By Eliza Fisher ‘23, Assistant Features Editor
On the morning of the now infamous Wednesday January 6th, Vice President Mike Pence reiterated to President Donald Trump his refusal to overturn Biden’s victory at the joint session of Congress to verify the election result. Trump chided Pence in a tweet now hidden by Twitter, stating, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!” But this was just a prequel to the horrific events that resulted from Trump’s incessant attempts to reverse the outcome of the 2020 election.
That same morning, Trump held a rally at the Ellipse in Washington D.C. and instructed his supporters to gather and head toward the Capitol to protest the “stolen election.” Some sound bites from his speech include, “You have to show strength, and you have to be strong,” “Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore, and that is what this is all about. And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal. …” “We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Trump assured his supporters that he would accompany them in their protest toward Capitol Hill, yet instead hosted a watch party in the White House with family members, including Donald Trump Jr. and his wife Kimberly Guilfoyle, who were both seen smiling and dancing cheerfully as they watched protestors march toward the Capitol on a screen while listening to Laura Branigan’s “Gloria.” It’s almost as if Trump knew that events would escalate and felt it necessary to keep his distance from the protest.
Once rioters made it into the Capitol, Trump delayed sending out the National Guard, although he was quite quick to do so during the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests. Eventually, after White House attorney Pat Cipollone’s interference, the National Guard was sent out Wednesday night. And of course, we all know of Trump’s concerning tweeted video statement directed at the rioters. Important phrases include “I know your pain. I know your hurt… So go home, we love you, you’re very special… I know how you feel, but go home, and go home in peace.” Trump’s failure to condemn the rioters bears some fascinating similarities to his failure to denounce white supremacy after the Charlottesville attack in 2017 and during the presidential debate in September. It may not be a coincidence that the Proud Boys whom he instructed to “stand back and stand by” were active members of the riot.
It is impossible to deny that President Donald Trump is responsible for the deadly insurrection at the Capitol. Because of his promotions of hatred and discrimination for the past four years, this group gathered to commit domestic terrorism. Trump told the crowd to go to the Capitol, and the fact that he didn’t join them displays his expectation of a violent outcome. Finally, his appalling video statement exhibits his sympathy toward and association with the domestic terrorists who stormed the Capitol on January 6th.
We must hold Trump accountable. Regardless of whether his term is nearing a close, it is crucial to rebuke him. While unclear if Pence and the Cabinet will invoke the 25th amendment, it is essential to impeach (for the second time) and convict Trump. This impeachment would ensure that Trump could never be President of the United States again. It’s time to comply with the rule of law and preserve our American democracy.