Trump’s pledge of order now is as worthless as he is. This presidential transition has already earned the distinction of being the most disorderly and destructive transfer of power in the nation’s history.
And we should have seen it coming.
The turbulence began long before the rabble gathered Wednesday on Pennsylvania Avenue to march on Capitol Hill. Trump had signaled his expectations, inviting his supporters to rally in Washington on Jan. 6. “Be there, will be wild,” he tweeted last month.
But even before the post-election period when Trump’s malevolence went into overdrive, he had spent more than three years thumbing his nose at the laws and touchstones of civility.
His administration treated congressional subpoenas as nuisance letters. He played cat-and-mouse with the investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. He fired inspectors general who got too close to bad government behavior. He pressured foreign officials to hand over dirt that would harm a domestic political rival.
His most successful ploy, launched before he took office, was to shield himself by denigrating the mainstream media as fake news and, over time, eroding its credibility. “Enemies of the people,” he called us.
His messaging appears to have gotten through. The phrase “Murder the media” was etched into a door in the Capitol by the pro-Trump mob, Columbia Journalism Review and others noted.
He has also established himself as the United States’ most dishonest president.
Recall his years-long birther smear campaign about President Barack Obama’s citizenship. “I have people that have been studying it and they cannot believe what they’re finding,” Trump said of Obama’s birth certificate in 2011, claiming that investigators in Hawaii were unearthing evidence to make his case.
Trump on Sept. 16, 2016: “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.”
But nothing comes close to the most despicable act of Trump’s failed presidency — his attempted subversion of a democratic election.
Trump’s monstrous lies about election fraud and his “landslide” victory having been “stolen” formed the basis for the assault on our democracy that his mob on the Mall launched this week.
That same Mall was filled with hundreds of thousands of Black men from across the socioeconomic spectrum on Oct. 16, 1995, under the banner of the Million Man March.
There was no tear gas, gunfire or violence. No broken windows. Then, the Mall was left cleaner than the crowd had found it.
This week, our democracy was all the more violated because most of the vandals who penetrated the Capitol’s halls, offices and chambers are still at large, free to gloat. But for how long? Federal authorities are now on the hunt.
I can’t imagine that Black Lives Matter supporters would have been allowed to get to the facade of that symbol of American democracy, let alone amass on Capitol grounds.
Their presence would have been met with dogs and drawn guns.
There are mixed reports on the overall performance of the U.S. Capitol Police, though it’s clear some were valiant, notably Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who sacrificed his life protecting others besieged in the melee. Reportedly, some officers among the majority-White Capitol Police force were observed standing by while the overwhelmingly White rioters had their way with the building. Social media posts showed an officer taking a selfie with one of the intruders. Another video seemed to show officers opening the security fence to let Trump supporters closer.
What’s that old saying? “If you are White, you’re all right; if you’re brown, stick around; if you’re Black, git back.”
Guess it rubbed off on some Capitol cops.
Undoubtedly, there will be postmortems after Jan. 20 on democracy’s near-death experience at the hands of Trump.
For America’s sake, let Trump’s term of service end now.
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