A historic day turned violent with poor response from the GOP.
Reap what you sow
A demonstration from Trump supporters protesting a fair and free election quickly turned violent on January 6, 2021. The terrorist attack on the United States Capitol was an earthshaking event for the people of the United States. This devastation is felt by eyes around the world as well. A group, consisting of majority white people, was violent and had been emboldened by Trump for 4 years. Reports showed it was a mix of Qanon supporters and members of the proud boys. In a span of 9 hours, insurgents stormed the capitol leaving four dead and the threat to our democracy even greater.
This moment has been a long time coming. The attempted coup is not surprising as Trump incited and encouraged unjust resistance to a fair election. Trump and his loyalists sowed this division and devastation. We must remember that a few tweets halfheartedly condemning this violence does not absolve them from their role in the attack on our democracy.
January 6, 2021 was a historic and ceremonial day. It is known in politics as the day the electoral votes are certified in congress. Additionally, this is also the date that produced a historic win in Georgia, a double democratic win in both run-off senate races. Meaning, senate control shifted parties from conservative to liberal. This morning was time for celebration. Progressives rejoiced as the democratic party controls both chambers of congress, making it far easier to follow a progressive agenda. The end of the day showed a divided America. It showed disgrace and White fragility that is all too common, all too forceful in the days that politicians emphasize America’s equality and forgiveness.
Unjust rage of White supremacy
The protest started just outside the United States Capitol at around 1 pm. The aggressive group waved symbols of White supremacy such as the confederate flag. Other symbols included a noose hanging from a wooden beam. Some members began advancing into the capitol building. The hate group broke through windows, doors, and were met with little resistance from the police. In fact, there is video evidence that shows members of the terrorist group taking photos with police and a police officer helping a member down the steps of the capitol building.
All congress members and Capitol personnel were evacuated as the terrorist group pressed forward. The destruction of the Capitol building was of epic proportions. Terrorists broke into offices, smashed windowpanes, stole property, and chanted calls for revolution and an extension of the Trump presidency. Senator Jeff Merkley reported that a laptop was stolen from his office, posing a potential security risk.
Too little too late
The response from certain congress members who advertise their loyalty to President Trump included calls for peace and order from the mob. These members include Sen. Ted Cruz, Vice President Mike Pence, and Sen. Lindsey Graham. These men are key enablers of Donald Trump’s anti-democratic antics.
Senator Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham repeatedly espoused baseless conspiracy theories about fraudulent election practices. Mike Pence has served and campaigned alongside Trump for 4 years. He regularly defends practices of hate, inequality, and control. These three men in particular fuel Trump’s delusional fire. Senator Lindsey Graham is quite adept at playing chameleon politics. He tweeted back in 2016, “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed.. and we will deserve it.” Since Trump’s election, Graham has done nothing but defend the president and his unhinged actions to try and thwart 2020’s election integrity. However, after the attempted coup on the 6th, Graham is tweeting to a different tune as he states, “I support peaceful protests but not violence and destruction. People need to leave the Capitol now! This is a national embarrassment.”
Similarly, Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Henry McMaster echo sentiments condemning the violent riot at the Capitol building, a stark contrast to their support for the president’s supporters. Cruz tweeted in the aftermath of the terrorist’s destruction, “Those storming the capitol need to stop NOW! The constitution protects peaceful protests but violence-from left or right – is ALWAYS wrong.” However, just hours later Ted Cruz doubled down on his objection to election certification results from Arizona. He consistently peddles the false reality of a rigged presidential election. This narrative was used to incite and power this terrorist group and enable hatred on the basis of lies.
South Carolina’s Governor, Henry McMaster is also a staunch Trump loyalist and tweeted to stop the violence as “It is hard to believe what we are seeing at our beloved Capitol. We should be alarmed – but also deeply saddened. Protest is honored, but violence cannot be tolerated. Those who believe in America should leave the building immediately. The rule of law must prevail.” Contrary to McMaster’s statement, this event is not hard to believe or a surprise. McMaster buys into the ultimate con of acting, surprised by the violence he helped to curate by pushing fabricated claims of election fraud and circumventing the democratic process.
Perhaps the most interesting case of hypocrisy and betrayal comes between the President and Vice President. According to CNN, a source adjacent to the Vice President said that the President was not in regular contact with Pence as the insurgents stormed the Capitol while calling Pence’s name. Mike Pence was there for the certification of the electoral votes, along with his wife and two children.
On January 5th, Pence faced increasing pressure from Trump to circumvent the democratic process by single-handedly rejecting the certification of electoral votes in order to delay the inevitable. Mike Pence instead acted accordingly to his ceremonial role and the constitution as he cannot overturn the electoral college results. Pence’s White House Chief of Staff was reportedly banned from the White House by Trump shortly after. However, Trump’s betrayal to Mike Pence comes as no surprise as it solidifies Trump’s propensity for drowning others to keep his own head above water.
A coward’s way out
Mike Pence’s refusal to give into Trump’s ludicrous demands comes just days before president-elect Joe Biden will be sworn into office. Several members of the white house team, including aids, cabinet members, security officials, and the First Lady’s Chief of Staff are resigning. These people were key in creating and enabling the devastating actions of Donald Trump. From asking White supremacy groups to “stand back and stand by” to clearing peaceful protestors with rubber bullets and tear gas as they fight for Black lives, these people make up a cohort that cannot escape the legacy they lobbied for.
It’s too late to abandon the ship and reach the shore safely. These members of this administration cannot outrun the devastation they sowed. It is up to the public to hold elected officials accountable. To ensure stable elections. The United States is supposed to be the leader of the free world, the gold standard for a democratic society. Instead, Donald Trump watched gleefully as Rome burned to the ground while others in power did nothing to stop it.