Opinion: President Trump’s Siege on Democracy

Trump+Supporters+climb+and+gather+on+the+Capitol+building%0AImage+via+Los+Angeles+Times

Trump Supporters climb and gather on the Capitol building Image via Los Angeles Times

If anyone needed a clear example of how white supremacy and fear-mongering are still evident in America, consider the pro-Trump alt-right protestors who stormed the US Capitol yesterday in an attempt to stop Congress’s debate over certifying the Electoral College vote. This mass breach of the Capitol halted the House and Senate sessions and resulted in a lockdown; it led to attacking the police, looting, breaking into the Senate chamber, and even the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The last time any group has broken into the Capitol was in 1814 by British troops, during the War of 1812. Wednesday’s events should be seen as nothing other than a national disgrace and domestic terrorism.

The protest was organized weeks in advance by right-wing extremist factions Proud Boys and QAnon, fueled by President Trump’s baseless and false claims that this election has been stolen from him. Many Republican Senators were going to take the opportunity in Congress’s hearings to challenge the legitimacy of the results of the election in  swing states like Arizona.

These hearings are the finale of the Presidential election and constitutionally mandated. For centuries, both parties have come together to recognize the President-elect with respect and recognition to the democratic process. Back in 2016, current President-elect Joe Biden stood before Congress and the nation during this final voting process as Vice President and recognized Donald Trump as the next President. Even last night, Vice President Mike Pence recognized that he could not do what President Trump wished by overturning the results in many states as he vowed to follow the constitutional tradition. Yet, the protestors, wielding explosives, metal pipes, and other weapons, ignored this statement from Pence and took it as a betrayal of Pence’s loyalty to Trump and used their delusion to break into the Capitol to intimidate the elected officials.

Pro-Trump protestor poses with a statue inside the Capitol
Image via CNN

President-elect Joe Biden spoke out to call off the protestors before President Trump did. He said words can either inspire or incite. That was addressing how Trump and those closest to him like his son Donald Trump Jr. and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani influenced Trump supporters to take to the streets to protest this transition of power that to them was unfairly stolen from the hands of the President. Giuliani urged the President’s supporters to wage “trial by combat,” and Donald Trump Jr. said “this gathering should send a message” to the congressional Republicans that did nothing to “stop the steal.” Trump’s pre-recorded speech came two hours after the violence began. During this speech, he continued to spread the falsehood that he was the victor of this election by stating, “We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election.” He goes on to say, “We love you. You’re very special. I know how you feel.” He missed this valuable opportunity to proactively take control of the crowds and de-escalate the dangerous threat that these protestors represent. Instead, he chose to make these protestors feel comforted and loved and reminded them that their actions were justified based on the election results.

We cannot help but notice the double standards that exist between these pro-Trump protests and the Black Lives Matter Movement. Black Lives Matter protestors who were outraged over police brutality targeted to Black people over the summer were smeared with the titles “thugs”, “criminals”, and “gangsters” while being attacked in the streets with rubber bullets and tear gas in protests that were created with the goal of being peaceful. When a group of BLM supporters took to the streets of DC, they were met with the National Guard blocking the steps of the Capitol, preventing them from even stepping foot on the steps of the building. Last night, Trump refused to mobilize the National Guard until Vice President Pence stepped in and called for them to arrive at the Capitol. The Black Lives Matter protestors were seen as enemies to America when violence broke out. These same Republicans that condemned this behavior are now actively doing the same, proving their hypocrisy. Trump said to BLM protestors in May, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts”, as he condoned the violent response the police had chosen to use to break up the riots demanding change in the criminal justice system. Yesterday, as the far-right coup looted and broke into the Capitol, stealing the podium of the Speaker of the House and replacing the American flag with a ‘Trump 2020’ flag, Trump told the extremists that he loves them and what they stand for. We cannot help but ask ourselves if these protestors were people of color would they even make it to the Capitol without being shot, injured, or arrested by the police?

This is a blatant and outright attack on the United States Constitution and Donald Trump has an American duty to put a stop to this chaos. It disgraces the name of America and the reputation we have as a nation of honor and dignity. This is a statement on the disillusioned and life-threatening mindset that Donald Trump has established between his supporters and the ‘biased’ media and Democrats. This protest, which was opposing certification of an election despite no evidence of fraud or irregularities, cost four people their lives.

To add to the lack of respect these protestors demonstrated yesterday, a large portion of them are seen without masks to protect themselves or those surrounding them from COVID-19. This did not come as a surprise to many because the lack of masks is a common theme at Trump events due to his refusal to acknowledge the severity of this pandemic. Trump yet again holds the responsibility of misleading his followers and putting American lives at risk. This protest could later be classified as what is known as a “super-spreader” event as more COVID-19 cases get reported in the area.

Trump’s dangerous undermining of the electoral process and inability to condemn his followers has now led the social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to indefinitely ban the President of the United States. This is to ensure that Trump does not choreograph any more dangerous insurrections on American democracy before President-elect Biden’s inauguration on January 20.

Many believe that Trump and the supporters who incited this violent domestic terrorist attack broke the Federal law of seditious conspiracy, which states “If two or more persons … conspire to … by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States … they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.” The protestors’ goal to stop the tallying of votes and disregard the election’s result through violence can be viewed as a conspired event aimed to stop the execution of Constitutional law.

Not only that, many Trump-appointed Cabinet members want to evoke the 25th amendment, which would establish Vice President Pence as the sitting President until Joe Biden is sworn in. They have identified his narrative and rhetoric as dangerous to both American democracy and the Constitution. This violent protest was fueled by his blatantly false claims that have now cost the nation their peace.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., was the first Republican to publicly call for the invocation of the 25th Amendment to remove Trump, according to ABC news. He said, “When pressed to move and denounce the violence he [Trump] barely did so, while of course victimizing himself … all indications are that the president has become unmoored, not just from his duty, or even his health, but from reality itself.” Senate Democratic Leader

Members of Congress hide for shelter as protestors breach the Capitol
Image via Fox23

Chuck Schumer said today, “This President should not hold office one day longer…The quickest and most effective way — it can be done today — to remove this president from office would be for the Vice President to immediately invoke the 25th amendment. If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president.”

We urge all of our peers to educate themselves on the act of terror that went on yesterday. The Capitol is considered a pinnacle of democracy, but also holds within its walls decades of history in the country Trump is trying to dictate control of. While Congress has officially certified the election results to allow Joe Biden’s administration to prepare to take office later this month, the siege on the US Capitol will leave a mark on American history, forever immortalizing President Trump’s blatant ignorance toward the civility required to be a member of the United States of America.