Conservative activist slams GOP 'war on Thanksgiving' claims as total nonsense: 'We are in the middle of a pandemic'

Conservative activist slams GOP 'war on Thanksgiving' claims as total nonsense: 'We are in the middle of a pandemic'
Photo via Gage Skidmore.

After years of pushing former Fox News pundit Bill O'Reilly's "War on Christmas" nonsense, far-right Republican culture warriors have a new meme: the so-called "War on Thanksgiving." Republicans and allies of outgoing President Donald Trump have been making the ludicrous claim that Democrats who are encouraging social distancing measures on Thanksgiving oppose the holiday. But Never Trump conservative Tim Miller, in an article published by The Bulwark on Thanksgiving, slams the "War on Thanksgiving" meme as total nonsense — stressing that trying to slow down the spread of COVID-19 on Thanksgiving is hardly the same as attacking Thanksgiving.

Miller has a very conservative background. He was active in the Republican National Committee, served as communications director for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and supported the late Republican Sen. John McCain for president in 2008. But the Never Trumper, this week in his Bulwark newsletter, announced that he has finally decided to leave the GOP. And the "War on Thanksgiving" nonsense is a perfect example of why Miller decided that his former party was beyond salvation.

Miller explains, "This should be a time of national solidarity. Our nurses and emergency-room doctors should be celebrated like conquering heroes. Our leaders should raise us up and enjoin us to participate in this great struggle on behalf of our fellow man. To triumph over the virus with the meeting of American innovation through the coming vaccines and our generous, frontier spirit…. Instead, we have a president whose focus is entirely on his effort to perpetrate a fraud on the American public and convince his voters that they live in a communist junta where elections are rigged."

The Never Trumper goes on to cite some examples of Republicans who have claimed that there is a "War on Thanksgiving," including Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, Rep. Lee Zeldin and Rep. Chip Roy. Cruz, for example, tweeted, in all caps, "COME AND TAKE MY TURKEY," and Roy declared, "I will do whatever I want on Thanksgiving."

"Well, here's the deal, Chip and Lee and Dan and Ted," Miller writes. "We all want to do what we want this Thanksgiving. But one thing that most people have learned by the time they are adults is that they don't get to do whatever they want whenever they want. And this year, we are in the middle of a fucking pandemic that has killed over 260,000 people (in the United States) and is once again starting to overwhelm hospitals around the country. So, our wants and desires conflict with the broader interests of our nation. It's a concept that grown men would understand."

Miller criticizes some Democrats as well in his article — not for claiming that there is a "War on Thanksgiving," but for not adhering to the social distancing measures they are encouraging. The ex-Republican argues that although Democrats are generally offering good advice in response to the pandemic, they need to follow that advice.

Miller explains, "While nearly all of the prominent Democratic leaders are saying the right thing, it can't go unmentioned that many of them are refusing to practice what they preach. My hometown mayor, Michael Hancock, is flying to Mississippi — through Houston — to see his mother for Thanksgiving. Three states! Thirty minutes before his flight took off, he tweeted, 'Avoid travel, if you can.' You serious, Clark?! Andrew Cuomo was bringing his mother up to Albany until he got shamed out of it. Gavin Newsom held an indoor event at the posh French Laundry restaurant in Yountville. This is part of the whole leadership deal: if you are asking other people to make sacrifices for the good of the whole, you have to do it too."

One Democrat Miller cites as exemplary, however, is President-elect Joe Biden.

"For months," Miller notes, "(Biden) was ridiculed by right-wing provocateurs and Trump himself for modeling responsible behavior. 'Virtue signaling!,' they bellowed. But he never bowed to their taunts. He never caved when TV pundits mocked his drive-in rallies or his small, socially distant events. And throughout the transition, he has said and done the right things focused on getting his incoming administration ready to handle this crisis. This is normal. This is what we would expect from someone who strives to lead a country made up of people who have common purpose and aspire to be the hope of the world."

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