The majority of Senate Republicans are vigorously preparing to whitewash Donald Trump’s responsibility for the U.S. Capitol breech. Consider it their “Dear John” letter to Blue Lives Matter.
Trump brought on and, thus, could have prevented, the Capitol invasion. Yet, remaining in denial are members of the outer space contingent who blame either antifa or Democrats disguised as Trump supporters. Sadly, such folks seem immune to the sanitizing properties of reality.
The search for actual responsibility may be traced backward to a series of events, each serving as links in a causal chain that was built by Trump.
Based on The Washington Post’s tally, the initial links in that chain were shaped in September and October, when the president, perceiving that he could lose the vote, reiterated at least 57 times that only a rigged election would deny him a second term. If he lost, it would be, “... the most corrupt election in history, by far,” he said, again and again.
From Election Day to Jan. 6, Trump tweeted or repeated at least 122 times that the election had been “rigged” or “stolen” or “fake” or that “votes were dumped.” Each such remark connected to the next, as the chain of his responsibility for the Capitol attack more than doubled its length.
If Trump had instead conceded, no breech of the Capitol would have occurred. The chain of his guilt would have been broken. Instead, it grew longer.
Trump next enticed the mob to Washington, an obvious prerequisite for the attempted coup d’etat. On Dec. 12 he tweeted, “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th.” On Dec. 27 he followed up with, “See you in Washington DC, on January 6th.”
Three days later, he tweeted, “JANUARY SIXTH, SEE YOU IN DC!” And on New Year’s Day, “The BIG Protest Rally in Washington DC will take place at 11:00 A.M. on January 6. Location details to follow. Stop the Steal!” Thus, his responsibility for the coming carnage deepened.
At the rally, which not coincidentally was held on the day that Electoral College votes were delivered to Congress, he further inflamed the crowd that had stepped off the buses already teetering at the precipice of violence.
“If you don’t fight like Hell,” he ranted, “you’re not going to have a country anymore. ... You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. ... We will not take it anymore.”
The glowing, hot steel of the final link in Trump’s chain of responsibility was attached, as he instructed the deluded mob to make tracks for the Capitol.
Had Trump never claimed that the election might be stolen, had he not spent the post-election weeks claiming that it indeed was stolen, had he not urged his supporters to attend the rally, or had he not inflamed them with incendiary rhetoric and then goaded them into marching, the Capitol would not have been invaded.
Nevertheless, at trial, he will deny the purchase, although the bill of sale clearly says that he owns it. To hold Trump guiltless now is to believe he is so thick that he couldn’t have anticipated the mayhem that, link by link, he forged in his chain of guilt.
Most Senate Republicans now disgracefully seek the comfort of an elusive loophole, squirming to convince themselves that Trump can’t be held accountable because he is out of office. Who knew that so many Republican members of the United States Senate would go soft on terrorism?