Opinion: Trump is to blame for inciting violence in the Capitol Wednesday

The repellant and disturbing scenes of pro-Trump protesters storming the US Capitol on Wednesday afternoon were enough to sicken every citizen except for people who still ardently and stubbornly believe that Donald Trump should be president for another four years.

Trump, who has crept steadily from crackpot to madman in recent weeks, was the generating force—the main promoter—of the protest, egging and prodding his backers in a sort of rabid pre-game pep rally Wednesday morning from the White House to protest his now-overly-verified loss to Joe Biden in November.

“We will never concede!” he barked at his cheering fans. “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.”

In his crazed and baseless post-campaign campaign of the last several weeks, the president has thrown body after body under the bus, his latest victim being his vice president, Mike Pence, who rebuffed Trump Wednesday afternoon by attempting to merely fulfill his duty by certifying the Electoral College vote, refusing to take any further part in what’s now no longer a bloodless coup attempt.

Later, thousands crawled up the Capitol steps and began smashing windows and bursting into the Capitol Building waving Trump, Confederate and Gadsen flags and chanting “Stop the Steal!” and eventually worked their way into the Senate chamber.

Earlier, some Republicans were trying to do just that, most notably Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who insisted that yet another study be done on what he believes to have been a flawed, crooked and stolen election. He cited the fact that a large number of people believe that Trump had rightfully won the election as the sole, wobbly reason for a further study. When lame-duck Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (yet another once-faithful follower and abetter who is now dead to Trump) recommended to cease fighting the election, it became rather apparent that this thing was finally nearing an end, save for a few squandered hours from a handful of legislators still hoping to score some last-minute Trump points.

While discussion was still going on about election flaws in Arizona, Pence was suddenly rushed from the room as the insane violence began breaking out outside. Trump abandoned, briefly, his typical bellicose Tweet-braying and urged his followers to support the police and to “stay peaceful!,” a message he repeated several minutes later, though he remained hidden from view somewhere between the Oval Office and the third tee at Mar-a-Lago.

It was a meek tweet coming from the man who caused all of this, from the Election Day whining to the more full-throated war cries of recent days.

The day’s first truly presidential moment came between Trump’s twin tweets when President-Elect Biden came on television to decry the riots and to urge a pull-back and “allow democracy to go forward.”

“The words of a president matters,” Biden said. “At best they can inspire; at worst they can incite.” “Worst” is what Trump does best, as he demonstrated Wednesday morning.

Biden called on Trump to appear on TV to demand an end to the siege, likely recognizing that  Trump is the only person these conspiracy/QAnon fanatics will listen to.

It is not hyperbole to term Wednesday’s actions, from the efforts of a few Republicans to reverse the verified results of the election, to the riots of Trump’s supporters—and the thousand or so who participated in the protest on Wednesday is just a small handful of the total across this country—that Wednesday was one of the saddest and disappointing days of American democracy in memory. You would have to have been alive during the Civil War to recall a more disquieting moment.

The sole bright spot of the day, though it was still a somber and sad one, was Biden’s televised speech urging quiet, calm and conciliation, and it signals a more hopeful and encouraging next four years. Biden laid the day’s violence at Trump’s feet and deservedly so.

Shortly after Biden’s speech, a Trump spokesman said the president would release a taped statement later.

There is no reason to watch it or listen to it, or believe what Trump says. Ever again.

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.
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