The Atlantic Daily: Republicans Could Just Call Trump a Loser

What if the GOP stopped capitulating to Trump? Plus: There’s a reason kids make better philosophers than grown-ups do.

Over the past several days, newly public reporting has revealed that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy harshly criticized Donald Trump after the January 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol. “The Democrats are going to take care of the son of a bitch for us,” McConnell, then majority leader, told advisers. McCarthy was caught on tape saying that he would push Trump to resign.

As my colleague David Graham wrote last week, when McConnell and McCarthy shrug off concerns about January 6 now, “they are committing an act of moral and political cowardice.” Perhaps they feel like they can’t criticize Trump, because doing so has cost other Republican candidates and leaders (hello, Liz Cheney).

But as our staff writer Mark Leibovich argues, in the 2024 presidential primaries, “some nervy Republican challenger” just might come out on top by calling the former president a loser. Trump’s dominance is only part of the conventional political wisdom that our writers think is due for a shake-up.

Further reading: America’s political dysfunction is turning school boards away from the business of schooling, my colleague Adam Harris writes.

The rest of the news in three sentences:

  1. Russia stopped supplying gas to Poland and Bulgaria, which in turn distribute gas to Germany, Hungary, and Serbia.
  2. A manufacturer recalled more than 120,000 pounds of ground beef over E. coli concerns.
  3. Anthony Fauci said that the United States is “out of the pandemic phase” of COVID-19.  

Latest dispatches: Non-fungible tokens are coming for New York’s nightclub scene—but money can’t buy cool, and never could, Xochitl Gonzalez argues in the latest Brooklyn, Everywhere. And in Up for Debate, Conor Friedersdorf asks readers: What types of speech should Twitter forbid, specifically?

Tonight’s Atlantic-approved activity: Do a puzzle. Hopefully you’ll finish before the world ends.

A break from the news: Kids make the best philosophers. (Want a single great story like this sent to your inbox each weekday? Sign up for One Story to Read Today.)