Further Observations On The Pro-Trump Rioting At The Capitol

Capitol riots

I wasn’t able to track everything that was going on yesterday, at the Capitol, in the media, and in cyberspace. I confess: I didn’t even try to listen to the news networks. I know their biases, assumed, correctly, that the rioting would just give the news media perceived license to unleash all of the hate for President Trump they might have left unexpressed over their four years of resistance. I don’t respect these people, I don’t trust them, and I don’t care what they think or say. They are at least as responsible for the violence as the President; I would argue that they are more responsible.

Here are some ethics observations on matters that came to my attention since the post on this topic last night:

1. I’ll repeat this one:

First and foremost, anyone who did not condemn all of the George Floyd/Jacob Blake/Breonna Taylor/ Black Lives Matters rioting that took place this summer and fall is ethically estopped from criticizing this episode.

That covers almost all of the mainstream media, Joe Biden, “The Squad.” and many others. Now that I have checked, virtually all of the conservative media and its pundits have unequivocally condemned those who invaded the Capitol yesterday as they should.

2. The President’s statements about the rioting following the one I quoted were irresponsible, but about what I would have expected. Conservative writer Tyler O’Neil, who, like me, has chronicled the wretched way Trump has been treated by the AUC since his election, wrote (in part), in an admirable post titled, “Trump Needs to Forcefully Condemn the Rioters, Not Coddle Them”:

Never in my life did I expect to see the president of the United States refuse to unequivocally condemn a mob that broke into the U.S. Capitol. There is no place for political violence in America, and the president needs to be the first person to always insist upon that. Tragically, President Donald Trump not only failed to denounce the mob but even praised some of them, essentially coddling rioters….

Trump’s comments remind me of the way Joe Biden responded to the Black Lives Matter and antifa riots over the summer. Biden asked protesters to remain peaceful, but he also repeatedly praised the protests that devolved into riots and condemned America’s “systemic racism,” repeating the arguments that inflamed the riots in the first place. Biden refused to full-throatedly condemn the noxious ideology behind the riots. Like Biden, Trump has called for peace even while suggesting that this political violence followed from a legitimate grievance. Yet even at his worst moments, Biden did not say “we love you” to antifa and he did not insist that riots were the natural response to systemic racism.

He continued,

The 2020 election was not a pristine exercise of democracy, as many legacy media outlets have claimed, but it wasn’t a “steal,” either. As Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) pointed out, it is unlikely that the very serious irregularities and mistakes in the 2020 election were responsible for Biden’s win. Trump’s legal team had many chances to present evidence in court, and when push came to shove, they caved.

It is important for Americans to demand election reform after 2020, but it is also essential for them to accept that Biden won…President Trump decided he would fight the loss, which is his right. Yet the president did not just call for recounts or raise specific problems — he repeatedly claimed that he won by a “landslide.” He also cited the 74 million Americans who voted for him as an achievement. That 74 million number is indeed an achievement — but if the president says the election results are in doubt, he should not brag about the election results. Tragically, Trump’s supporters were primed to listen to him, rather than the legacy media and other sources, because the legacy media has proven itself heinously biased against Trump, again and again. … a Media Research Center poll found that many Americans who voted for Joe Biden said they would not have done so if they had heard about one of eight key election-related news stories that the legacy media suppressed (like allegations of Joe Biden’s personal connection to Hunter Biden’s corruption). If these Americans had not voted for Biden, Trump would have won the election.

Trump did not win, however, and his rhetoric after the election has been dangerous. The president never encouraged his supporters to storm the Capitol, but he did support various schemes to overturn the election results, including crackpot theories about the vice president’s ability to reject Electoral College votes from certain states. (Mike Pence wisely refused to take this course.)

When Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, Trump had a moral duty to vocally condemn their lawless attack. This situation also gave him an opportunity to demonstrate that he supported law and order more than Joe Biden had over the summer.

Instead, Trump arguably proved himself worse than Biden. The president coddled violent elements among his supporters, even when they broke into the People’s House. This was despicable. Trump’s comments were beyond the pale.

The president needs to reverse course. He should follow the lead of Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who called for the mob to face “prosecutions to the fullest extent of the law.” He should not equivocate or suggest that it was natural for some of his supporters to break into the Capitol. He certainly should not praise them or declare his “love” for them.

3. Let me interject here, as I hate to say “I told you so,” but I told you so, that Ethics Alarms stated that the President should have conceded, and gracefully, on December 13, a full three weeks ago. I concluded,

By digging his heels in now, after the Supreme Court dismissed with prejudice the Hail Mary Texas lawsuit, all President Trump can accomplish is to further divide the nation (the objective of Democrats for four plus years, but that’s no excuse for him) and appear to fulfill his foes’ worst assessments of his character. The President has plenty to be resentful and angry about, and there is much to question about how the election was handled. If he were, say, ten-years-old, it would be asking too much to expect him to give up a futile fight and to do what is in the best interests of the country.

But he is not ten, and he is President of the United States.

It’s time.

I was right, and I knew I was right, though the majority of comments on that post were negative. All the President accomplished was to fulfill the worst predictions and assumptions of his foes, and embarrass his defenders.

3. On the President’s typically unrestrained tongue and fingers: In case you missed the worst of his comments last night, he said,

“[G]o home, we love you, you’re very special.”

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”

Saying “I love you” to violent morons who disrupted the election process and got a women killed is a new low for Trump, who has had lower lows than almost any politician in U.S. history. This is the kind of conduct that led me to conclude over a decade ago that he was a uniquely toxic figure in the American culture. Yet again, it is not far from what I would have expected.

4. It was largely ignored, but the President did finally concede last night after Congress, as there was never any doubt that itwould, certified the election results. He wrote,

“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”

Of course, more people would have known about the concession, such as it is, if Twitter hadn’t suspended the President’s account, a cowardly and irresponsible act clarifying the platform’s despicable bias, as if more clarity was needed.

It must also be noted that the riots didn’t “endanger democracy” in any way, nor did they constitute a “coup” or even an attempted coup. Like most riots, this was a tantrum.

5. Finally, another word from Professor Reynolds, which does not in any way mitigate the disgrace of the rioting or the President’s unethical response to them, as he wrote,

“Meanwhile, does anyone think there wouldn’t have been riots if Trump had been declared the winner?”

In fact, the rioting would have been nationwide, and have lasted days, if not weeks and months.

Which, neatly, brings us back to observation #1.

55 thoughts on “Further Observations On The Pro-Trump Rioting At The Capitol

  1. Parts of this post come painfully close to the rationalization known as ethics estoppel, although not precisely. While verbally abhorring violence in one case and not another is, no doubt, hypocritical, that does not and should not mean one is estopped from arguing against violence on one case if that person failed to argue against violence in another. Although one should generally be estopped from asserting something contrary to prior assertions (including by implication from actions), in my view, being recognized as a hypocrite does not necessarily constitute estoppel.

    • It’s not hypocrisy, it’s partisan double standards, Michael. The same people who “endorsed” Occupy Wall Street and all of the BLM “mostly peaceful” riots going back to Ferguson, are estopped because they have proved that they have no core principles other than “my cause’s riots are good, yours are are bad” I should have been more precise, I suppose: the apologists for those other riots argued FOR violence. That forfeits the right to be taken seriously now. You can’t selectively follow ethics principles when it’s convenient for you. Ethics estoppel means that your arguments against something you approved of earlier because of bias just indict one’s integrity and logic, and that’s all they do. Remember my ethics estoppel piece after Bill Clinton spoke about hos important it was for a President not to lie to the public? He was right about the principle, but its a principle he can’t be an advocate for, ever, unless he begins with “I realize something now that I didn’t always appreciate,” and even then it would be preferable for him to shut up on the topic.

      Same here.

      • Welp, that brings us back to Stonekettle Station and Jim Wright’s crazy rant after Charlottesville about how neo-Nazis deserved a kick in their yellow teeth and a punch in the throat, etc. A lot of folks seem to have grabbed onto that idea, and if it’s ok to clobber one group because you don’t agree with them, then it’s ok to clobber anyone you don’t agree with.

        Biden embraced this, and now he’s going to have one hell of a time establishing order. He’s going to need a whole lot more than platitudes about “unity” and I for one, won’t lift a finger to aid his efforts. He’s a liar, a cheat, and a principle-free opportunist who had half a chance to stop what went on last summer before it got out of hand, or at least try. He didn’t. I won’t have him or his party as leaders any longer than I must, and I will oppose them every chance I get.

          • According to the dictionary, at least for now:

            “nonstandard spelling of well, representing an informal pronunciation (typically used to convey resignation or disappointment).”

          • I think it comes from a person verbally saying “well” with no follow on commentary because the situation inciting the exclaimed “well” is so blatantly messed up that it doesn’t require commentary. The person saying “well” generally also has a history of trying to warn about the situation as well.

            It’s a type of resignation. And the “p” at the end is because if you verbalize “well” in exactly the way one does in that situation, the mouth closes rapidly after the last sound of “well” creating a type of non-plosive “p” sound.

    • I’ll quote this from Stephen Green, a conservative blogger, not to appeal to authority, but to avoid typing out the same points myself:

      And the violence could be worse: Trump could have (and probably actually did) win the election. As Glenn Reynolds asked earlier this morning, “Does anyone think there wouldn’t have been riots if Trump had been declared the winner?”

      Of course there would have been.

      The Left has put on a four-year-long temper tantrum in response to Trump’s 2016 victory, culminating with them turning 2020 into the worst year of riots since 1968. Worse was the running coup attempt against Trump that began before he was even sworn into office.

      “He egged on his supporters” yesterday, the Democrat-Media Complex claims. But that’s exactly what the Democrats have done on an ongoing basis since the morning of November 9, 2016.

    • More: I see where the confusion is! Thanks for flagging it. The Rationalization #2 called Ethics Estoppel is distinct from the principle of ethics estoppel that I cite here frequently. The Rationalization is when someone excuses and mitigates unethical conduct by saying “X is/was just as bad.” It’s whataboutism, essentially (I wrote #2 before using Ethics estoppel in the other sense and before “whataboutism.” Nothing in my post suggested that the rioting was less wrong because of the BLM rioting. It DID state that if yesterday’s rioyting was wrong, so was the BLM rioting, and those claiming otherwise were using a double standard.

      I’m going to fix #2 to eliminate the confusion.

  2. In other words, this was one more symptom of the political perfect storm this last year became. I will say this, don’t expect this to be the last incident like this. A lot of the same arguments used by BLM about using violence to make yourself heard when no one listens otherwise could be used by the die-hard Trumpians and whatever other extremists they ally with. Don’t complain later when there’s a Million Gun Owner March or a Million Maskless March on DC, or when more angry folks claiming oppression decide they’re going to off a perceived tyrannical governor or disrupt a legislative session and actually try to go through with it, or when a bomb explodes on Juneteenth, or when the ubiquitous statues of MLK get targeted. Michael Collins said once the way to win is to set your own rules, and, though BLM may have invented this latest combination of mostly peaceful protest combined with terror, the far right may well perfect it.

  3. So this happened.

    So someone didn’t bother to take Jack’s class?

    • Now that lawyers seem to be refusing to take cases for partisan reasons, we should definitely see the disenfranchised conservatives back down and be happier with the situation.

      What life appears to be like in the US to many conservatives:
      (1) Elections are determined by those who do the counting, not those who vote.
      (2) The government can and will shut down your business or forbid you from having a job for…reasons.
      (3) Your freedom of movement will be restricted arbitrarily by the government for…reasons.
      (4) You and your children’s access to state-funded education and state funded programs is determined along partisan, racial, sexual preference, and gender lines.
      (5) You and your children’s ability to get a job are determined along partisan, racial, sexual preference, and gender lines.
      (5) Your actions are determined to be lawful or illegal for purely arbitrary and partisan reasons.
      (6) Your ability to speak or hold ideas are determined on partisan lines.
      (7) You will prosecuted for crimes completely on partisan reasons, not because of the law or your actions.
      (8) You will be denied legal representation on partisan lines.
      (9) Judges rule based on their personal preferences, not based on laws.
      (10) Religions are treated differently and Christianity is treated as nearly a criminal offense.

      I don’t see why we could possibly see any more protests or riots by conservatives under these circumstances. You may not agree with these perceptions, but if you don’t agree that there are definitely a lot of examples to suggest this is how it works, you are lying or you have deceived yourself.

  4. Can we just briefly talk about his baseless, stupid, and self-defeating claim that his was the best first term in American history?

    Granted: It was nowhere near as bad as Democrats made it out to be, and much of the bad contained within it was created by the Democrats and their allies. (My least favorite being people who thought they could stop doing what they were paid to do just to take shots at Trump. I KNOW Stephen Colbert knows how to be funny- it was just easier to not be and criticize the President instead. Ugh).

    I would think, at a minimum, there are at least five presidents with better claims to this distinction: Washington, Jefferson, Polk, Eisenhower, and Reagan.

    • Oh, I dunno. I suspect that he was referring to the success of the financial markets during his term, lowest unemployment figures across all racial lines – ever; lower taxes; criminal justice sentencing reform; lowest illegal/undocumented immigration rates in decades; fastest development and distribution of a vaccine in history; NATO partners paying their share of NATO; moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem; refurbishing the military; extracting the nation from foreign wars; bringing international attention to China, both in terms of economics and political influence; appointing three justices to SCOTUS; filling judicial vacancies (though that success may be more attributable to McConnell), just to name a few.

      jvb

      • It is like when people in North Carolina report their snowfall. When they say 6″, it is more like 1″. You have to convert.

        Trump converter for HIS accomplishments
        Trumpspeak –> normal meaning
        Greatest in History = pretty good
        Great = good
        Good= not good
        Bad= all is lost

        Trump converter for his OPPONENT’S accomplishments
        Worst in all of history = pretty bad
        Really bad = bad
        OK = good
        good = really good
        doesn’t go farther than this

        This conversion table may work for all New Yorkers.

        • And if you need another example–picture a reporter with burning buildings behind him “Mostly peaceful protests”. Now picture a Trump supporter leaving a U.S. flag, a scribbled note with no more than four-letter words– none of them profane, and bootprints… at an Pelosi staffer’s desk: “Oh, the Humanity!!”

  5. test again…

    WOW…
    I watched ABC because they are so non transparent in their agenda and hate it’s so easy to see what their narrative is, their story they want us to believe and their complete hypocrisy and dishonesty.

    I was shocked they went as far as they did with their lies.

    At the beginning before there were any people being ‘unpeaceful” they poo-pooed the “few hundred” people there making it seem like there was no one and Trump was alone to be defeated in humility. I wondered why they took this view when you could see way more than a few hundred. And looking back NONE Of the “men in black” mobs we saw later. Just normal folks, Their main narrative was the same though “carrying Trump flags, hardly any American FLags to be seen.”

    Ah ok… So the narrative is “Anti American” – got it.
    I noticed after that, each shot made sure to have a few HUGE Trump flags in the shot LOL.

    Once the first State objected… i had a feeling something was gonna happen. The media seemed prepared for part 2. They then started saying “this is going to turn violent.” – I kid you not… I wondered how they knew or thought that since moments before it was those few “hundred” non mainstream people… whatever…

    Then once those people got into the building, they started with this Narrative “Trump is trying to take over the country with violence instructing his radicals to …. yada, yada.” – They started selling fear HARD… i was blown away by the leading comments, questions and it was just sickening.

    “NEVER seen before!!” – like did they forget when the impeachment was happening???? When they had Anti Trump haters in the chambers during THAt?????? like OMG!!! How could they have forgotten????

    And they are liars. I went and watched Trump’s speech. (I had not seen it) There is no way he was calling for violence at all. He did say let’s go and support those who are in Congress standing for Democracy and a fair election… that it took courage… etc.

    Anyway, They who control the story control the people… and it’s very sad that happened yesterday.

    BTW, friends were there and told me it was peaceful but they noticed very low police presence which they thought was odd… anyway… just my thoughts.

    I”m thankful for the people on this blog who I know think bigger picture and who don’t buy the Bull-crap. But i’m sad that our freedom of speech is under threat and those who have the courage to not accept the MSM story are labeled “conspiracy theorists who are dangerous to our democracy” – something each person on ABC said hundreds of times yesterday.

    • I noticed you mention “narrative” a few times. Check out Sheryl Attikisson’s latest book Slanted: How The News Media Taught Us to Love Censorship and Hate Journalism.

      On page 84 she says:

      “Journalists used to believe part of their job was to question in a rational way. Now many see their job as convincing the public not to question certain narratives and bullying those who do.”

  6. Hi Jack I am having a hard time leaving a comment, but my “test” worked.. what do you suggest? This happens a lot lately. 😦 So wanting to support and share my thoughts! Hope this goes through. The other was longer.

  7. Does anyone know the percentage of those at the rally were among those storming the Capitol? I understand there were 65 arrests and 4 fatalities. I know of the unarmed woman in the military , who was smeared this morning in the post as a conspiracy theorist, was killed but who were the other 3? What charges were filed against those that threw projectiles and injured officers? Who are those charged?

    I think a conservative estimate of those attending was at least 100k. If 1000 stormed the Capitol that is 1% of the total. So why is a communique to the overwhelmingly peaceful majority of rally goers suggest he is coddling the violent

    It seems to me that like the claims that he said all the illegals coming across our southern border were rapists and criminals, this one regarding his love for rally goers lumps everyone into the lawbreaker category.

    Imagine if we said that about any minority group where a small fraction commit heinous acts. Was Obama coddling those who perpetrated violent crimes against Americans when he stated that labeling a group because of the acts of a few is bigoted and racist?

    Yes, Trump should have more forcefully condemned the lawbreakers. I will agree to that. But, until there is transparency with respect to the adjudication of those arrested attributing Trump’s statements to reflect affection for the lawbreakers I can not assert that those were the ones he was referencing in regard to his love for the participants at the rally.

    If Trump’s rhetoric is responsible for getting Ashley killed by Capitol police then all those whose rhetoric vilifies police are culpable for every black life lost across America.

    This is not whataboutism it is about equal treatment for similar behaviors. Ethics requires this

    • Because violence changes the nature of a protest. This is the exact same thing I said when people brought up the “fiery, but mostly peaceful” line: It’s not really a peaceful marriage if you beat your spouse every other Tuesday. It doesn’t really matter what the percentage of violence is.

      It’s important for people to condemn the violence in the strongest terms. It’s important for the peaceful protestors to distance themselves from the rioters. Because if you don’t you all get lumped in together. That’s how this works. Your opponents are going to try to do it, don’t let them. Stand by your principles, both because it’s the right thing to do and because it takes your opponent’s toys away from them.

  8. From what I have seen on social media the intent was to take selfies and grab a few trinkets. I doubt any kidnap attempt was on the menu since who would even pay the ransom? I imagine that a roundup can be successful by scanning E-Bay for and items up for bid. Now when do we start a defund the Capitol Police movement?

    • The business is to set up monthly payments to keep them and release them is a goal isn’t met. As for as I know cat food in bulk is cheap. 😛

  9. Yesterday’s invasion and occupation of the capital should not have happened. Not only was it stupid, and violent, it was counterproductive. There was no goal of anything TO produce, it was just a tantrum. That being said, at least it was more correctly targeted. Over the summer, the state and municipal police forces made judgment calls which resulted (rightly or wrongly) in protests and riots – riots which ended up in small businesses and local shops being broken into and looted and burned. At least THIS group of “mostly peaceful protestors” did damage to and targeted their ire on the people actually causing the distress. No justification at all, but a small ray of sunshine.

    • I think this was partly planned and then masterfully exploited by the establishment. Antifas were also bussed in and some have already been identified as known domestic terrorists. It was a 4D chess move, just not by Trump.

  10. 4) While it was not a “coup” in any remotely successful way, I’m not sure one can say it wasn’t an “attempted coup”.

    If those idiots really set out to intimidate the Congress into changing the electoral outcome outside of any deliberative constitutional means, how is that not an “attempted coup”?

    Obviously, if these idiots knew full well they would not be successful that might change the answer…but even then a lot of people attempt things knowing there’s a next to 0% chance of success.

    • In my first year in college, a large group of students used to schedule sessions at midnight where they would circle Massachusetts Hall and chant “Up! UP!” It was called “The Group Dedicated to Levitating Mass Hall.”

      Were they really attempting to levitate Mass Hall?

      • Not sure that’s a useful analogy. Massachusetts Hall is an inanimate object. While Congress, an almost inanimate object, is still composed of individual humans which are malleable and react to intimidation. A reasonable assumption for these idiots to make is that after a year of unpunished rioting across dozens of US cities and towns that they could reasonably assume they’d get away with what they were attempting.

        Now, they showed up with those military style zip tie hand cuffs with enough conviction to push through gun fire.

        I’m not sure what they thought they’d accomplish…if it was pure jackassery because society has quietly tolerated increasing levels of jackassery then they were 100% successful.

        From the outside looking at the impossibility of overthrowing the election we can guffaw…but given the mental state of our national discourse right now…I don’t see why they wouldn’t have thought there was a more than remote chance of succeeding in physically reversing an election….or at least encouraging the next attempt.

        Now, they’d be very very stupid people to think they’d actually succeed and having watched alot of people very closely, this seems likely. But being very very stupid doesn’t change the intent in something that has a remote possibility.

        Unlike levitating Massachusetts Hall.

        • but the chances of levitating Mass Hall were exactly the same as the chances of a bunch of angry yahoos overturning the election. Zero. The question is, how stupid do you think the protesters were?

          • The *protestors*? Not stupid at all. They’re exercising their rights as American citizens and the topic they are protesting is 100% rational. Anyone who looks at the 2020 election and doesn’t raise eyebrows at ALL the appearances of malfeasance coupled with the 100% corruptibility of a mail in voting system is a FOOL. And anyone who looks at it, raises eyebrows, and simultaneously doesn’t demand reform is worse than a fool. They’re a good person who idly sits by while evil men advance.

            The *rioters* on the other hand, pretty stupid, but still not without some expectation of success given what they’ve seen of what America now permits it’s young idiots to do and get away with.

            However, they are stupid in the aspect that they did this riot lukewarm. They were neither hot nor cold. If they are going to do what they did, they either needed to do what the leftist trespassers did during Kavanaugh and flood the capital with overwhelming numbers and stage a sit in in all the offices and hallways OR they need to do what the Puerto Ricans did in ’54.

            But they lacked the numbers for option one as the vast majority of the *protestors* did not partake in breaching the Capitol building indicating clearly they were not there for mayhem or “insurrection” or whatever.

            And they lacked the conviction and commitment for option 2 as evidenced by their lack of preparation for greater levels of violence and willingness to “hold” the Capitol building.

  11. From my son’s school today I received three letters — from the Superintendant of Schools, his principal and his school’s two co-coordinators of diversity, equity and inclusion — telling me how outraged and dismayed they were about yesterday’s riots. Needless to say, they sent no such letters about the months of rioting in 2020. Nor do I believe for a single minute that they would have sent any such letters about the months of rioting that would have ensued if Trump had won the election.

  12. The political left and right have played with fire for years in the advocating of political protested of their favorite group. When you play with fire, sooner or later ya get burned. Karma is all over this. They have the political arena they cultivated. Biblical truth, even if they don’t follow the Bible. “You reap what you sow.” They’ve been sowing division and discord for a long time. That it showed up in Congress, at last, is no shock to me. Regardless there would be protesting. If Trump won, I have no doubts, absolutely zero, this would have happened too in some similar way.
    Do I think it’s ok? No. It wasn’t ok when Obama pandered to Ferguson or when Biden whispered platitudes earlier this year or absolutely not when Trump didn’t say anything peaceful since November. The egos of politicians astound me. They’d better check their assumed privilege before it burns them again and our seats of international power with it.

  13. I remember the President warning after George Floyd protesters assembled outside the White House that if they had breached the fence they would have been greeted with the most “vicious dogs and most ominous weapons I have ever seen! That’s when people would have been really badly hurt, at least” he tweeted.

    Those breaking into the Capitol yesterday seem to have got off remarkably lightly. I wonder why. Dogs’ day off?

  14. Here is another perspective, not that I endorse it.

    http://reason.com/volokh/2021/01/06/impeach-and-remove/

    Unfortunately, Donald Trump has been playing with fire ever since he launched his first presidential campaign. Since he lost his bid for reelection, he has only intensified his efforts to subvert American democracy. The events of today are both shocking and yet all-too-foreseeable, and the president bears substantial responsibility for what has transpired. Moreover, he has shown no leadership since the attack on the capitol. His behavior is disgraceful. What is more, it is conduct completely incompatible with the duties and responsibilities of the office of the presidency. The president should resign in disgrace, but of course he will not.

    The House should impeach the president for high crimes and misdemeanors as soon as is practical. The Senate should hold a trial and vote to impeach and remove the president from office as expeditiously as possible. The House should request that the Senate bar the president from holding future federal office, and the Senate should vote to apply that constitutional penalty upon conviction.

    This need not be a lengthy process. The evidence of the president’s actions are clear and available to all. The House does not need an elaborate inquiry. The Senate does not need a lengthy trial. House and Senate members need only determine whether they believe that the president’s words and actions rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors and whether Donald Trump can be safely left to exercise the powers of the presidency until the scheduled inauguration of his elected successor. That does not seem like a difficult question, and the members of Congress should go on record with an answer to it.

  15. Our Australian ex PM Malcolm Turnbull sometimes gets it dead right, re 6 January :

    “This was not an issue of domestic American politics. This was the President of the United States inciting a mob, many of whom were armed, to attack and lay siege to the country’s parliament.”

    “You do not do any service to Australia, or our friends in America, by doing anything other than calling a spade anything other than a spade.”

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