Whatever you want to call the violent assault in Washington on Jan. 6 – a mob action, a siege, a coup attempt, a riot, domestic terrorism, an insurrection – the fault clearly lies with the president. Donald Trump called for it, and when it happened – “an act of violent sedition aided and abetted by a lawless, immoral and terrifying president,” according to New York Times columnist Bret Stephens – he praised it. Joe Biden was correct to use the same language, saying the assault “borders on sedition.”

What may come of Trump’s last desperate play is hard to say. Various people, from corporate executives and conservative media to public officials, have called for his removal, whether by impeachment, invocation of the 25th Amendment, resignation or arrest.

Certainly, Trump deserves immediate removal, before he does any more damage. He’s a traitor, as I’ve written several times before. Even some of his most ardent supporters seem to have realized the threat Trump posed to constitutional order. They made a decision, along with the Democratic leadership, to call out the National Guard without consulting the president. The decision hasn’t received the attention it deserves.

Here is the statement announcing the decision, issued by Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller: “Chairman (of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark) Milley and I just spoke separately with the Vice President and with Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Senator Schumer and Representative Hoyer about the situation at the U.S. Capitol. We have fully activated the D.C. National Guard to assist federal and local law enforcement as they work to peacefully address the situation. We are prepared to provide additional support as necessary and appropriate as requested by local authorities. Our people are sworn to defend the constitution and our democratic form of government and they will act accordingly.”

Other officials were reportedly involved – just about all the stakeholders except the commander in chief!

One wonders where Trump was when the statement was drafted, and whether or not he was even aware he was being bypassed. No doubt Trump was deliberately excluded knowing he would have opposed bringing in the Guard to crush his “patriotic” supporters.

Also, there was a strong desire, especially in the Pentagon, to avoid using the regular military, which helps explain why it took anywhere from 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours before the Guard was deployed. (Republican Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland said the next day that he immediately authorized his state’s national guard to go to Washington, but was denied permission by Chris Miller – and only got permission hours later from the secretary of the army.)

In a phrase, the chain of command dissolved.

It wasn’t exactly the 25th Amendment or removal from office, but the effect was the same: Trump officially became acting president. He may manage to hang on until Jan. 20, but as John Kelly, Trump’s former chief of staff, said on CNN, no one will now take illegal orders from Trump.

The immediate consequences of the mob attack are clear: Trump’s last gasp to disrupt the election has failed; Trump himself has lost all credibility as a national leader; and the Forever Trumpers have been forced to a shameful retreat.

But the lasting effects are concerning: the ease with which a right-wing mob penetrated the Capitol and forced Congress members into hiding; the late arrival of security forces, in sharp contrast with the display of overwhelming force when the BLM protests shook Washington last June (remember Trump said: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts”); the vindictive and disruptive effort of 121 House representatives and six Senators to deny Joe Biden’s victory; and the images, circulating worldwide, of the US Capitol under siege from half-crazed Trumpites.

Let’s recall that until Jan. 6, our worst fears had failed to materialize:

• That Trump’s appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court would enable him to win an election he had lost;

• That Trump would be able to call upon national guard units or the military to keep in power;

• That the departments of justice and homeland security would mobilize to support him;

• That Trump would declare martial law;

• That Trump could count on states’ electors to overturn the popular vote;

• That Trump’s legal teams would win in state courts;

• That the US Postal Service would be able to prevent millions of people from receiving ballots;

• That Trump would simply refuse to leave the White House.

Back then, we thought the worst had passed, thanks to the “eternal vigilance” Thomas Jefferson spoke of – the integrity of those who manage and operate the electoral machinery, the grassroots organizations that stood watch, and the tens of millions of people who cast their ballots despite intimidation and amidst constant official lying.

In fact, democracy won on Nov. 3, but not by much. All those Republicans who kept faith with Trump as he denied Biden’s victory; all those Republican members of Congress and Trump’s cabinet who dared not criticize him before Jan. 6, when they suddenly found their spine; and all those people who not only rallied to Trump’s appeals but threatened public officials who dared contradict him – they were and are still out there. Eternal vigilance may not be enough next time.

In short, the shared myth of American exceptionalism died on Jan. 6, 2021. Americans who thought, “It can’t happen here,” have now seen it happen – not just a president’s support of an insurrectionary riot, but his consistent abetment of violence and disruption for his personal benefit.

For four years a Republican majority has tolerated this man’s undermining of democracy and embrace of dictators whose absolute power he envies. He ranted and raved, humiliated and cowed, lied endlessly, reveling in his immunity and media attention.

Only now are there signs of willingness to remove so dangerous a man, and only now is he being barred from some social media – for a while. It might be too little, too late to repair Trump’s “American carnage.”

Democrats will shortly have complete political control and a decent interval in which to get something done. The Biden team will have to deliver on the pandemic, the economy, global warming and much else against formidable odds that are made worse by the far right’s anticipated sabotage.

Expect it to be far worse than anything Bill Clinton or Barack Obama experienced. Progressives face a serious challenge: push their agenda too hard and give fodder to the Trumpites; refrain from pushing hard and wind up with weak reforms or nothing at all. Biden will have to be pressed to abandon dreams of bipartisan cooperation when the stakes are high.

On many issues, starting with climate change and environmental protection, he must be prepared to use his Congressional majorities like a hammer as well as act by executive authority, just like all his predecessors. So be it; the public interest demands it, and Republicans will either support it or be pushed aside. One never knows when such an opportune moment will come again.

Mel Gurtov, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Portland State University and blogs at In the Human Interest.

(20) comments

mpjeep

Trump is my president and I'm proud to have supported him on both his runs for president. He is the only man, since Reagan, to truly care about American.

Trump went a long way toward Making America Great Again. The uncouth Republican politicians that abandoned him disgust me.

Unfortunately, outsiders are not welcome in the political swamp of DC. As we all know, career politicians are more ruthless than used car salespeople.

Remember in 2011 when thousands of Democrats rushed on the Wisconsin Capitol building and occupied it for two weeks? We were told, "This is what democracy looks like."

Remember in 2018 during the Kavanaugh hearings when a mob of Democrats stormed the U.S. Supreme Court building in D.C. and pounded their fists in rage on the doors. We were told, "It's understandable."

Remember this summer's riots in major cities across the country when groups of Democrats marched in the streets, set buildings on fire and looted businesses? We were told, "These are mostly peaceful protests."

Remember when Democrats seized part of downtown Seattle, declaring it an autonomous zone? Remember the destruction? We were told, "It's a block party atmosphere."

Remember the violence during the Occupy Wall Street violence of 2011 that spread across the country?

Remember when a crazed mob gathered after the Republican National Convention and attacked Rand Paul, a U.S. senator? We were told "This is the only way oppressed people can be heard."

I condemn violent protests every time they've been reported. I condemn the actions of those who stormed the Capitol. But I refuse to condemn thousands of peaceful protesters because a few chose to break the law.

I take what has been done to my president as a personal insult. Folks are intent on destroying what Trump has accomplished and to destroy him as a man.

He served with honor and I will not forget what Republicans and Democrats did to our president, because what they did to him, they did to us.

drewski

Poor guy,, Not a lobster.

drewski

But I refuse to condemn thousands of peaceful protesters because a few chose to break the law.

Perhaps you might review your many many comments about blm?

David Collins

You are commenting to a brick wall mp .

noitall

Committed to the Rule of Law and due process for all including Trump.

JusticeForAll

The Trump fan club operate under delusion and collusion. Trump is one of the most disgusting, self serving humans on this planet. And if that is who you chose to support, by all means, do it. Science proves that phenomenon and you guys are evidence.

noitall

How do you really feel?

noitall

Science proves nothing. The scientific method always finds the truth. Leave science out of this mud fight. ..... The Rule of Law has been lost. The basic right to due process is gone. Good luck and good night

(Edited by staff.)

David Collins

In about 6 to 9 months from now , justice , remember what you posted . I just bookmarked it and we will revisit for an update . The devil you think you know and the one you have not a clue about .

JusticeForAll

Looking forward to it.

dc

Some do & some talk about it. ISIS knows.

noitall

"Mel Gurtov, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Portland State University and blogs at In the Human Interest".

Who is this dude and why does this paper support Portland State? My answer - Socialism is absolutely great but always underfunded. Anarchy is better And finally Mel is a bad guy because Mel has a Russian name so what more proof do you need?

noitall

New chapter?? INTIFA hold the record

JohnnyR

mpjeep, just a message board tip, but writing huge posts constantly tends to keep folks from reading what you have to say. Might be better if you summarize the most basic point you're trying to say so people don't just skim over your message. That's why Twitter has been so successful, reading these boards is usually just at leisure where people don't want read a book of someone else's opinion.

noitall

Thanks Johnny. Who is Twitter?

mpjeep

Thanks for the tip, johnny.

Twitter and Facebook are pretty much Chat Rooms. This site is not a chat room of one liners back and forth. Feel free to start a chat room and I can send you a link on how to do that, if you’d like.

Yes, some read for leisure and some write for leisure. Always feel free to skip over any posts by mpjeep. You really don’t want to read/hear someone’s views other than yours anyway.

Have a great day, my friend.

[smile]

noitall

Iron words

dc

Great tip jeep!

JohnnyR

It's true, I only like my opinion.

noitall

Trump lost Arizona, Wisconsin, and Georgia by a total of 43,000 votes There were 1,500,000 voters in these three states that did not even vote. The powers that be (Dems and Repubs) got what they wanted. Had these results been audited correctly the electoral college would have been a tie and the House would decide. The Republicans did not loose. The Republicans got exactly what they wanted. We qare now 23 trill in debt and when the frd reserve cannot print enough paper money to cover the intgerest it is all over.

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