There is a World War II saying that “the flak is always the heaviest, closest to the target.” Based upon the endless attacks from local Trumpists, I would say that I am right on target. I would also guess, that this is just the beginning.

David Normandie fired off on social media this past weekend to get things started, declaring that I hide behind my service record and that I should be ashamed of myself.

This was followed by the wildly inaccurate letter in Tuesday’s edition of the Sun from Mary Ann Shakir.

Then came a name-calling diatribe from Larry Day in Wednesday’s edition, followed by a rambling attack with false accusations, targeting my service and advocacy for mental health, by Michael DiGregorio on Thursday.

All of these correspondences from the Cult of Trump perpetuate false information and personal attacks in an attempt to deflect from the fact that Donald Trump, a sitting president, tried to use mob violence to overturn a free and fair election, that he lost.

So, let’s set the record straight and address the falsehoods levied against me, for refusing to kiss the ring of their orange emperor.

1. I was not upset at losing the February election for MWV Republican Committee chair; I was actually relieved. I only agreed to run at the bequest of the moderate minority because we all feared Steve Steiner would do something that embarrassed us. Sadly, we were right.

But that didn’t matter, the MWV Republican Committee wanted a Trump man, and they got one. That was never going to be me, and when I repeatedly told them as much at the February election, the anger was palpable. At least I lost with my integrity intact.

2. Even if Tad Furtado had been successful in his recall attempt last month, I was NEVER going to try and take the reins as chairman again. The demands for allegiance and loyalty to Trump by the MWVRC members back in February made sure of that, and I made this perfectly clear to multiple members of the MWV GOP on Aug. 12, in an email discussing potential courses of action following Steiner flipping off the school board.

3. Mary Ann Shakir, Larry Day, David Normandie and Michael DiGregorio all displayed perfectly that The Cult of Trump will continue to avoid admissions of guilt for Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 armed insurrection.

4. Conspiracy theories abound and false narratives rule supreme over facts and science in the land of Trump, as Ms. Shakir made clear. She falsely claimed it was armed “undercover federal workers” who were responsible for the insurrection, not Trump and his cult. Day claims that “nobody has been charged” with acts that would define Jan. 6 as an insurrection, and yet multiple members of the “Oath Keepers” & “Proud Boys” have been charged with conspiracy, and are being refused bail due to the severity of the threat they pose. More than 80 of the 600 insurrectionists charged are facing weapons charges.

(By the way, prior planning + weapons + a goal to overturn a free and fair election = armed insurrection.)

5. Steiner’s letter, after flipping off the school board, was not an apology, it was a deflection. It was 300 words of Steiner blaming others for his actions, and one line that uses the word “sorry.” Clearly not apologetic.

6. Shakir and Steiner love to speak about the inclusiveness of the Trump Fan Club, claiming that all are welcome “no matter sex or color” and yet at the July 19 meeting of the MWV Republican Committee, Mary Ann’s husband, Ray Shakir made an outburst about U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas’ “homo agenda.” Instead of being reprimanded by the committee for such a homophobic and discriminatory statement, he and Mary Ann were invited to host the Aug. 16 meeting.

How open and welcoming is that? How inclusive is that? Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?

All of these letters from the Cult of Trump blindly invoke the Constitution, but it is not possible to be a constitutionalist and support Trump. Trump tried to overturn a free and fair election! That is a direct attack on the Constitution. It has to be one or the other.

The best idea Ms. Shakir had in her wildly inaccurate and nonsensical writings was the idea of “starting your own endeavor” because the MWV GOP has gone full Trump and off the rails.

After a week of attacks from the Cult of Trump, coupled with the Carroll County GOP officers disrupting a local school board meeting, I am beginning to realize that I was naive to believe that the “Party of Lincoln” was still out there somewhere in our great nation. If it is still within the GOP ranks, it is currently buried by conspiracy theories, hysteria and bad science.

I am starting to understand that I was foolish to believe that rational conservativism could ever grow back stronger in a post-Trump era. I was clearly mistaken to think the local GOP had any redeeming qualities, as it has taken a full week to show just how depraved and unhinged they truly are.

May God have mercy on our republic, in a single-party system, as the GOP burns itself to the ground from within, fueled by hate and ignorance.

Ray S. Gilmore, MPA, BS, ADN and retired Army captain lives in Intervale.

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(1) comment

Scott Shallcross

In the recent words of Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio): "The cold, hard truth is, Donald Trump led us into a ditch on January 6. The former president lied to us. He lied to everyone of us. And, in doing so, he cost us the House, the Senate and the White House. I see, fundamentally, a person who shouldn't be able to hold office again because of what he did around January 6."

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