The aim of this week’s insurrection at the Capitol wasn’t just to have a big riot.
It was to disrupt a joint session of Congress as it was happening, called as necessitated by the Constitution to count the Electoral College votes, which had been already certified by all 50 states.
And it was to disrupt it in a way that would force a switch to Trump as the winner, even though he didn’t win. Not even close. And with that, overturn the U.S. government itself. To that end, the F.B.I. appears to be very seriously investigating whether some of those who stormed the Capitol intended to “kill or capture lawmakers or their staffers“.
Because a lot of people by the end of this very same week—especially Republicans—are “forgetting” that. Maybe because it helps them feel less guilty for fomenting what happened by at least tacitly supporting Trump’s endless lies about voter fraud for months. How many times did we hear Ted Cruz or Josh Hawley or any of the majority of House Republicans who still in the end voted to throw out electoral votes in certain states, talk about “unprecedented” allegations of voter fraud, or election irregularities? Yes. It was unprecedented.
But all that was unprecedented was emanating from one source only: Trump. And was lies. And then was parroted out from there by Dear Leader’s adherents and enablers. Who now say they abhor the violence that resulted?!
As Joe Biden said: “Step up!” Which Trump didn’t as the coup attempt continued.
Now it’s Republicans in Congress’ turn to step up and prove they’re not only concerned about violence, but also sedition. Which is defined in U.S. Code thusly:
“[T]o overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States.”
Only focusing on “violence” and desecration of federal property, as many Republicans are now choosing to do, ignores the clearest point A to point B line ever between Trump and a naked attempt to undermine and overthrow the U.S. government.
Starting with Trump’s exhortation to “Be there [on January 6th], will be wild!”, continuing with his own, and his son’s, and Rudy Giuliani’s speech on the day. Minutes before the attack on the Capitol, Giuliani: “Let’s have trial by combat!”
Yet just a couple of days later, while some in power are fighting like hell to make sure Trump doesn’t just walk away this time, others would seem to prefer to see it muddle into yet another partisan squabble about where the buck stops. Which ensures it never stops.
These are the same Republicans who refused to remove Trump after he was impeached because they said it wasn’t up to them, it was up to the voters whether he should be removed. Well, the voters weighed in. Resoundingly. So even by their own “rules” they put up, this situation is completely different. Now they can foster no illusion that they’re being asked to change the result of an election, because they’re being asked to defend the results of an election. Which is what they said they were committed to doing before.
“I want him out. He has caused enough damage.”
It’s a start.
Trump’s pronouncement via Twitter that he won’t attend Biden’s inauguration accomplishes one positive thing, insofar as he explicitly acknowledges there will be a Biden inauguration. And it will firmly establish Trump as the sorest sore loser ever.
I’m afraid Trump’s supporters may not see if that way. And Twitter seemed to be most concerned that Trump is counting on that when it suspended him permanently late Friday. Because what Trump says and does leading up to and on that day will potentially make a huge difference. But at least not what he Tweets anymore, after the company decided that and other Presidential Tweets were against their “Glorification of Violence” policy, and:
“[D]ue to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
Because why would anyone ever expect Trump to suddenly become a big boy all by himself? And suddenly stop yelling “fire” in a crowded theater after he’d done so over and over and over again?!
“[Trump’s] presidency has been a harrowing survey of the things that are possible if nobody stops you.”
“I do not believe that’s appropriate at this point. I’m looking for a peaceful transfer of power. I’m looking for the next 14 days to reset. And we will hand off power in a traditional sense by it being a peaceful transfer.”
“If something else happens all options will be on the table.”
He’s spent more time with Trump than almost anyone from Capitol Hill, and he really still believes there’s any chance Trump will behave himself between now and Biden’s inauguration? Which, as I’ve already said, and Trump’s already demonstrated, he won’t.
As California Democratic Representative Ted Lieu says, in a statement that should be an obvious reality, but at this point is more of an aspiration:
“In America, you don’t get to have one free coup attempt.”