As Trump falls, rightwing figures such as Fraser Nelson and Douglas Murray have suddenly discovered their consciences

As smoke billowed out of the Capitol, some of Donald Trump’s US apologists – the appeasers, the opportunistic cheerleaders, even some true believers – suddenly discovered consciences. In Britain, rightwing commentators had even less reason to embrace the man who remains US president: domestic support for him here has always been negligible. Cheerleading for Trump in Britain has always been a conscious choice, and it is all the more striking because it comes without the excuse of external pressure or cynical self-interest: indeed, it carries the price of damaging the cheerleaders’ credibility even among many Conservative voters.

Those who made that choice in Britain are now attempting to walk away whistling from the crime scene, but apologism for the figurehead of the international far right – including the self-confessed Nazis who stormed the US legislature – should come with accountability. Fraser Nelson is editor of the Spectator, which presents itself as a respectable centre-right publication – its summer party is attended by senior Tory and Labour figures and BBC journalists alike – even as it publishes columns bemoaning there is “not nearly enough Islamophobia within the Tory party”.

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