Staff file photo by Matt Hamilton / Rep. Chuck Fleischmann speaks during a Memorial Day program at the Chattanooga National Cemetery on May 30, 2022.

If you ever want to document the separation of the GOP from reality — much like that described by former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr as he testified recently in depositions to the Jan. 6 committee about former president Donald Trump's denial of election results — just look at U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann's twitter pages — @RepChuck or @chuck4congress.

Tuesday offered us another perfect example of GOP denial we'll label bait-and-switch.

Despite the persistent march of evidence deeply incriminating to our former president and shown in stark relief without grandstanding during two days of hearings, Fleischmann, R-Tennessee, at 12:12 p.m. tweeted on his @chuck4congress page:

"Happy Birthday to President Donald Trump! He always put America FIRST and our nation was blessed by his strong conservative leadership." The tweet was accompanied by a picture of Chattanooga's 3rd District congressman leaning in toward the grinning ex-president.

Trump was shown in Monday's hearing to have been told repeatedly by his staff and supporters (all but from a drunken Rudy Giuliani) that he did not win the election and that there was no fraud, yet he continues to falsely assert he won and the 2020 election was stolen from him.

Fleischmann, meanwhile, continues in his tweets to refer to Trump as "President Trump." The real election winner is, more often than not, referred to in our congressman's tweets merely as Biden, Joe Biden or the Biden administration.

Tuesday in Twitterland was another example right out of the GOP playbook, probably from a page headed: Don't make eye contact. Ignore the mounting evidence against our tarnished Republican figurehead. Instead, whine about Democrats.


Email from Chuck Fleischmann


Two tweets below Fleischmann's Happy-Birthday-pres message was this from June 10 — the day after the first Jan. 6. prime-time hearing:

"In the month of May, inflation rates hit a four-decade high of 8.6%. Every American family is feeling the weight of this Democrat-inflicted economic crisis. We must get our country back on track and bring the #RedWave this November and stop the Left's nonstop, reckless spending."

But we believe the disconnect goes further than simple partisanship. Rep. Fleischmann, like too many Republicans, seems also to be in denial about who elected him.

Last week, we took Rep. Fleischmann to task on this page for having no stated "thoughts and prayers" on his Twitter pages for the victims of two mass shootings in Chattanooga — the flag city of the district he was elected to represent. Frankly, he didn't even acknowledge the incidents — let alone offer any condolences.

We emailed his spokesman, Justin Doil, to be sure we didn't accidentally miss a shout-out to worried and saddened Chattanoogans.

Doil didn't respond.

He still hasn't responded.

Nor has Rep. Fleischmann yet to tweet about our mass shootings — one on Memorial Day weekend in the heart of Chattanooga's downtown tourism district, injuring six teens 15 and under, and the second a week later at a nightclub on McCallie Avenue, killing three and injuring 14 others ages 16 to 49.

But last week Doil did manage to email a statement for Fleischmann — within one minute of The New York Times news announcement that the House had voted 223 to 204 to raise the age for buying semiautomatic weapons to 21, to ban high-capacity magazines and to establish stricter requirements regulating the storage of guns in homes.

The statement was to tell us why Fleischmann did not vote for gun safety.

That statement read in part: "Gun control always restricts the rights of law-abiding, responsible Americans to practice their Second Amendment rights ... such as prohibiting 18 to 20 year-olds from buying nearly all semiautomatic rifles and shotguns and establishes federal red flag laws that take away responsible gun owners' right to due process."

But guess what. None of this kept Fleischmann from being outraged about other gun violence— and tweeting about it — this week.

On Tuesday at 2:48 p.m., shortly after the congressman's birthday message to our former, disgraced leader known as Trump, Fleischmann railed in two tweets on his "official" @RepChuck page: "Thanks to the bravery of police officers five years ago, myself, my good friend @SteveScalise, and the fellow members of our charity baseball game were saved from a crazed gunman."

Next installment: "The recent attempt on Justice Kavanaugh's life underscores the need to protect our SCOTUS Justices. Today, I will proudly vote for bipartisan legislation to protect our SCOTUS Justices. We cannot tolerate political violence in our country."

No, sir, we can't. And we cannot tolerate a hypocritical congressman who's forgotten where he lives and who he represents.