Is this the moment when the GOP will stand up to Trump?
Armstrong Williams | 1/14/2021, midnight
I saw with my own eyes the breakdown of our society and our democracy. It was sickening, outrageous and 100% unacceptable, illegal, immoral and unpatriotic. And it will be the moment that defines the Trump presidency and finally spurred the Republican Party to stand up to him.
The Capitol building is the physical representation of our republic. It was defaced, degraded and disgraced by a mob of thugs who used physical force to overrun law enforcement and attempt to use political terrorism to thwart the democratic process. It cannot and must not stand.
As a result of this unprecedented moment, social media companies, Twitter and Facebook including their app Instagram have removed President Trump from their platforms citing his language as inciting the incident at the Capitol.
President Trump condemned the violence in a video on his now suspended Twitter account, but that hasn’t stopped companies from ceasing all business with Trump. The PGA has stated they will no longer play at any Trump golf courses indefinitely and it’s possible more companies may soon follow suit.
President Trump has to stop making false claims that the election was “stolen” or “rigged.” No credible evidence has been presented showing widespread fraud, and the fact that so many millions of people have bought into that fantasy is astounding.
Many have supported the president during his term and celebrated his accomplishments. But his actions Jan. 6 and since the election concluded are simply unacceptable.
Threatening the vice president in remarks before those in attendance at a rally in Washington were beyond the pale. There was absolutely no Constitutional basis for Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the will of the people and somehow reverse the election from the floor of the Senate on Jan. 6. All 50 states have now certified the election. It is finally over and Joe Biden will be our next commander-in-chief.
To put the onus on the vice president was misguided. And the rhetoric at his event in the hours leading up to the insurrection was dangerous and the events of Jan. 6 proved that. “Let’s have trial by combat,” said Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
“These guys better fight for Trump,” said his son Eric from the podium. “If you are the zero and not the hero then we will be coming for you,” pledging to run primary opponents against Republicans not willing to advocate for overturning the election results.
That type of language threw gasoline on a fire that President Trump has been stoking since the election. He has done it repeatedly by denying the legitimacy of the vote and by refusing to concede.
And incredibly, in the moments after violence erupted on Capitol Hill, the president failed to make any attempt at unifying the country or denouncing the protesters unequivocally. Instead, he chose to repeat falsehoods and create an “us vs. them” dynamic by saying he sympathized with the marauders and that the election was stolen and he won in a “landslide” victory.
Words matter. And the words of the president matter the most of any person on the planet. But the words of the president have wounded us as a nation and harm our image overseas.
The Republican Party has been willing to give President Trump a wide berth, refusing to be openly critical of him. Only a handful of Republican elected officials have been willing to openly break with him publicly. Will Jan. 6 prove to be the moment when the GOP drew a clear line to separate itself from the president?
Only time will tell. But my heart breaks for this country. What I witnessed Jan. 6 firsthand was astonishing. Capitol police officers fleeing from angry mobs inside the Capitol. Fire extinguishers being yanked and used as weapons against them. Other officers being overrun by violent protestors inside the Capitol as tear gas hung in the air and blows were exchanged.
Guns being drawn inside the Capitol and on the floor of the House as protestors attempted to enter the locked doors of the chamber will define January 6, 2021. Images of haughty invaders standing at the speaker’s podium and with their feet on the desks of legislators forced to flee for their lives and huddle in a secure area.
A woman was shot dead, a capitol hill police office died of wounds from the protesters, and another officer committed suicide. Blood was spilled in the capital of our nation—inside the very buildings where we expect our elected officials to debate with words and not violence.
President Trump should not be expressing his love for those who besmirched our country. He is supposed to be conducting himself as the president of all Americans, and not just those who adore him. He finally after much urging condemned the tragic events of Jan. 6.
Now is the time to put the interests of our nation and its citizens first. An end to the divisive rhetoric is what is needed by President Trump.
The Republican Party should give a full-throated condemnation of the unacceptable actions, and it should call upon the president to ensure a peaceful transfer of power.
I pray that the events of Jan. 6 may be the first step in changing the tone of debate in this country. We are our brother’s keepers—and not enemies. As President Lincoln correctly said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
And we as Americans must stand together.