Prior to the impeachment debate and vote, these were my thoughts that I posted on FaceBook. I thought I’d share them here as well.
I think people are making the mistake of being too focused on the particular rally that Trump held on Jan. 6 and that particular speech, and missing the full picture of what happened. While I believe the speech, in its entirety, certainly helped propel the people to march on and attack the U.S. Capitol, it is not the whole story. As I’ve stated before, the incitement is not limited to just the events on January 6. Rather, it was the activity during the previous 2 months that is the crux of the incitement charge.
The very first statement that Trump made immediately following the election was a statement of fact that he won the election and it was being stolen by Biden and the Democrats and the media. It wasn’t that there have been some reports of irregularities that he wanted to look into before conceding, but rather an actual, blatant, outright statement of fact that he won and the election was being stolen. Period.
At the moment that he did that, it set in motion everything that led to the insurrection. It was my stated opinion at the time that he should have been impeached and removed for that very action alone on that very day. We cannot have a President of the United States standing in front of the world saying crap like that as a matter of fact. Period. It was obvious that he was playing with fire and that if he didn’t immediately stop that and be more responsible then it was going to assuredly lead to something like what happened on Jan. 6. There is no doubt about that.
There is nothing wrong with a candidate questioning the results in a close election like this (even though, in the end, it really wasn’t even that close). There are always irregularities to investigate and there is always some level of illegal voting and fraud in every election. That is given. The problem is, whether it is really at a level that would change the outcome.
It wasn’t. And that was clear very early on.
But he continued.
And then his minions joined in. The talking heads that have very specific interests in supporting him (financially and influentially), the officeholders that want his and his supporters’ love began to echo his lies. And the frenzy built, day after day. I specifically recall discussing it with someone on November 10, and I stated that he is playing with fire and that it was not going to end well. What was happening was very clear. And it continued day after day.
For two months, the President lied to his supporters, over, and over, and over. He convinced them that the Democrats and the media stole the election, and therefore, are stealing their country (because, in essence, that is exactly what “stealing an election” means).
It was relentless, it was intentional, and it was blatant.
Day after day after day.
And he had help doing that from a large percentage of the talking heads on the right, and even from a large percentage of actual Republican officeholders (most who knew damn well it was all a lie and were going along because their ambitions told them to do whatever it takes to be the heir to Trump’s supporters, others who are just as duped as the average voter who believed it).
It was clear from the very beginning what happened with the election and what Trump’s strategy was going to be to claim it was stolen. He began that strategy months prior to the election, setting the stage. Actually, years prior. If you were paying attention to the Republican primaries in 2016, you will know that Trump did the same exact thing with every state primary that he lost. He claimed it was rigged, that his opponent cheated (usually Sen. Cruz, ironically enough), and that there was a lot of fraud. Every time he lost. That’s a fact, you can look it up.
He has been forecasting this strategy for years. People close to him have been warning us about it for years. Some of us have been taking it seriously for years, only to be dismissed and ridiculed.
Again, there would have been nothing wrong with him, or any candidate, to postpone conceding until reports of irregularities were investigated and cleared up and stating so, in a responsible manner, would have been fine.
But here is what happened:
- Local election officials, both Democrat and Republican, told us that the election was clean. But Trump continued.
- State election official, both Democrat and Republican, told us the election was clean. But Trump continued.
- State Secretaries of State, both Democrat and Republican (and strong Trump supporters), told us the election was clean. But Trump continued.
- Governors, both Democrat and Republican (and some who were strong Trump supporters), told us the election was clean. But Trump continued.
- The head of the elections integrity part of Homeland Security told us that the election was clean (in fact, told us it was the most secure ever). He was removed for that. But Trump continued.
- Multiple recounts in multiple states confirmed the results, over and over and told us the election was clean. But Trump continued.
- The FBI told us it was clean. But Trump continued.
- All U.S. Attorneys around the country from the DOJ told us it was clean. But Trump continued.
- Trump’s most loyal (and most willing to lie for him, in my opinion) AG Barr, told us it was clean. But Trump continued.
- Many of Trump’s Cabinet Officials told us it was clean and resigned over his actions. But Trump continued.
- Many other administration personnel, after having been loyal to him for 4 years, also resigned over his actions and told us he was lying about it. But Trump continued.
- Many Republican officeholders spoke out against what he was doing, many of them having been very loyal Trump supporters. They told us it was clean. But Trump continued.
- Trump went to court to challenge various aspects of the election in various states over 60 times. Except for one mundane, meaningless issue in PA, he was soundly repudiated in every instance. This was by local and state judges, including many state supreme courts and federal district courts, including many judges who Trump appointed. They all told us that the election was clean. But Trump continued.
- The U.S. Supreme Court (which is now decidedly conservative due to Trump’s three appointments) also weighed in and batted him down. But Trump continued.
- Every one of the claims that Trump made about the election was investigated and proven to be unfounded. Every single one. Not just by the media and the Democrats, but by Republicans and Trump supporters across the board at every level. But Trump continued.
Yet, people continued to believe him and his minions. He had them convinced that the entire American system of government was part of stealing their country from them.
Where, exactly, do you think that would lead?
As I’ve stated before, if I really believed in my heart of hearts that the entire government (local, state, federal, Republican and Democrat) was part of some grand conspiracy to steal our election and our country, I would be right there alongside those who were “not gonna stand for it anymore”.
But at what point do we need to say enough is enough?
At what point do we need to recognize that’s crazy?
At what point do we have to realize who and what Trump is and what he is doing?
Now, I am not one who will demonize all Trump voters. I think there is a wide variety of reasons for those who voted for him. I vehemently and outspokenly disagree with those reasons, obviously, but I do not demonize all. I think there a lot of considerations and many levels to who Trump supporters are. They are not all seditious insurrectionists like the ones who attacked the Capitol. And I don’t even think that all of them who were in DC on Jan. 6 were either. They are not all racists. They are not all fascists. They are not all idiots. I have many friends and family who I love and respect, and who I know are very good people, who voted for Trump. I do not demonize them all. I do think they are mistaken in their thinking on all of this, but I know they are good people, who love their family, love their community, love their country and have good in their hearts.
However, the ones that were in DC on Jan 6 were, in my opinion, the actual so-called “Trump Cult”. These were the people that were the very most invested in his lies. These are the people that believed in them so much that they actually took the time and expense to travel from all over the country to DC to “make a stand”, to “take back their country”, to “be strong”, to “not take it anymore”, to “stop the steal”. And Trump certainly knew that.
This is exactly what Trump had been ginning them up for during the previous two months (and really during the previous 4 years). He put targets on Democrats, on Republicans who didn’t support him, on Republicans who supported him on everything but not this, on his VP, on the media (“enemy of the people”). On anyone that did not 100% support him no matter what he said or did.
The result, to those of us who were paying attention, was not a surprise. We expected this. Exactly this? No, but “this”, nonetheless.
He incited this insurrection, as clear as anything we can be clear about. He has been doing it for years, but very pointedly and imminently for months, and it resulted in the attack on the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress while they were performing their constitutionally mandated duties…and multiple people died.
If there is any time a President should be impeached and removed, it is now, regardless of how much time he has left in office. This simply cannot be left unaccounted for. Not if we really care about the rule of law, and what’s right, and the survival of our republic.
And still, Trump continues…