Wehner wrote in The Atlantic this week that “political violence will become more acceptable and more prevalent on the American right” if the Republican Party “doesn’t counteract these lies rather than indulge them.”
The GOP remains “fully in Trump’s thrall, with its leadership more committed than ever to spreading his foundational lies and conspiracy theories,” said Wehner, who served in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and was a fervent critic of Trump throughout his one term in office.
Some elected Republicans “who initially reacted with horror” to the deadly U.S. Capitol riot that was incited by Trump were “now making their peace with it,” he wrote. And that’s “where things really get dangerous.”
“The repetition of the lies not only causes tens of millions of Americans to embrace them; over time, it deforms their moral sensibility,” wrote Wehner. “It creates an inversion of ethics, what in philosophy is known as the ‘transvaluation of values,’ in which lies become truth and unjust acts are seen as righteous.”
“Believing the deceptions also becomes a form of virtue signaling, a validation of one’s loyalty to others in one’s political tribe,” he concluded. “In this case, of course, what we’re dealing with is not just any lie; it’s a particularly destructive one, among the most dangerous a democracy can face. It erodes confidence in our elections, the rule of law, and our system of government.”