in the three ultraconservative Supreme Court Justices and the 200-plus lower-court justices Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell hath wrought.
But Barr is not solely in the McConnell mold. He’s a terrifying religious ideologue. I wrote about his entirely unhinged rant at the University of Notre Dame here. “Virtually every measure of social pathology continues to gain ground,” he complained. “Along with the wreckage of the family, we are seeing record levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, soaring suicide rates, increasing numbers of alienated young males, an increase in senseless violence and the deadly drug epidemic.” He accused the government, with no evidence, of blocking the “passing on of the faith” from parents to their children, which he called a “monstrous invasion of religious liberty.”
Barr and others saw the odious, anti-Christian Trump as the way to reach their goals, especially in the courts. It confused us for too long. We believed in their religiosity. We held these things separate. They were not.
Meanwhile, he absolved Trump of even the slight whiff of scandal from the Mueller investigation, wrongly. He marched into twilight to clear peaceful demonstrators with pepper spray and rubber bullets to let Trump hold a Bible upside down at a national monument.
As Jay Samuelson put it in The Daily Beast:
And when, finally, Trump’s jig was up, Barr quit dancing and left the building. All the work that Barr could do had been done; he knew Trump’s was now a lost cause. And he knew that he could exit, with a modicum of grace, knowing that he had helped restore God’s law in America.
When you put it that way, it all seems worth it.
There are so many, many people to hate in the Trump administration. I still think my first choice is racist Stephen Miller. But it might ultimately be Barr, because he purports to be a man of God when he is actually a man of utter cruelty.