At 6:01 p.m., after the Capitol Police had finally cleared the U.S. Capitol of hundreds of armed insurrectionists, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Proud Boy fascists, extremist militia gangs and fellow-rioters donning MAGA hats, shouldering Confederate battle flags, and sporting outerwear emblazoned with the words Camp Auschwitz and the acronym for “Six Million Jews Were Not Enough,” the sitting President of the United States tapped his last tweet of the day.
“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,” the tweet began. He then nudged them to “Go home with love & in peace,” before capping off the tweet with an exhortation to those “great patriots” to “Remember this Day forever!”
Instead of accepting even a morsel of responsibility for inciting the violent insurrection, denouncing those who waged it, or expressing even a hint of compassion for the victims, the sitting President of the United States doubled-down with his big lie, laying the blame for it on those whom he falsely claimed stole the election, and thereby explaining away, if not justifying, the violent thuggery that came within a hairs breadth of devolving into a bloody massacre and leaving our temple of democracy in ruins.
Putting aside his inescapable responsibility for inciting the insurrection, his failure to instantly denounce it as he watched it unfold, and his failure to immediately deploy the United States Capitol Guard he commands and whose motto is “Capitol Guardians,” for a sitting President of the United States to exhort armed insurrectionists and rioters to proudly remember one of the darkest days in the history of the American Republic is beyond grotesque. It is both seditious and treasonous.
Shame on any Senate juror who hides behind specious legal defenses that deny reality and defy the intent of the Founding Fathers, and refuses to render a verdict that prohibits Donald Trump from ever holding public office again.
It is long past due for Senators belonging to a Republican party in name only to take a stand for the American Republic.
Failure to do so would leave the nation with little assurance that January 6th does not become prologue to even darker days.
Robert Leonard Berkowitz of Guilford is the author of The Long Damn Summer of ’42, 9/11 and the Holocaust, and other essays. They can be found on Medium.com, where the above item was first published on Feb. 7, 2021.