In the video, Trump’s mob crushes Hodges and other officers against a door, pinning and immobilizing him with a stolen riot shield. They spray bear repellent at the police, they beat Hodges’s head against the door, they violently rip off his gas mask, revealing his bloodied mouth, they taunt him and they take his weapon as a trophy. And through it all, Hodges, unable to move, wails in pain — an excruciating sound interrupted only by the “heave ho” of Trump’s mob stampeding the officers.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), the impeachment manager who forced senators to watch the video, first read from the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Said Swalwell: “You will see how blessed we were that, on that hellish day, we had a peacemaker like Officer Hodges protecting our lives, our staff’s lives, this Capitol and the certification process. May we do all we can in this chamber to make sure that never happens again.”
Trump’s apologists seem willing to excuse just about anything, even though the impeachment managers are laying out in minute detail the damning evidence showing how the former president conceived, organized, fomented and refused to call off the murderous invasion of the Capitol by his supporters. Republican senators seem not to care how close the insurrectionists came to assassinating Vice President Mike Pence (who we now know was hiding in the Capitol the entire time of the attack) and killing or taking hostage senators and members of the House.
But they do not have hearts if they are not moved by the heroism of the Capitol and D.C. police departments, badly outnumbered by Trump’s armed supporters. They do not have souls if they can’t see the evil Trump inflicted on the officers protecting the seat of American government.
As the impeachment managers retold, and showed with newly released security footage, Trump’s terrorists beat police officers with Trump flagpoles, sticks and bullhorns. They dragged them down stairs. They blinded them with bear spray. They gouged their eyes. They tased one officer, triggering a heart attack. The security footage, and the insurrectionists’ own videos, show the savagery. But you can also hear it in the terrified voices on the police radios that day, replayed for senators Wednesday.
“Multiple Capitol injuries! Multiple Capitol injuries!”
“Throwing metal poles at us.”
“Multiple law enforcement injuries. DSO get up here!”
“We need some reinforcements up here.”
“They’re starting to pull the gates down.”
“They’re starting to throw explosives.”
“We’re still taking rocks, bottles.”
“The crowd is using munitions against us.”
“Bear spray in the crowd!”
“All MPD pull back!
“10-33, I repeat, 10-33! We have been flanked and we’ve lost the line!”
10-33 is the police emergency code: Need immediate assistance.
American democracy is sending a 10-33 right now. The impeachment managers, though far from done with their prosecution, have thoroughly documented Trump’s history of instigating violence, his premeditated attempts to overthrow the election, and his mob’s absolute (and accurate) belief that they were doing what he wanted.
The videos, from inside and outside the Capitol, are sickening: MAGA-festooned domestic terrorists, in riot gear, smashing windows and doors, carrying zip ties into the Senate chamber. “Imagine what they could have done with those cuffs,” Swalwell told the senators, whose wrists they were meant for.
The managers showed Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) being saved from the mob by the heroic Officer Eugene Goodman, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) retreating from the mob, Pence and his family scurrying away, lawmakers running from the advancing terrorists.
The managers replayed the terrified whisper on the phone of an aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), barricaded with colleagues in a room, with pounding on the door in the background. They replayed the fatal shooting of a woman who had rallied a mob to pursue fleeing lawmakers, then jumped through a smashed door after them. They played the warnings broadcast in the House chamber: “Be prepared to don your masks. . . . Get down under your chairs.”
One-hundred forty police officers were hurt in Trump’s failed coup. Three have died. Yet even after his brutal injuries, Hodges said, “If it wasn’t my job, I would have done that for free. It was absolutely my pleasure to crush a white-nationalist insurrection, and we’ll do it as many times as it takes.”
If cowardly Senate Republicans can’t bring themselves to punish Trump for what he did to them, maybe they can at least punish him for what he did to Hodges, Goodman, Brian Sicknick and all the other brave officers who saved democracy that day.