The Apotheosis of Washington, visible through the oculus of the United States Capitol dome. ( photo via dcarlson54 under the creative commons license)
The Apotheosis of Washington, visible through the oculus of the United States Capitol dome.

photo via dcarlson54 under the creative commons license

Four years of fuel, twelve hours of fire

January 7, 2021

“That will never happen with me. I don’t know if I’ll do the fighting myself or if other people will. But that was a disgrace… I felt badly for him, but it showed that he’s weak.”

Donald Trump, August 11, 2015, referring to an incident in which presidential candidate Bernie Sanders allowed Black Lives Matter protesters to seize the microphone at his campaign rally. 

 

“Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”

 November 22, 2015, referring to a protester who was beaten and choked by several white men for shouting, “Black lives matter!”, at a rally. While being escorted out by security officers, the protester, Mercutio Southall Jr., was repeatedly pushed and shoved by the crowd.

 

“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,”

January 23, 2016, addressing supporters at a rally. A year later, Trump rolled back regulations that would have made it more difficult for people with histories of mental illness to purchase guns. 

 

“If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, OK? Just knock the hell… I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise.”

February 1, 2016, to rally attendees in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

 

“I love the old days, you know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out in a stretcher, folks.”

I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you.”

“They said to me, ‘What do you think of waterboarding?’ I said I think it’s great, but we don’t go far enough. It’s true. We don’t go far enough. We don’t go far enough.”

February 22, 2016, referring to a protester who was escorted out of a rally. Waterboarding has been illegal in the U.S. since 2009.

 

“Get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court. Don’t worry about it.

March 7, 2016, talking about an unnamed protester who interrupted a rally in Warren, Michigan. 

 

“The audience hit back. That’s what we need a little more of.”

March 11, 2016, defending supporters who assaulted an unnamed protester at a rally in Las Vegas, Nevada. Three years later, a 29 year old man was sentenced to four months in jail for repeatedly punching 61 year old protester, Mike Alter, outside a Trump rally in Cincinnati, Ohio. Alter was forced to undergo eye surgery for sustained injuries.

 

“The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people!”

February 17, 2017, “Murder the media” was scratched into a door of the Capitol by rioters January 6, 2021, who later also smashed equipment and punched a photographer. 

 

“When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just seen them thrown in, rough. I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.’ When you guys put their hand over [their head], like, ‘Don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head.’ I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?’”

July 28, 2017, during a speech to law enforcement officers. 986 people were shot and killed by police that year. 

 

“You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.”

August 15, 2017, when asked about neo-Nazis in the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rallies. Heather Heyer, a counter-protester, was killed three days earlier. 

 

“Any guy that can do a body slam is my kind of guy!”

October 18, 2018, referring to Greg Gianforte, the current Governor of Montana, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault against journalist Ben Jacobs. Jacobs had asked Gianforte a question about a GOP health care bill. 

 

“When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

May 29, 2020, in a tweet responding to Black Lives Matter protests. The quote was originally coined by Miami Police Chief Walter Headley in December of 1967, who was known for “shotguns, dogs, and a ‘get tough’ policy.” 994 people were shot and killed by police in 2020. 

 

“All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical left Democrats, which is what they’re doing and stolen by the fake news media. That’s what they’ve done and what they’re doing. We will never give up. We will never concede, it doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.”

January 6, 2021, addressing the crowd hours before they stormed the Capitol. At least five people died during the siege. Ashli Babitt, 35. Benjamin Phillips, 50. Kevin Greeson, 55. Rosanne Boyland, 34. Officer Brian D. Sicknick, 42. As many as 60 Capitol Police officers were injured during the attack. 15 have been hospitalized.

~

In case you hadn’t heard, the Capitol was breached for the first time in over 200 years. Trump supporters/protesters/mobs/insurrectors/domestic terrorists/whatever-you-want-to-call-them attacked guards and police, looted representatives’ offices, and left four dead. At the time of writing this article, 68 have been arrested. 

Hours before the havoc started, Trump spent about 70 minutes addressing the crowds outside the building:  “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave Senators and congressmen and women… because you’ll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong.”

Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, demanded a “trial by combat” within the same hour. These comments came after Vice President Pence told Trump that he would refuse to contest the election results while presiding over the Senate. 

As rioters swarmed the Capitol, flashes of Confederate flags, QAnon shirts, Nazi imagery, and Proud Boys all appeared amidst the MAGA iconography. Pence was whisked away to safety, gas masks donned, and guns drawn in the House chamber. While rioters forced their way into the Senate, Ivanka Trump addressed them as “American patriots” in a now deleted tweet.

If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…. and we will deserve it.”

— Sen. Lindsey Graham, 2016

Just south of the White House, before the violence began, Trump stated that,We will never give up. We will never concede. It will never happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.”

Senator Mitt Romney made a name for himself with his consistent disapproval of Trump. He was the only Republican to vote for his impeachment last January.
(photo via wikimedia under the creative commons license)

Trump conceded less than 24 hours later.

Senators and longtime Trump allies Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham took turns on the Senate floor, after the riot, to condemn Trump and distance themselves from him. McConnell became notorious among Congressional Democrats for his repeated blocking of Senate votes, and Graham for his inconsistency

Senator Graham was one of the strongest opponents of Trump during the 2015 primaries, going so far as to write in third-party candidate Evan McMullin. A year later, he was videotaped calling Biden “as good a man as God ever created… If you can’t admire Joe Biden as a person… you need to do some self-evaluation.” 

Trump called Graham an idiot and doxxed him. Graham called him a jackass. Another year passed and Trump was inaugurated, and the two met in the Oval Office. “I want to apologize to you for a [screwed up] Republican majority. Congress is going to [screw up] your presidency. We have no idea what we’re doing… And you’re the biggest loser in this,” said Graham. 

He began to golf with the president often and spew praise on live television. Most critically, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he helped to confirm three of Trump’s Supreme Court justices.

Just days after the 2020 election, Graham advised that “President Trump should not concede.” But, in classic hypocrite fashion, the South Carolina congressman took to the Senate floor to jump ship last night. 

“Trump and I, we had a hell of a journey. I hate it being this way. Oh my God I hate it… but today all I can say is count me out. Enough is enough. I tried to be helpful.”

Despite key party members’ efforts, six Republican loyalists in the Senate voted to object Arizona’s election results, less than half who originally announced their plans to dispute the election. 

Senate Majority Leader, McConnell found himself in hot water just a week earlier after blocking a Senate vote on a proposed $2,000 COVID-19 relief stimulus checks. (photo via wikimedia under the creative commons license)

 

 Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

Josh Hawley (R-Missouri)

Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi)

John Neely Kennedy (R-Louisiana)

Roger Marshall (R-Kansas)

Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama)

121 representatives objected in the House

The events that occurred on January 6th, 2021 are nothing more than a culmination of consequences from the last four years. Trump has incited and enabled violence from his supporters nearly every step of the way. Even as Congress was in the midst of an invasion, he tweeted out a video calling the election fraudulent, stolen, and telling the crowd, “We love you; you’re very special.” The president stood by his lies to the very end. Trump, his supporters, and his rhetoric will not disappear after Inauguration Day. 

 

“And to all of my wonderful supporters, I know you are disappointed, but I also want you to know that our incredible journey is only just beginning.” 

January 7, 2021, in a pre-recorded message conceding the election. As of Friday, 10:00 am, nine White House staff members have resigned in protest.

 

 

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