The irresponsible presidency of Donald Trump culminated in disgraceful mob violence Wednesday afternoon. Supporters of the president, unable to accept his defeat in November’s election, stormed the nation’s Capitol, smashed windows, occupied offices and even infiltrated the U.S. Senate chamber where lawmakers gathered to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
We condemn this infamous, dark moment in American history in the strongest terms.
We and many Americans watched these events unfold in a state of disbelief. At the same time, after witnessing the last four years and especially the last two months, the road to this sad moment is clear, as is who deserves the blame for leading us here.
Trump has stirred outrage among his supporters by repeatedly and fraudulently claiming that the election was somehow stolen from him. His claims of fraud have been soundly rejected by election officials, including Republicans, and in courts across the nation.
And yet he has persisted in his dangerous drive to undermine American democracy and its institutions. On Wednesday in Washington he spoke to tens of thousands of supporters and urged them to march on the Capitol.
There, the mob overran undermanned Capitol Police who tried in vain to keep Trump backers from breaching the building. Representatives and senators had to be swiftly evacuated from the Capitol and nearby office buildings were cleared. The chaos unfolded on television before the eyes of a horrified nation.
Trump’s actions and inaction Wednesday show his inability to lead. He deliberately used his rally to incite and went to the White House to watch his work on TV. He did nothing to stop the violence, only weakly tweeting that the mob should support Capitol Police and disperse. It was too little, too late.
He has proved he is incapable of completing his term. He must resign or be removed. He’s made it clear that even 13 more days of his presidency are too many for the nation to bear.
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This moment also calls to mind how so many Republicans, including top Iowa GOP leaders, enabled and encouraged Trump’s unhinged conduct for the last four days. They led us to Wednesday’s spectacle, choosing political calculations over the good of the nation.
Through the clamor came the steady voice of Biden, who called on Trump to go on TV and demand a stop to violence.
“We will endure here and we will prevail,” Biden said. Finally, a president we can believe.
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