Opinion: It’s Time to Condemn Trump

%22Donald+Trump+Sr.+at+%23FITN+in+Nashua%2C+NH%22+by+Michael+Vadon+is+licensed+under+CC+BY-SA+2.0

“Donald Trump Sr. at #FITN in Nashua, NH” by Michael Vadon is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Elizabeth Alexander

Where were you when you found out about the events at the Capitol? I know exactly where I was: in my bedroom, constantly refreshing Twitter to check for the latest updates. I remember my jaw dropping as more images and videos crept into my timeline. This is insane, I thought to myself. This is embarrassing.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know exactly what I’m referring to; however, I will explain in case you’re unaware. As Congress convened to certify the electoral college vote (and thereby confirm Joe Biden as the next President), thousands of Trump supporters stormed towards the Capitol Building in DC after hearing a speech from the president. Around 2 PM local time, the rioters reached the steps of the building and broke inside, at which point several leaders were promptly evacuated. News crews captured the horror inside: police with their guns drawn in the House chamber, Confederate flags waved inside and out, and rioters breaking windows, stealing items, and sitting with their feet on House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk. Many had weapons in hand. Five people died – 1 shot by police, 1 officer beaten and succumbing to his injuries in the hospital, and 3 of unknown causes.

I’m not going to mince words here: what Trump did was absolutely deplorable. Never, not in the history of the nation, has a President brainwashed a group of his supporters to the extent of a coup attempt. He obstructed democracy by refusing to concede when he lost reelection, and then organized and incited a domestic terrorist attack against people he doesn’t personally agree with. That is absolutely insane. He is not an “American patriot” by any definition of the words.

Another thing I distinctly remember from my Twitter browsing was the sense of pure fear for every politician inside the Capitol. I follow several, and when they each tweeted out saying they were safe, I breathed a sigh of relief. I didn’t want any of them to be hurt, not even the ones I disagree with.

That brings me to my next point: Trump wished death towards Mike Pence on Twitter. Let me reiterate: the Vice President, the man who has stood by Trump’s side for the past four years, disobeyed his wishes once by standing up for democracy, and Trump responds by feeding potentially deadly flames to the exploding fire. The now-deleted tweet, which condemned Pence for not “having the courage for what should have been done”, was sent at 2:24 PM, only minutes after Pence was evacuated from the Senate chamber and far too long after the rioters initially entered.

The worst part is, the rioters (or terrorists, either way works) went as far as to construct a gallows with a noose outside the Capitol, and I think that speaks for itself. They also took Trump’s words and sent enough death threats towards Pence that Twitter had to block the phrases used. Now, I don’t even like or agree with Pence, but being murdered by a bloodthirsty mob is a brutal way to die. The same goes for other members of Congress, such as Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, or even Trump – I disagree with them greatly, but I don’t want them to die because I believe I am a decent human being. How that even crossed Trump’s mind to Tweet is beyond me.

However, despite his attempt to overthrow the incoming government, far too many Republicans continue to stand with him. Luckily, there are many who have jumped off the ship and have ceased their defense of the president, including several city officials in New York (where Trump was a businessman prior to 2016), McConnell, and (seemingly) Pence. 

On the other hand, there are a shocking number who have yet to condemn the violence. This is most evident when you look at the House’s impeachment vote: only 10 of the 211 Republicans in the chamber voted to impeach Trump. This was the most bipartisan impeachment vote in history, but I think the party lines should have blurred further. The results of the trial showed everyone’s true colors, and I have gained some respect for the 10 brave enough to call out the man that has corrupted the Republican party. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the others, and while I would like to say I’m shocked, the main takeaway from the 6th was that you need to be prepared to be disappointed.

I have seen the riots compared (or, rather, contrasted) to the Black Lives Matter protests from the summer, and I heavily disagree with that stance. In both cases, the participants were protesting for something they believed needed changed, but that is where the similarities end. One fought to end racism and the other fought to change a fair election result. One was mostly peaceful (though a few were violent) and the other was always dangerous. And, most worryingly, one involved thousands of arrests of primarily people of color and the other involved less than a hundred arrests of white people. The wide majority of the Capitol rioters got away with it, and I’m hoping that changes in due time.

That basically sums up my thoughts on the siege. I felt embarrassed to be an American on that sorrowful day, and it showed the heartbreakingly evident divisions of our nation. I will likely never forget the implications the 6th brought and I hope we will see change in the future.