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Donald Trump and his enablers are to blame for the mob that stormed the Capitol in Washington. The end of his time in power can't come soon enough, writes Ines Pohl.
Donald Trump’s attacks on the democratic system have reached their peak. His statements early on Wednesday perpetuating the outlandish conspiracies that the election he lost two months ago was stolen from him led his loyal supporters to attempt a coup.
There is no doubt that Trump is fully responsible and has sent his loyal mob of white nationalists, conspiracy theorists, and online vigilantes to run wild in the nation’s capital.
The United States for generations has been the beacon of hope when it comes to ensuring democracy and completing the transition of power — but Trump has made it clear to the rest of the world that the US system, too, is fragile.
It's crucial to note that this is problem wasn't just created by Trump and his bombastic style. The enablers around him, who have consistently brushed off his rhetoric as hyperbole and online bluster, are to blame as well. That includes the twelve senators and more than one hundred House representatives who have agreed that the election in November was illegitimate (or at least questioned the results). They did nothing to stop the flow of misinformation and chaos.
Republicans have watched a borderline autocrat control their party and have been complicit in letting him get away with forming a government that only works for him and not for the people.
While it looked like democracy was burning at the US Capitol, President Trump was sitting inside the Oval Office, watching the destruction he initiated on TV. It took him hours before he made a statement, kindly asking his mob to be "peaceful." Trump has made little effort to control the situation by telling them that he in fact "loves" them and believes that they are "special." And this about a mob with an appalling disregard for democracy.
With only days away from the transition, it looks like Trump plans to burn his party down, and the foundations of democracy along with it. He has begun to lash out at some of his most loyal defenders, like Vice President Mike Pence. Trump has made it clear that the only good Republican is one that defends him to the end. This type of language has made its way through conservative media and social media, and it has led to the unraveling we saw in Washington on Wednesday. Trump clearly is not concerned about the republic that he is in charge of and would rather see it fall apart, if he can't be its leader.
The Capitol Police in charge of protecting both chambers of Congress, its members, and the hundreds of workers inside the building, failed in their duty. Rioters mostly went unchecked, while they stormed the Senate floor, broke windows, and even entered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office. They were allowed to stand on the Capitol steps mostly without incident.
Earlier in the year when Black Lives Matters protesters marched throughout the city of Washington they were met with tear gas, batons, and an indignant president calling for peaceful protesters to be locked up for exercising their first amendment right. There is a clear double standard: If you are white and support Trump, you are a patriot. If not, you're a dangerous anarchist who needs to be tear gassed and locked up.
We're seeing the final act of a president who has time and time again incited violence among people who see him as their leader. The transition from the Trump to the Biden administration cannot come soon enough.