Just walked into the Capitol to find literally hundreds of troops napping and lining up in the Congressional Visitor Center— as streets around here are largely blocked.
Many are cuddling their firearms, fatigues over their heads to block light, and riot gear in neat piles. pic.twitter.com/vCHAOGMdfA
— Nathaniel Reed (@ReedReports) January 13, 2021
So this was what Donald Trump wrought at the Capitol this morning shortly before the House was to begin proceedings that will end with the historic second impeachment of a president. Some 10,000 troops will be on hand inauguration day to ensure safety, if not exactly peace.
Reporting about Trump’s encouragement of the riot continues to expand. Reporting on actions by members of Congress also widens the net for people for whom accountability must be demanded. (Here at home, the governor of Arkansas declined last night to offer an opinion on whether Arkansas should know more about two state troopers who were present in Washington when the riot began. What did the troopers do? What did they see? Are they cooperating with authorities? One, we’ve learned appears to be a conspiracy-minded Trumper who thinks the deadly riot was “fake news” driven by Antifa or some similar imaginary force. The State Police are stonewalling as well about the trooper, who says she didn’t enter the Capitol but only observed the beginning of the violence from the perimeter.)
The editorial page of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today effectively urged appeasement, lest impeachment anger Trump followers. The situation is volatile, said the newspaper. Perhaps Trump should make a statement urging his followers to stay home, or at least not bring their AR-15s with them. Maybe Facebook and Twitter should take Trump’s muzzle off to send this message, it suggested. Trump is not muzzled. He was unmuzzled when he met reporters less than 24 hours ago and again issued another dog whistle to his violent followers. It will be dangerous if you impeach me because my people are angry, he said. The D-G actually wrote this:
There is another person who could de-escalate the situation: Nancy Pelosi. If the speaker of the House of Representatives would drop her impeachment effort, it might calm not only Donald Trump but many of his zealous followers.
Because calming Trump and his followers is more important than democracy. And if you can’t honestly win an election, why not try threats of violence?
Winston Churchill got it right in 1938 when Neville Chamberlain appeased another tyrant:
“You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war.”
The Lincoln Project also has it right. Don’t forget the seditionists. The worst in Arkansas’s congressional delegation are Reps. Rick Crawford and Bruce Westerman, who joined a legal effort to block Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory vote. The others have done little better, save a last-minute change of heart from Sen. Tom Cotton, who perceived political opportunity in accepting the outcome of the election. Imagine. Accepting the certified results of state-run elections, for which not a shred of fraud has been found passes for bravery in today’s Republican Party.
There was a path to a little appeasement last nigh — a vote by the House to call on Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and strip Trump of executive power. The process would immediately prevent further lawlessness. The resolution passed 223-205, with a single Republican from Illinois in favor. It was already known Mike Pence was too spineless to agree. All four Republican representatives from Arkansas opposed this speedy course to end Trump misrule. They will vote again today on impeachment. I expect little better from them. They are fearful of zealous Trumpers like the Arkansas state trooper who is being protected by her bosses and the governor.
Some of us will remember.
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) January 9, 2021