GOP Congressman Scott Perry Tries His Hand at a Trump Internal Coup January 27, 2021
Everyone with functioning brain cells knows about the horrible external coup attempt triggered by Demagogue Donald’s incitement of his thousands of wacko loyalists that came to D.C. on 1/06/2021. Hundreds, egged on by our democracy-hating former “leader’s” incendiary rhetoric to “take back America” and steal Joe Biden’s Electoral College win, stormed the Capitol. This collection of lunatics forced Congressmembers and Senators to flee for their lives and go into hiding. Five people, including a Capitol policeman died. The House rightly impeached Donald for a second time and his Senate trial will start on February 9, 2021 (See cnn.com, Herb, Raju, & Foran, 1/22/01). All 50 Senate Democrats will vote for conviction. However, despite the pleas of former Trump officials and former respected GOP legislators, don’t count on finding the 17 GOPers necessary to get the 2/3 vote for conviction needed under our Constitution. Conviction is the only way for Dangerous Donald to become permanently barred from holding federal office (See U.S. Const., Art. I, Section 3). The GOP, a Grand Old Party of cowards, is afraid of facing the wrath of Trump’s base. And, of course, many of these “Team Red” Senators, including shameful Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) will remain Trump loyalists to the end.
Even though Trump will, once again, probably escape conviction, Democrats, have permanently tarred him in history. With their 1/13/2021 second impeachment vote, which received the support of 10 Republicans, the House has told future generations that such conduct is unacceptable. Another reason for impeaching Donald and going for a Senate conviction is the evidence that Democratic impeachment managers or Senate prosecutors find as they start to prepare their best case for presentation before the upper congressional chamber (nytimes.com, 1/23-24/21, Benner & Edmondson). In the Article of Impeachment passed by the House, Trump was also accused of trying to subvert and obstruct the results of the 2020 election by calling GOP Georgia Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger on 1/02/2021 and threatening him if he (Raffensperger) did not “find” enough votes to overturn the GA presidential election results that gave that state’s popular, and, therefore, Electoral College vote to Biden.
Apparently, Trump’s blatant call to Raffensperger trying to destroy our democracy and the 1/06/2021 Capitol coup attempt were not the only efforts Donald, his congressional GOP enablers, and members of his administration made to destroy our democracy. During the post-election campaign that Trump and Congressional GOPers carried on to “Stop the Steal” and overturn millions of legally cast votes, GOP PA Congressman Scott Perry was also working on a silent/internal coup attempt. Perry’s coup attempt involved a member of the Department of Justice. Fifth-term Cong. Perry (58), is an outspoken GOPer and a member of the hard-right extremist Freedom (“Free dumb”) Caucus. Cong. Perry introduced Trump to acting chief of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, Philadelphia, PA native Jeffrey Clark. Clark, not well known at the DOJ (Dept. of Justice) or in many other places, was sympathetic to Trump’s view that the 11/03/2020 presidential election had been stolen. Clark was quite open to conspiracy theories about election fraud. Clark countered acting Atty. General Jeffrey Rosen who had taken over when Atty. General William Barr left before Christmas, 2020. Rosen, and even Barr, had stood by the results of the presidential elections finding no fraud in Biden’s win (nytimes.com, 1/23-24/21, Benner & Edmondson).
According to the NY Times, it was highly unlikely that without Cong. Perry’s introduction of Clark to him, Trump would ever have known Clark. Trump called Clark directly on multiple occasions. Clark and Trump met in person without alerting Acting Atty. General Rosen. Justice Department policy stipulates that the president initially communicates with the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General on all matters, and then a lower level-official if authorized. As the 1/06/2021 date for Congress to affirm Biden’s victory neared, Cong. Perry and Clark discussed a plan. This plan would have the Justice Department send a letter to GA state lawmakers informing them of an investigation into voter fraud that could invalidate that state’s Electoral College results. Cong. Perry and Clark additionally discussed this plan with Trump. At the end of 12/2020, Clark approached his boss, Mr. Rosen with the GA letter. Acting Atty. General Rosen refused to send it. On 1/03/2021, the day after Trump’s call pressuring GA Sec. of State Raffensperger, Clark notified Rosen that he would be taking his job at Trump’s behest (nytimes.com, Benner & Edmondson, 1/23-24/21). Before Rosen met with Trump to fight for his job, all of Rosen’s staffers convened a conference call with the DOJ’s senior leaders. Rosen’s staffers told them about Clark’s machinations that were putting their boss’ job in jeopardy. Rosen’s staffers and all the top DOJ leaders quickly emailed or texted that they would resign en masse if Trump fired Rosen. After a three- hour meeting with Rosen, Clark, Trump, and other DOJ officials, Trump backed down from firing Rosen. The internal Trump/Perry/Clark coup had failed, but just barely. Again, as the NY Times correctly noted, the Cong. Perry/Clark attempt to oust Rosen emphasized just how much Donald was willing to use anyone, including a relatively unknown Congressmember and junior unknown figures to crash our democracy’s guardrails when ranking GOPers and cabinet members rebuffed him.
Congressman Perry, a retired brigadier general in the PA Army National Guard and Iraq War veteran, is, like Clark, open to conspiratorial theories. Perry baselessly suggested that the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas by a lone gunman could have been influenced by “ISIS infiltration through the southern border.” He refused to support a resolution that condemned the QAnon pro-Trump conspiracy movement. Cong. Perry was, as previously mentioned, an early supporter of the “Stop the Steal” movement. He was one of 126 House Republicans who joined a legal brief in 12/2020 supporting an extraordinary lawsuit seeking to overturn Biden’s presidential victory. He joined over two-dozen of his colleagues who urged Trump to direct then Atty. General Barr to “investigate irregularities in the 2020 election.” He objected on behalf of 79 other House GOPers to certifying PA’s electoral results (nytimes.com, Benner & Edmondson, 1/23-24/2021). On 1/07/2021 “The York Dispatch” editorial board stated that Cong. Perry, who even after the 1/06/2021 Capitol coup voted against accepting the votes of Pennsylvanians in the presidential elections, but accepted the electoral results that gave him victory in his 2020 congressional race, should resign. That editorial attacked Perry and his fellow right-wingers for predictably stirring up the conspiracy mob that attacked the Capitol by aiding and abetting for years their belligerent beliefs (yorkdispatch.com). Cong. Perry refused to walk through a metal detector or stop when it beeped. These detectors were set up outside the House chamber following the 1/06/21 Capitol attack. Cong. Perry refused to wear a mask while sheltering in a room for several hours during the Capitol attack, creating a risk of getting COVID-19 or transmitting it to his fellow legislators and staffers. A person in the room during that attack has already tested positive (AP, yorkdispatch.com, 1/14/21).
Cong. Perry currently represents PA’s 10th Congressional District (CD). The PA 10th is located in that state’s south-central part. The Keystone Stated includes all of Dauphin County, the largest share of the district. The 10th includes portions of York and Cumberland Counties. Harrisburg, PA’s capital, in Dauphin County, is part of the 10th as is the city of York. York has a Harley-Davidson manufacturing plant (Cohen & Cook 2020 Political Almanac). The York and Cumberland County parts of the 10th CD have remained traditionally GOP. However, before the 2018 elections, the PA Supreme Ct. redrew the boundaries of the 10th district, previously known as the 4th. The redrawn 10th has gained Democratic portions of Dauphin and lost some rural GOP areas. Politically, the 10th is now more competitive with a Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI) of R+6 (cookpolitical.com, 2/20/17).
We should not at all be surprised by Cong. Perry’s action and present record. After receiving a BA from Penn State, Perry built a contracting firm that specialized in meter calibration and line work for municipalities. In 2002, the PA Atty. General’s office accused Perry of falsifying reports to that state’s Environmental Protection Department. Perry was fined $5,000 (Cook & Cohen 2020 Almanac). Perry won election to the PA State House in 2006. In that body, he expanded the law allowing residents to use deadly force in self-defense. He opposed then PA GOP Gov. Tom Corbett by pushing legislation that would have declined federal money to fund insurance exchanges under Obamacare. Perry ran for the U.S. House in 2012 and won his primary. In the then heavily GOP 4th CD, Perry trounced his Democratic opponent getting 60% of the vote and coasted to re-election in 2014 and 2016. When the 4th PA CD became the more competitive 10th, Perry barely won re-election in 2018, eking out a 51%-49% win (Cohen & Cook 2020). In 2020, with Trump on the ballot, Perry defeated Democratic opponent Eugene DePasquale, PA’s Auditor General 53.3%-46.7% (2020 10th CD PA election).
In the House, Cong. Perry backed Demagogue Donald nearly 90% of the time, a record almost similar to that of Southern GOPers (see projects five-thirtyeight.com). Prior to his machinations with the DOJ and Trump, Perry was best known for talking a good game about lowering the price of insulin. He then voted twice against lowering the cost of that life saving drug for six million American diabetics, on 12/13/19 and on 12/17/19. Trump himself signed the 12/17/2019 Lower Insulin Costs Now Act into law (americanindependent.com, Martin, D.,2/21/20, American Diabetes Association). Cong. Perry supported the partial government shut down that Trump hoped would result in funding a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. In 10/2017, Cong. Perry ridiculously accused CNN anchor Chris Cuomo of “exaggerating” the disaster Hurricane Maria inflicted on Puerto Rico (Tornoe, 10/12/17, inquirer.com/philly). Cong. Perry voted against impeachment for Donald in both 12/2019 and 1/2021.
The Justice Department’s Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz has opened an investigation into whether any current or former DOJ officials tried to improperly wield that department’s power to undo the results of the 2020 presidential election. This investigation will be limited to individuals in the Justice Dept., because other agencies do not fall under Mr. Horowitz’s purview (nytimes.com, Benner, 1/25/21). Congressman Perry’s involvement with Donald, Clark, and anyone else in this attempted internal coup to overthrow our democracy must be investigated by the House. If Cong. Perry is found guilty of involvement in these anti-democratic acts, he should be expelled from the “People’s House” for failing to abide by our democratic norms and for failing to represent the will of the people. Even if he is not expelled, Cong. Perry must be defeated at the ballot box in 2022. Trumpism, with all its aiders and abettors, must be eradicated.