David Williams, Silver Spring
The Jan. 12 front-page article “State capitals beef up security as FBI warns of armed weekend protest” was about fear around possible violence by Trump supporters in the next week and around the inauguration. Why have we not heard all Republicans call on the right-wing extremists not to come to Washington, to put down their guns, to support the next president, Joe Biden? Are they such cowards that they choose sedition over democracy? Are they so desperate to hold on to their seats in Congress that they put their own reelection above country?
Bill Mims, Vienna
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) warned that moves to impeach or remove President Trump will only make things worse [“Riot elevates long-festering Republican power struggle,” news, Jan. 12]. However, I think a full-throated Republican vote to convict on impeachment might actually help bring the country together. It is true that such a vote will not affect those who launched an assault on the Capitol last week and may try to do so again. However, it might serve finally to settle down those disaffected Republican voters who until now have been continually told that the election was stolen.
By voting in numbers to convict and essentially rejecting that lie, Republicans would be sending a clear message that they repudiate the words and behavior of Mr. Trump. There is power in numbers.
Robinwyn Lewis, Rockville
After last week’s most unsettling events, finally there is some initiative to hold President Trump accountable. Most of the focus seems to be on the speech he gave that day. This focus is misplaced.
The events of Jan. 6 began the moment Mr. Trump began talking about fraud and a stolen election. Every time he characterized those who didn’t agree with him as thieves and cheats, he created enemies of fellow Americans. Over many months, he fanned the flames with his rhetoric. The Jan. 6 speech was just the last incendiary bit thrown on the already raging fire. He should be removed from office not because of that speech but because he consistently and constantly sought to undermine our democratic governmental institutions and processes.
The responsibility is not his alone. Those members of Congress who joined him in vilifying fellow Americans and fanning the flames should likewise be removed from office. I hope there will be some way to hold them accountable. They — just as much as those who broke windows, bashed in doors and attacked those they found in the Capitol — caused this.
There is now a large and angry body of the American public convinced that our elections are compromised and that the election was stolen. America’s faith in America and its foundations has been shaken. This is a tragedy. America has been grievously misled by its leaders.
Susan Wolf, Mitchellville
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Jan. 12 op-ed, “America, we need to do some soul-searching,” was a persuasive argument for how true her campaign statement was when she said President Trump was unfit for office. Let us remember her statement in June 2016: “He is not just unprepared. He is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility.”
I commend Ms. Clinton for not shouting, “I told you so!” She stayed focused on the country and our path to restoring a democracy for all, not just for the white supremacists. Yes, those in authority — and many voters — lack imagination; they can’t conceive of what seems like a logical conclusion to fanaticism. But they also lack empathy. We need to look for additional root causes of how a fringe element has gotten such broad appeal. Elected officials on all levels, from federal, state and local governments, must listen (with empathy) to the public’s grievances and engage the community in finding resolutions to issues that stand in the way of our moving forward to a social and economic future that works for all.
Diane Fuchs, Rockville
As a special educator with more than 30 years of experience, I learned that punishment is not an effective tool for promoting long-term behavioral change, so I was not an advocate of punishment for punishment’s sake.
But I also remained aware that there are times when individuals who cause harm to others need to experience consequences for their behavior. Among several reasons for this is the need for those who have been harmed to understand that they will be protected, that they are safe and supported.
The American people and our democracy have been harmed by the actions of President Trump. For true healing to begin in this nation, the people harmed need to know that they and our democracy will be protected from terrorism, from tyranny, from treasonous acts — not only by this man but also by those in the future who may try to emulate him.
There need to be consequences for Mr. Trump’s actions, and these need to be serious, not just slaps on the wrist. Those who abetted him in his attempted coup need also to experience the consequences of their complicity. That is the path to healing and reconciliation.
W. Luther Jett, Washington Grove
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said President Trump “touched the hot stove,” implying that he learned a lesson and will not do it again [“No, Trump hasn’t learned,” Catherine Rampell, op-ed, Jan. 12]. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she thought Mr. Trump learned a lesson last year.
Do these senators remember that Mr. Trump was already impeached and his recent behavior this year required a second impeachment? Did Mr. Blunt and Ms. Collins learn a lesson?
Marilyn H. Paul, Washington
President Trump deserves a fair hearing, not a lynch mob. The Democrats and some Republicans, as well as most of the country, have had it with Mr. Trump’s conduct, including me. Nevertheless, everyone deserves a fair deliberation in this country before sentencing. And that includes Mr. Trump.
Paul Schoenbaum, Richmond