Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s late morning here in New Hometown, Florida on Friday, January 8, 2021. Right now the temperature is 63˚F (17˚C) under cloudy skies. With humidity at 77% and the wind blowing from the west at 8 MPH (13 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 63˚F (17˚C). Today’s forecast: partly sunny skies and a high of 67˚F (20˚C). Tonight, we can expect partly cloudy skies and a low of 46˚F (8˚C).
The past few days have been unlike any other in the history of American presidential transitions since 1861. On Wednesday afternoon, after being egged on by President Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, and Rudy Giuiliani – just to name a few speakers at the MAGA “Stop the Steal” (or whatever Trumpistas are calling it) rally – thousands of armed and violent supporters breached the U.S. Capitol – something that has not happened since the British burned parts of Washington, DC during the War of 1812.
This was not a peaceful demonstration gone wrong. The participants were already primed to go berserk and to participate in an act of seditious insurrection if the U.S. Congress certified the results of the 2020 Presidential election. Many of the Make America Great Again/Keep America Great movement were armed and dressed as if they were going to war rather than to peaceably assemble to support their lame duck President. All they needed, beyond the words of the Trumps and Guilliani, was a spark to set off the keg of gunpowder they brought to Washington with them.
That spark, apparently, was Vice President Mike Pence’s refusal to overturn the 2020 election results. The President, who for 64 days had claimed that he, and not Joe Biden, had won the election had asked Pence to do this, even though the Vice President has no unilateral authority to overturn the election results.
Keep in mind that Trump had addressed the crowd for an hour before Congress started to tally the Electoral College votes. At one point in his speech, the President said this:
“Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
1:11 p.m. President Trump’s speech to supporters on the Ellipse outside the White House ends. During the roughly hourlong speech, Trump urges his followers to march to the Capitol and says at one point, “You will never take back our country with weakness.” Trump says he will be there with them but never joins the crowd.
1:13 p.m. Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar files the first objection to state Electoral College certification, from his home state. Democrat Joe Biden won the state by 10,457 votes. The objection needs to be joined by a U.S. senator, which it is. The objection could then be debated for up to two hours. Republican House members and senators threaten to do this for up to half a dozen states. The tactic amounts to not more than a delay, however, as the end result will be President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris being declared the winners — again.
2:07 p.m. The mob of Trump supporters breach the steps on the east side of the Capitol.
2:16 p.m. The first scenes of the rioters inside the building.
This act of sedition did not go well for Trump or his followers. Vice President Pence – for once, anyway – did the right thing and refused to go along with the President’s demands. And by breaching the Capitol and trying to intimidate the Congress into undoing the 2020 Presidential election, the self-described “patriots” not only showed that they don’t believe in the Constitution, representative democracy, or a multi-party system, but they also caused five deaths.
Per a story on KRON in San Francisco, here are the names of the dead – four Trump supporters who should be labeled “domestic terrorists” and one law enforcement officer:
- Ashli Babbitt, 35, of San Diego, CA. Trump supporter
- Rosanne Boyland, 34, of Kennesaw, GA, Trump supporter
- Kevin Greeson, 55, of Athens, AL, Trump supporter
- Benjamin Phillips, 50, of Ringtown, PA, Trump supporter
U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick died of injuries he received while responding to the breach at the Capitol. According to a story by KRON-TV in San Francisco, “The death of Officer Sicknick will be investigated by Washington D.C. Metro Police’s Homicide branch, the USCP and other federal agencies.”
As I have said in previous posts about the events of January 6, this wasn’t a patriotic act gone wrong. It was an act of sedition, armed insurrection, and domestic terrorism. And I think that Trump’s last minute “change of heart” last night – he tweeted a lukewarm concession speech that was both unenthusiastic and pathetically hypocritical – was less of a recognition that he had caused the events to unfold the way that they did and more of a “cover-his-ass” move. After all, he could be held liable for the five deaths on the grounds that he instigated a MAGA riot.