News Corp Australia commentator Miranda Devine (main picture) – currently on a stint in the USA – sparked criticism last week with a column (pictured) penned for the New York Post but also reproduced in the company’s Australian newspapers that essentially laid blame for the pro-Trump mob’s invasion of the US Capitol in Washington DC at the feet of those on the left of US politics rather than the President himself.
The Bug has obtained exclusive access to transcripts of telephone calls Ms Devine made to key right-wing political identities in the Republican Party as part of her research and to test out her thesis before writing her column.
Her first call was to Ari Fleischer (pictured), former White House press secretary for President George W Bush and a Republican Party strategist who voted for Donald Trump in 2016:
MD: So Mr Fleischer, I am trying to write a column that outlines my thesis that the Left is to blame for the riots at the Capitol. Can you help me defend President Trump?
AF: At this point, I won’t defend him anymore. I won’t defend him for stirring the pot that incited the mob. He’s on his own.
MD: I see. But you’re not ruling out the possibility of the Left causing the civil insurrection we saw? Thank you. I’d better go.
AF: Now wait on, I never….
MD: Sorry, lots of calls to make. Byeee
The next call was to Republican Party Senator for Alaska, Lisa Murkowski (pictured):
MD: Thank you Senator for talking to me. Don’t you think Joe Biden should resign for helping cause the Capitol invasion by being a card-carrying member of the Left?
LM: I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage.
MD: Great! Someone who thinks like me.
LM: I think he should leave. He said he’s not going to show up. He’s not going to appear at the inauguration. He hasn’t been focused on what is going on with COVID. He’s either been golfing or he’s been inside the Oval Office fuming and throwing every single person who has been loyal and faithful to him under the bus, starting with the Vice-President.
MD: Whoops. My mistake. I thought you were talking about Biden. Gotta go
LM: He doesn’t want to stay there. He only wants to stay there for the title. He only wants to stay there for his ego. He needs to get out. He needs to do the good thing, but I don’t think he’s capable of doing a good thing.
MD: See ya. (call terminated)
There followed a series of very short phone interviews or attempted interviews, beginning with Republican Party Senator for Utah and former presidential nominee Mitt Romney (pictured):
MR: What happened [at the Capitol] was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States.
MD: I must have the wrong number.
Republican Party Member of the House of Representatives from Utah, John Curtis (pictured):
JC: My anger continues to grow over [the] desecration of the United States Capitol, our nation’s home. What happened was an act of domestic terrorism inspired and encouraged by our President.
MD: Sorry, you’re breaking up. I’m going to hang up.
JC: But I can hear you perfectly. Like you were in the room. Can you hear me now?
MD: Yes. I mean, no I can’t hear you. What? What was that?
John Kelly, chief of staff to President Trump from July 2017 to January 2019 (pictured):
JK: What happened on Capitol Hill …. is a direct result of his poisoning the minds of people with the lies and the frauds.
JK: No, Trump.
Republican Party Senator for South Carolina, Lindsay Graham:
LG: When it comes to accountability, the President needs to understand that his actions were the problem, not the solution. (Senator Graham pauses) Ms Devine? You still there?
MD: Yes, but not for long. Thanks for your time.
Ms Devine’s last call was to Republican Party Senator for Nebraska, Ben Sasse (pictured):
MD: So being on the right of the political spectrum and in the President’s own party, what’s your take on the riot Senator?
BS: The United States Capitol — the world’s greatest symbol of self-government — was ransacked while the leader of the free world cowered behind his keyboard — tweeting against his Vice-President for fulfilling the duties of his oath to the Constitution. Lies have consequences. This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the President’s addiction to constantly stoking division. I believe the President has disregarded his oath of office. I think it’s obvious that the president’s conduct wasn’t merely reckless and destructive. It was a flagrant dereliction of his duty to uphold and defend the Constitution. (Senator Sasse pauses) Miranda? You still there?