Contributor to conspiratorial PowerPoint slides gets a platform – MSNBC

Contributor to conspiratorial PowerPoint slides gets a platform – MSNBC

If my email inbox is any indication, there are plenty of questions surrounding a conspiratorial PowerPoint presentation that former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows shared with the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. NBC News reported this week on what we know:

The exact origins of the 36-page PowerPoint document are unknown. It appears to have first surfaced online in full in early January. Ahead of Jan. 6 … the presentation was one of a handful of documents that outlined a rationale for overturning the election or disregarding the results that were written and circulated by allies of President Donald Trump or by people sympathetic to his baseless claims of fraud. The PowerPoint presentation and its allegations and assertions were promoted by ardent supporters of Trump who have repeatedly spread falsehoods about the election.

Even by contemporary standards, the conspiratorial assertions included in the PowerPoint slides — claims that were supposed to justify overturning the election results — were hysterically bonkers. Its recommendations were equally insane: The presentation said, among other things, that all votes cast by way of electronic voting machines should be invalidated as part of a scheme to give power to those who lost.

The fact that such a presentation found its way to the former White House chief of staff, during his tenure in the West Wing, was rather unsettling.

It’s important to emphasize that there’s nothing to suggest that Meadows or his colleagues had anything to do with the creation of the PowerPoint presentation. For that matter, there’s also no evidence the Republican or his team did anything with the slides, other than receive a copy of them.

That said, Phil Waldron, a retired Army colonel, has acknowledged having played a role as one of the document’s contributors. Waldron has also said he met several times with Meadows at the White House, worked with Trump’s lawyers, and even briefed members of Congress ahead of the Jan. 6 riot.

This week, as The Washington Post reported, Waldron was invited to speak to a state commission charged with shaping Louisiana’s voting system.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, a Republican who chairs the 13-member Voting System Commission, welcomed Waldron without mention of his role bolstering arguments that Joe Biden’s victory should not be certified…. “We’re very pleased to have him here and excited to hear what he has to say,” said Ardoin, noting that the audience included many members of Waldron’s “fan club.”

The Post’s article added, “[T]he invitation to Waldron — and the applause that those in the audience gave him on Tuesday — shows how proponents of election fraud falsehoods are cementing a place in public discussion about the future of voting in America, particularly in red states where political leaders often respond to a Republican base that is outraged about alleged election irregularities.”

It does, indeed. It’s one thing for a retired Army colonel to publicly take partial credit for a truly bizarre PowerPoint presentation. If he met with the White House chief of staff and briefed congressional Republicans in the aftermath of the 2020 elections, that’s worse.

But consider what’s become of GOP politics that nearly a year later, Waldron was invited to share his ideas with elections officials in Louisiana, where he has “fans” and received “applause.”