On Jan. 6, when Congress convened to officially count the electoral votes and announce President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election, I had a feeling it would be far from ordinary. The fact that there were still Republican elected officials who were adamant about holding on to their crazy belief that the election was stolen from them had me rolling my eyes. I woke up that morning and watched live as the House and the Senate were debating over the objection to the electoral votes in Arizona. That morning, I thought that no matter what they tried to do, Biden and Kamala D. Harris would be announced the next President and Vice-President of the U.S. by the end of the day.
As I got ready for my class, I received news alerts regarding Trump supporters protesting at the steps of the Capitol Building, but it was to be expected, as Trump continues to spread his delirious beliefs to whomever will listen. During class, though, I began receiving alerts that Trump supporters were storming the Capitol. I looked at the notification in disbelief before turning my attention back to the lecture on my laptop screen. Once my class was over, I immediately turned on the television and watched, horrified, as a crowd of Trump supporters swarmed the Capitol Building waving the Confederate flag along with other hateful symbols. At that point, I knew, Trump needed to be removed from office.
This storming of the Capitol was seemingly surprising for many, but, for anyone familiar with the rhetoric of President Trump, it is not a surprise that it has come to this. (Take, for example, tweets made by Arieh Kovler that almost perfectly predicted what would happen on Jan. 6 two weeks prior.) Before this atrocious event happened, Trump made a speech to a crowd of his supporters in Washington D.C., telling them, “we are going to walk down to the Capitol,” to which the crowd cheered loudly, and said, later in his speech, “because you’ll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength.” This kind of rhetoric from Trump, along with weeks of him and his supporters in Congress lying about election fraud beforehand, led to the storming of the Capitol by domestic terrorists claiming to be “American patriots.”
There is nothing patriotic about desecrating the symbol of our nation’s democracy and destroying everything in sight. All it brought was shock and terror throughout our country as the rest of the world watched — our allies in shock and our enemies in glee, some within our own country. It is reported that five people have died from the Capitol riots, one of them being a police officer who succumbed to injuries from the rioters, and another being a veteran shot by police. There is blood dripping from the hands of Trump and his allies in Congress that cannot be washed off. The events on Wednesday only further proved what I and others already knew: Trump needs to be not only removed from office, but impeached immediately.
Trump encourages the crowd to march to the Capitol. Photo Courtesy of Evan Vucci / AP Photo
Already, Democrats from the House are putting together an impeachment resolution, charging Trump for inciting the insurrection at the Capitol. Several Republican elected officials such as Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Illinois Representative Adam Kizinger have also expressed their support in removing Trump from office, while others, such as Republican Representative Don Bacon from Nebraska, worry that this will only further divide the country. However, the disastrous events from Wednesday require swift actions to show that this attack on our country and democracy will not go unpunished. Officials called for Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th amendment, in which the vice president, along with a majority of the Cabinet, can declare the president unfit for office, leading to their removal. It comes as no surprise, though, that Pence does not plan to invoke the 25th amendment, proving himself to be the sheep he has always been throughout Trump’s presidency, with a fleece as white as his hair. If Pence and the members of the Cabinet cannot find the courage to explicitly stand against Trump’s disastrous actions, then it is the duty of Congress to ensure that he is immediately removed from office and will never again gain the chance to run for president.
What Trump did on Wednesday is sedition, and many scholars agree. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, sedition is the “incitement of resistance to or an insurrection against lawful authority.” Trump clearly incited the insurrection on the Capitol with his encouraging remarks of marching to the Capitol. In fact, he has been fanning the flames of fascism throughout his presidency, and it seems to have finally caught fire. He is a danger to the American people and cares for no one but himself. Many lawmakers, staff, and journalists were trapped inside the Capitol Building, fearing for their lives. Lawmakers pleaded with Trump to condemn the mob and have them go home. Only after President-elect Biden called out Trump on national television to denounce these domestic terrorists did Trump finally release a video on social media, where he tells the mob to go home and that “we have to have peace,” but he does not stop there. This man, elected by Americans to be president in 2016, begins to tell the rioters who broke windows to the Capitol and terrorized media reporters, “We love you. You’re very special. . . . I know how you feel.” This man — a man who does not deserve to be called a man — dares to coddle the very people who claim “Blue Lives Matter,” yet murdered an officer. Just last summer, during Black Lives Matter protests, he tweeted “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Hypocrite is the perfect word to describe Trump, among other derogatory terms in the face of such explicit bias.
Furthermore, Trump continued his claim in the video that the election was stolen from him. This claim began the domino effect leading up to this horrific event. He later posted a tweet still crying wolf about the supposed ‘fraudulent’ election, saying, “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. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!” The words ‘love’ and ‘peace’ are there, but the real meaning behind this message is clear as day: “Well done today, my lovely supporters.” He does not condemn the attack on the Capitol Building, still coddling the rioters and further fanning the flames with his unfounded claims and lies. It is clear which side he is on. Trump does not deserve to be another day in office and should even be arrested for inciting such violence. This day could have been avoided if only he got over his pride and conceded the election to President-elect Biden. One of his own supporters would not have had to lose her life due to her own foolishness in listening to and following Trump’s words. An officer would not have died as a result of the injuries he sustained from the very people who were supposedly “pro-cop,” but were really just anti-BLM. Three others who suffered separate medical emergencies that day may still have risen to see the next day.
Even the big tech companies are beginning to understand the danger that is Trump. As of Thursday, Jan. 7, Facebook plans to ban Trump from the media platform and from Instagram at least until Inauguration Day, when his term ends; on Jan. 8, Twitter permanently suspended Trump’s account “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” After four years of using the media platforms to spread hate and disinformation, Trump is finally cut off from using his platforms to further his hateful agenda. How is it that these social media companies finally realize that something needs to be done about Trump, but our own government is still deciding what should be done? The answer is simple: impeach him. He is a threat to national security, despite his futile attempts to seem otherwise.
The day after the tragic event, Trump finally posted a video on Twitter denouncing the attack and acknowledging President-elect Biden’s victory while committing to a smooth transition of power. However, the fact that Trump was reluctant and pushed to do so in the wake of legal actions being considered against him and his refusal to attend the Inauguration shows just how genuine this “concession” actually is. A president is meant to serve and lead the people, but Trump is only serving himself, and the evidence of his disastrous leadership is shown on Wednesday and through the U.S.’s COVID-19 death toll. He was unfit to be president from the start and still is now. If he is truly committed to a smooth transition of power, he would not have been forced to record a concession video and would attend Inauguration Day as a show of unity to the American people and the world. Yet, he isn’t. If he truly cared about our country and its citizens, he would have encouraged his followers to accept the results earlier or, at the very least, protest peacefully (since they seem to be big on that), but he abused the powers of his station.
It is clear as day what happened on Wednesday. A white supremacist attack happened — one caused by Trump. If any other person did this, they would be investigated immediately and charged with sedition. Yet, Trump walks free in the Oval Office and Camp David. The end of his term is in less than two weeks, but what happened should be cause for his immediate removal. The horrific events on Jan. 6 must never happen again, and justice must be served. It is time we close this chapter in American history with the end to Trump’s presidency and open a new one committed to upholding the principles of democracy and holding our government accountable through peaceful protests. This is the United States of America, land of the free and home of the brave. It’s time to start living up to that.
Featured Image: Courtesy of AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin