Watch those tweet insults

Heaven help the Republican senators who in the future tweet their minds.

After the brouhaha they've made over Neera Tanden's nomination as director of the Office of Management and Budget because she's a mean tweeter, they should all just request the same Twitter exile afforded to their now disgraced former president.

None of them ever said they couldn't support the Donald — no matter how awful or how false or how dangerous his tweets became.

But now these same senators are saying Tanden's confirmation is in doubt because, as a hyper-partisan Democrat leading a center-left think tank, she dubbed Sen. Susan Collins , R-Maine, "the worst," likened Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, to Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort, and said of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that "vampires have more heart than Cruz."

And then there's Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Some Republican needs to step up for Tanden because Manchin has said he won't. In a 50-50 Senate, that's a deal-breaker.

We need to point out the unfairness of Manchin. He had no trouble voting to confirm Trump's former ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who once mocked Newt Gingrich's weight and mused about whether Callista Gingrich's "hair snaps on."

Nor did Manchin nix Ryan Zinke's confirmation, although the then-interior secretary nominee had called Hillary Clinton the "antichrist" in 2014.

Perhaps it means that any future political aspirations of our own Bob Corker are now dashed, too.

After all, his takedown of President Trump in October 2017 became the fourth most-retweeted and viral Twitter message posted by any Republican in Congress.

"It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed this shift this morning," Corker tweeted after Trump attacked him in a Twitter tirade.


In defense of insurrection

Capitol insurrection defendants facing jail are using the "whoops" and "regrets" defense, but judges aren't buying it, according to a Washington Post round-up story of some of the early court appearances of the more than 300 cases beginning to make their way though the justice system.

Some have been shifting blame onto the former president or QAnon.

But one judge called a defendant's claim of civil disobedience "detached from reality," according to The Post. Another verbally smacked down an attorney who tried to use QAnon — the sprawling set of false claims — to explain his client shouting "Kill them all!" Other judges have been giving defendants civics lessons on how democracy works.

You may recall Jacob Chansley, the bare-chested guy with the painted face and wearing horns. He is playing the victim card for all it's worth.

"Please be patient with me and other peaceful people who, like me, are having a very difficult time piecing together all that happened to us, around us, and by us," he said in a public statement. "We are good people who care deeply about our country."

After failing to get a pardon from the former president, he offered to testify against him in the second impeachment trial.

You likely also remember the guy who used a commandeered riot shield to smash in a window. That was Dominic Pezzola, a New Yorker who says he got involved with the Proud Boys last fall and had "honorable intentions." He believed he was "protecting his country" when he grabbed that shield away from an officer and breached a window for fellow insurrectionists entering the Capitol. His attorney wrote that Pezzola "now realized he was duped into these mistaken beliefs" and "is consumed with guilt."

It's too bad these court proceedings are not required watching for all Republican politicians — especially those who are now trying to give themselves the same "whoops" excuses.


Excuses for a crown prince

The Biden administration last week released a U.S. intelligence report that Donald Trump had withheld on the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Just as expected, the report said the hit came from the top: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signed off on the October 2018 killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

Also, just as expected, the Saudis rejected the findings as "negative, false and unacceptable."

The crown prince, also known as MBS, denied involvement, and Saudi officials said the assassination was the work of rogue agents.

The decision to release the report, compiled by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, reflects the Biden administration's determination to recalibrate relations with Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, over its human rights record.

To that end, Secretary of State Antony Blinken sanctioned 76 Saudis under a new "Khashoggi Ban" policy. The U.S. will single out anyone who, acting for a foreign government, engages in "counter-dissident activities" beyond that country's borders.

Except for the crown prince, who won't be penalized. That's in keeping with a broader assessment that he's destined to be the kingdom's ruler for years to come and punishing him now would risk alienating a country that, despite its flaws, remains a crucial ally, The New York Times reported.

That sounds to us very much like a get-out-of-jail-free card. And it is not acceptable.