Posts Tagged ‘insurrection’

Making Trumpism Trumwasm

Monday, February 8th, 2021

Tomorrow, the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump begins. Don’t blink. It will be quick. There is a single charge: Incitement of Insurrection. The charge is all about Trump’s speech, if you can call it that, at the Ellipse on 6 January, after which…well, you know what happened.

Many people say, “Why bother? It’s a foregone conclusion he’ll be acquitted.” There may be a few Republicans who vote to convict, but it will take 67 total votes to do it, and, as my Dad used to say when I would plead for the keys to the car after not exactly distinguishing myself in my studies, “Son, that ain’t happening.”

Also, there are serious and sincere people who believe the way to make Trumpism Trumpwasm is to deprive Trump of any attention at all. Ignore him. Simply let him fade away and disappear into the mist of time. Without him, his cult-like followers will lose the leader they need. That seems wishful thinking to me.

If the trial focuses only on Trump’s speech, it will be like looking at an arrow whizzing past a crack in the door. But to get the full measure of what happened we need to throw open the door to see where the arrow began its flight and where it ended.

The events of 6 January had been carefully planned and orchestrated for nearly three weeks. On 18 December, Trump tweeted, “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there. Will be wild!” Thus began the insurrection.

Trump’s cattle call to protest mobilized his followers around the country and resulted in seven different rallies in D.C. on the 5th and 6th, all of which received permits from the National Park Service. Excluding Trump’s, the other six were:

  1. The Rally To Revival, sponsored by The Eight Percent Coalition which had been founded by Trump supporter Cindy Chafian. This rally was on Freedom Plaza.
  2. The Save Our Republic Rally, sponsored by Moms For America, held at Area 9, across from the Russell Senate Office Building.
  3. The One Nation Under God Rally, sponsored by Virginia Women For Trump, held near the Supreme Court Building (Roger Stone spoke at this rally).
  4. The Silent Majority Rally, organized by Proud Boys member James Epley, and held the evening of 5 January and morning on 6 January at the North Inner Gravel Walkway on the National Mall. There were more than ten arrests at this rally on the 5th, and there were  weapons charges.
  5. The Wild Protest Rally, organized by Stop The Steal and held at Area 8 across from the Russell Senate Office Building.
  6. The Freedom Rally, organized by the Virginia Freedom Keepers, Latinos For Trump, and the United Medical Freedom Super PAC, and held at 300 First Street, Northeast, near the Russell Senate Office Building.

Finally, there was Trump’s own rally, the March To Save America. After Trump’s 18 December tweet, Amy Kremer, co-founder of Women For Trump,  and “one of the founding mothers of the modern day tea party movement,” according to her website, began the planning for this event and applied for and was granted a D.C. permit for a gathering of 5,000 protesters on the Ellipse. After Trump tweeted on 2 January he’d be at that rally, Kremer turned over managing it to the White House.

Prior to Trump’s speaking at the rally, his openers were his two sons and Rudy Giuliani, who admonished the crowd,  “Let’s have trial by combat,” and showed a propaganda video Joseph Goebbels could learn a thing or two from.

Then Donald Trump took the stage.

He spoke for one hour, thirteen minutes and twenty-two seconds; more than 11,000 words.

During the speech, he used the word “peacefully” once, which will be one of the painted hooks on the Senate wall upon which his attorneys will hang part of his defense:

I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.

He also made 17 incendiary, insurrection provoking statements:

These people are not going to take it any longer. They’re not going to take it any longer….

We will never give up, we will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved….

Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore and that’s what this is all about. And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with: We will stop the steal….

We will not let them silence your voices. We’re not going to let it happen, I’m not going to let it happen….

(At this point the audience began chanting, “Fight for Trump.”)

And then we’re stuck with a president who lost the election by a lot and we have to live with that for four more years. We’re just not going to let that happen….

(Here, the audience began to chant, “We love Trump.”)

We’re gathered together in the heart of our nation’s capital for one very, very basic and simple reason: To save our democracy….

We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them….

Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated….

You will have an illegitimate president. That’s what you’ll have. And we can’t let that happen….

That’s going to be the end of the Republican Party as we know it, but it’s never going to be the end of us. Never. Let them get out. Let, let the weak ones get out. This is a time for strength….

We got to get rid of the weak Congress, people, the ones that aren’t any good, the Liz Cheneys of the world. We got to get rid of them. We got to get rid….

The radical left knows exactly what they’re doing. They’re ruthless and it’s time that somebody did something about it….

The Republicans have to get tougher. You’re not going to have a Republican Party if you don’t get tougher….

And we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore….

So we’re going to, we’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. I love Pennsylvania Avenue. And we’re going to the Capitol…

The Democrats are hopeless, they never vote for anything. Not even one vote. But we’re going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones because the strong ones don’t need any of our help. We’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country….

So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.

The insurrection on the 6th showed just how fragile democracy can be. It also illustrated in granular detail the depth of the political and social fissures besetting America. Trump may be gone, but the Republican Party is still Trump’s party. Correcting that will be a generational undertaking. The Biden administration’s successful revival of the economy with significant movement toward economic equality, and the defeat of the coronavirus, would be monumental first steps.

By the way, although he said he would, Donald Trump did not “walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.” Rather, he retired to the White House to watch the bomb explode from the fuse he lit.