President Donald Trump wants Americans to remember Wednesday forever.
And we will, for it was the day he and his followers laid siege to our democracy.
Thousands of the president’s supporters broke through security barricades and breached the U.S. Capitol during the Electoral College vote, interrupting the process but inevitably failing to undo a done deal: the legitimate election of Joe Biden as our 46th president.
At least 13 people were arrested at the Capitol, firearms were recovered, and one woman died of gunshot wounds.
It’s scary to think of the depths to which our country has sunk, but just as frightening to contemplate what else might happen as long as Trump remains a viable player in American politics. Rioters were in place largely at the request of Trump, who used Twitter to urge his followers to come to Washington. They must be dealt with harshly and condemned from all corners. But condemnation is unlikely to come from the White House.
When will this madness stop? And when — if ever — will the unmerited and illogical support for Donald Trump begin to wilt?
The Capitol Hill riot followed in the wake of weeks of Trump’s utterly baseless allegations of a rigged election and widespread voter fraud — allegations that are not supported by one shred of evidence. In fact, election officials continue to assert that the 2020 election had only a few minor hiccups, and Team Trump’s dozens of court cases continue to fail decisively for lack of evidence or standing.
Pouring kerosene on the president’s supposed rigged-election fire are his sycophantic followers, not just protesters and rioters, but those in politics as well as the millions of Americans who voted for him and continue to insist that this man who has proved himself devoid of honor and honesty — who mocks the Constitution and attempts to strong-arm state officials to “find” votes for him — is the man they want to be the leader of the free world.
At one time, that description would include thousands of Yakima Valley residents. Trump was popular here. Will he remain so, even after today? Are we OK with the president, his family and his supporters threatening politicians who won’t support his baseless claims or who stand up to him for any reason? Are we OK with today’s riot in Washington, D.C., in which several rioters entered the legislative chambers after using chemical irritants on police and breaking glass doors?
“We love you, you’re very special,” Trump said in a video released to his supporters — a video in which he repeated debunked claims of a “stolen” election before telling rioters that “you have to go home now, we have to have peace.”
It took a riot — a genuine riot in the Capitol — to make some people see the truth. Several Republican senators and more than 100 House Republicans were prepared to lodge objections to some of the states’ electoral votes Wednesday, including Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane. But McMorris Rodgers changed course after the riot, saying she would vote to uphold Electoral College results and calling on Trump to “put an end to this madness.”
Said Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, who never suggested she would join the Republicans’ efforts to object: “We’ve all seen the videos of banana republics all over the world, where the legislators fight, and they can’t keep security. And now the entire world is watching us. I am heartbroken for my country.”
Trump was just getting started, however, later tweeting his justification for the rioting: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long.”
He added, “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
You did not prevail in a landslide victory, Mr. President. Nothing was viciously stripped away, other than your presidency, and that by legitimate means — the way it’s been done for more than 200 years. Those who rioted at your behest are not great patriots.
Again, this madness must stop. But it won’t stop until Republicans en masse do what has needed to be done for far too long: Stop following this man. Accept his defeat, and accept him for who he is — a man entirely OK with his supporters inciting a riot at the U.S. Capitol in hopes of illegitimately keeping him in power.
Remember this day forever? Oh, we will, Mr. President, we will.