We have previously discussed the calls of figures like Rep. Adam Schiff and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse to investigate Ginni Thomas, the wife of Associate Justice Clarence Thomas. I have expressed great concern over the calling of a spouse of a sitting justice who is among millions of Americans who believed that the 2020 election was stolen. I am not among them, but Thomas has every right to that belief and to advocate for actions in light of that belief. Yet, the Jan. 6 House Select Committee thrilled many on the left by demanding that she appear and answer for her advocacy.
Now the media is breathlessly reporting that “Ginni Thomas tells Jan. 6 panel she still believes false election fraud claims,” as if it were a public confession of a reactionary resisting reeducation. On CNN, anchor Jake Tapper declared to viewers that Thomas has not changed her mind and remains “untethered from all of the facts and evidence.”
One can seriously question whether that is news, but it is certainly satisfying as a congressional committee pulls in the spouse of a conservative justice to grill her for four hours on being a MAGA Republican who called for challenges to the 2020 election. None of the media even raised the question of whether such interviews could be viewed as harassment or pressure on a member of the Supreme Court. I understand that the Committee made this news by pursuing Thomas, but a balanced treatment would have at least raised the question of why she has been singled out over her advocacy.
Select committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) left the voluntary interview with the Committee to report, according to Politico, “she still believes false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.”
Ok, so what? Millions of people hold the same view. They have a right to hold that view, even if we do not believe that they have compelling support for it. For those of us who disagree, we can continue to voice an opposing view, but Thomas and others are unconvinced. (Notably, there is another controversy today of YouTube demonetizing a video showing Democrats calling the 2016 election stolen). There was never any evidence that Thomas participated in any violence and had simply encouraged White House and other officials to challenge the election.
A well-known Republican activist and Trump supporter, Thomas encouraged then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to pursue legal and legislative challenges to what she viewed as a stolen election. The reason that Ginni Thomas’ messages were seized is not because she was a key figure in the investigation but that the Commission has demanded any messages that deal with such challenges or the rally — a scope that has been criticized as overbroad. Congress then leaked the messages and the media did the rest.
There is no evidence that Ginni Thomas ever encouraged violence or was even present at the Capitol during the riot. Thomas said that she attended the Ellipse rally on Jan. 6 but left early, before Trump spoke, and never went to the Capitol.
The challenge to the 2020 election was no surprise. Indeed, not long after the election, I wrote about that possibility in what I called the “Death Star strategy.” It is not a crime to plan such a challenge, even without good cause. It was the same course taken by Democrats without any outcry from the media in challenging Republican presidents.
When Sen. Barbara Boxer launched her own challenge to President Bush on this law, Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised her challenge as “witnessing Democracy at work. This isn’t as some of our Republican colleagues have referred to it, sadly, as frivolous. This debate is fundamental to our democracy.” Joining her in that challenge of George W. Bush was Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who now chairs the committee looking into the Jan. 6th Committee. (Fellow Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) sought to challenge Trump’s certification in 2016).
Yet, various media outlets were quick to report that Thomas remains unreformed and unapologetic in holding these opposing views. The satisfaction in forcing the wife of Clarence Thomas to appear for hours of examination is deeply disturbing. Thomas is hated by the left and that hatred seemed to drive much of this effort.
If there was a single piece of evidence showing that Ginni Thomas engaged in violence or called for violence, it might be a different question (though others who engaged in such crimes were not called to account before the Select Committee). The only evidence, however, was that this longtime Republican advocate engaged in political advocacy in opposing the certification. Her position in these emails was consistent with her public positions.
Yet, reporter Jamie Gangel went to CNN and reported, while Thomas cooperated, “Chairman Bennie Thompson has also told reporters that she still believes the election was stolen, Jake. So after everything we know, Ginni Thomas is still an election denier.” Tapper responded “That’s just wild. I mean, that’s just untethered from all of the facts and evidence.”
What’s “wild” is that coverage has taken on a reeducation element that it is now news that the wife of a jurist is unrepentant and unreformed.