In his first comments to the press since inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, President Donald Trump did not offer any words of contrition. Instead, he reminded us for the billionth time that he is a spiteful bitch incapable of feeling shame about anything. Yes, even when it comes to the attempted murder of his vice president and members of Congress for the sake of trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Although House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy reportedly informed House Republicans on Monday that Trump has accepted some responsibility for last week’s deadly riots at the Capitol, you sure couldn’t tell by his public declaration that his urging the violent, angry mob march to the Capitol and “fight like hell” to avenge electoral fraud that doesn’t exist had been “totally appropriate.” “They’ve analyzed my speech, my words,” he said. “Everybody to a T thought it was appropriate.” (To fact check that quickly: They have, and they did not.)
As for the potential consequences of his actions, which now include a second impeachment, Trump responded with teases for more violence. “This impeachment is causing tremendous anger, and you’re doing it and it’s really a terrible thing that they’re doing,” he told reporters while serving up word hash on the White House South Lawn. “For Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to continue on this path, I think it’s causing tremendous danger to our country, and it’s causing tremendous anger. I want no violence.”
It was always a danger to the country to give someone like that the powers of the presidency; to do so in the age of Fox News and a largely unregulated social media ecosystem was essentially to beg for this very outcome.
If there’s any lingering doubt that Trump’s response wasn’t a thinly veiled threat for more violence, in a speech delivered only hours later in Alamo, Texas, he said of his pending impeachment, “Be careful what you wish for.”
So, not only does Trump not care that he is the inspiration for sedition and treason, but he continues to traffic in the language of both. Trump’s blasé attitude about last week, including the five people that died in violent unrest following the “Stop the Steal” event organized on his behalf, comes on the heels of separate reporting that he already regretted shooting a video in which he condemned the riots and promised a peaceful transfer of power. That’s no surprise — this is a man whose idea of strength is Vladimir Putin — but in his defiant remarks on Tuesday, Trump all but confirmed that he doesn’t mind murder and the toppling of American democracy so long as the end result advances his goals.
For years, many of us (“the Blacks,” specifically), quickly clocked Trump to be a bigot with a despot kink. A man that hollers like a Grand Wizard every chance he gets is not a man that’s hard to peg. I’ve long considered him to be the court jester of white supremacy, but that never made him any less of a violent figure because white supremacy is inherently violent. It was always a danger to the country to give someone like that the powers of the presidency; to do so in the age of Fox News and a largely unregulated social media ecosystem was essentially to beg for this very outcome.
But this is 2021, and I’m less focused on saying “I told you so” and more on the question of what the House and Senate plan to do about him. The same goes for anyone else in the position to make Trump’s remaining years as difficult as possible: attorney generals, U.S. attorneys, business leaders, and anyone else who can give Trump any semblance of discipline.
Of course, some, like Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have wondered why Democrats should even bother with impeachment, calling it “ill-advised” in an interview on Fox News. On the morning of the insurrection, we got word that former FBI director James Comey argues in a new book that Trump shouldn’t face any prosecution after leaving office. Both sentiments are rooted in this idea of “unity” and staving off more division.
With all disrespect intended, anyone that thinks like this should be encouraged not to think or speak again without proper adult supervision.
This is not hard: Inciting an insurrection designed to help install Trump as America’s first official autocratic head of state warrants his impeachment. Even if there is not enough time to remove him from office, Trump should not be allowed to ever seek public office again, which an impeachment conviction and subsequent vote in the Senate could guarantee.
I don’t know how Trump read the book of Adolf Hitler’s speeches his first wife once claimed he kept by his bedside, but I don’t doubt that Trump knows the basics of how to be a strongman. He’s already dabbled in ethnic cleansing and corruption; now he can add failed coup to the list. For non-history buffs, one failed coup does not mean a second effort would fail. We cannot allow last week’s failed coup to blind us to the reality that Trump remains a threat.
Lazy as Trump has been as president, he is relentless about getting his way — as long as nothing stands firmly in it.
Note that a day after the failed coup, the New York Times revealed that Trump has suggested to those left in his orbit that he will pardon himself in the final days of his presidency. The discussions with aides began in reference to his other big crime of note, though: trying to strongarm Georgia state election officials to overturn the results of the election. One imagines he has since added incitement-related charges to that. Meanwhile, he may also issue preemptive pardons to the following: Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and his co-conspirator, Rudy Giuliani.
It’s not even clear if Trump can self-pardon; in fact, his advisers have cautioned him that such a move may only heighten his civil liabilities related to the insurrection. Regardless of whether not he can do it at this point is moot. Trump still thinks he’s untouchable, which makes him a danger to all of us.
I don’t want to wait on history to judge Trump. Nor do I want “unity” with the people who have allowed him to skate by his ever-expanding list of crimes. It’s been frustrating to watch this asshole escape consequences these last four years (not to mention all his life). I know that white men can get away with anything, but damn.
I’m not exactly a cheerleader of the carceral state, but after last week I can’t think of any more comforting an image right now than one of Trump in an orange suit — which for him would probably be flesh tone — marching to prison. I’m not confident that will happen, but something must be done all the same.
He should not be allowed to walk out of the White House freely. He should not be able to go on and make millions of dollars. He should not have the chance to try all of this again in four years. We may very likely be in a proxy civil war for years to come as a result of the hysteria he has stoked, and if we have to suffer, so should he.
To not do anything is to allow him the chance to be a martyr, which only benefits his ego and the cult keeping it afloat. He needs to leave office in disgrace, and the opportunity to run again must be stripped from him. For the rest of his miserable life, he should be made to face the consequences of all his charges: rape; bank fraud; tax fraud; insurance fraud; trying to steal an election; and when all else fails, helping fuel and organize an insurrection.
Impeachment ought to be only the beginning of his professional and personal ruin — but it’s a good start.