A violent mob seized the US Capitol Building today. They were urged on by President Trump and his sidekick Rudy Giuliani, trafficking in conspiracy theories and loony theories about the constitutional powers of the Vice President. The mob marched up the Mall, pushed through the police, and forced members of Congress to halt their business—the counting of the electoral votes to formally recognize the winner of November’s presidential election. Their aim, as Trump has made clear in rambling speeches and texts since he lost to Biden back in November, was to prevent Congress from recognizing Biden’s victory. To somehow or another keep Trump in power. Their actions may well constitute sedition. Have a look at the statute. And yet they triumphantly walked out of the Capitol Building. No questions asked. Take a moment to think about that: A mob seizes the institution responsible for conducting the essential business of a democratic government in an effort to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power—which it does—and then walks away. As if no harm, no foul. (Take a moment, as well, to compare that to the treatment of BLM protestors this summer. Remember when Lafayette Square was “cleared” of peaceful protestors to make way for Trump’s photo op?)
But this isn’t a game. This is about the core of democratic government. This was, however unsuccessfully, an effort to aid a coup. What if it had been more successful? At this moment, we can’t be sure what Trump will do to hold onto power. And we should not wait to find out. I was skeptical just yesterday, but today’s events make me support an effort to impeach and remove Trump—and to prevent him from holding an office of public trust in the future. Maybe, just maybe, as they were under threat in their offices today, enough Republicans have woken up to the fact that they’ve aided and abetted a president who disdains constitutional democracy. By acting immediately to impeach and remove Trump, they can at least take a step to preserving it now.