BY HARUT SASSOUNIAN
When planning to write this column, there were two key points I wanted to highlight. The first was that Trump had a couple of weeks left in his presidency which millions of people were anxiously looking forward to. My second point was that Trump was proven to be the biggest liar in history. Little did I know that events in Washington would take a disastrous turn that would shake the United States and the world.
During the last four years of his presidency, Trump has made hundreds of irrational statements and decisions rarely based on facts or reason. This ignorant man arrogantly claimed that he knew more than the generals about war, more than the doctors about coronavirus, more than the financial experts about the economy, etc. He became the laughing stock of people around the world.
What is amazing to me is that 74 million Americans blindly followed Trump and voted for him on November 3, 2020. If it weren’t for the other 81 million Americans who voted for Joe Biden, Trump may have remained in office another four years, further destabilizing the United States. I blame Trump’s blind supporters more than Trump himself, because without them Trump would not have been elected four years ago and would not have caused such damage.
Trump was clever enough to sow the seeds of doubt long ago about the outcome of the presidential elections. According to the Washington Post, Trump made bogus election claims 1,795 times from January to November 2020, thus preparing the ground for refusing to accept the results of the election. During one of his campaign rallies Trump said that if he loses the election, he will leave the country, which is the best thing he has said, but like all his other statements this too was a lie!
To make matters much worse, Trump called on his loyal and blind followers to gather in Washington on January 6, 2020 and prevent Congress from certifying the votes of the Electoral College, confirming that Biden had won the election. Trump even told his followers that he will personally join them in the street and march with them. Fortunately, this too was a lie. He stayed in the White House and let his followers do his dirty bidding.
Thousands of mindless Trumpsters descended on Washington, DC from all over the country, most of them not wearing a mask. Some came armed with guns and Molotov cocktails. They fought with the police and pushed their way in the halls of Congress, the cradle of American democracy. They killed a policeman guarding the Capitol, one protester was shot and killed and three others died of health-related problems. They disrupted the joint session of Congress, threatened the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Vice President of the United States who were immediately whisked away fearing for their lives. The mob smashed the doors, windows, furniture and paintings, and stole the property that belonged to the Congress. Not since the British Army attacked the Capitol building in 1814, such a despicable invasion of the seat of power in Washington, D.C., has occurred.
It is surprising that the Capitol police, having prior notice of the impending attack, failed to take special measures to defend the building and members of Congress. The chief of the Capitol police has since resigned. Calls for the National Guard went unheeded and were obstructed by the White House until later that evening, after the damage was done.
The hoodlums or Trump’s terrorists will not be able to get away with their crimes. Dozens have been already arrested and many more are expected to be captured in the next few days. Trump, the chief instigator of these crimes, however, remains at large. He is the one that incited the mob to commit this violence. The day after the mayhem in Washington, in a video speech, Trump proudly told the attackers “We love you.” Facebook, Twitter and Instagram immediately blocked his messages so he does not instigate any more violence. His followers have wrongly called these measures censorship. Trump has been repeatedly warned for years that he is violating the terms of service of the social media. He arrogantly persisted. The social media companies have the right to block him. They should have done so long ago. Furthermore, instigation of violence and insurrection are crimes. The perpetrator, in this case Trump, who is the leader of the rioters, must be held legally responsible for his crimes in a court of law. Several members of Trump’s Cabinet have since resigned to disassociate themselves from the violence in Congress. A dozen other high-ranking Trump officials have also resigned.
The House of Representatives is now considering a new impeachment trial for Pres. Trump and forward the decision to the U.S. Senate. In recent days, several Republican Members of Congress have called on Pres. Trump to resign or face impeachment. This is the first time in U.S. history that a President will be impeached twice. To make sure that the Republican majority in the Senate does not block Trump’s conviction like they did last year, the Senate will consider his impeachment after January 20, 2021 when the new Senate takes over with a Democratic majority. Even though Trump will no longer be President by then, his successful impeachment will prevent him from holding federal office ever again, including running for President! Trump’s departure will be a stain on his presidential legacy, in addition to all his other indiscretions during the past four years.
Such a vicious attack is something that usually happens in third world countries and the U.S. government traditionally condemns the violence. No one expected that such an undemocratic act would take place in the heart of Washington which made the United States the laughing stock of the world. Several world leaders, including those of Iraq and Iran, lectured the United States about democracy. Even Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, one of the vilest dictators in the world, who has repeatedly violated the most basic rights of his people, mocked the United States by daring to give Americans a lesson in democracy.
Returning to Trump’s record of lies, the Washington Post has documented that Pres. Trump, as of Nov. 5, 2020, has made 29,508 false or misleading claims in almost four years. By the time he leaves office, the number of his lies will reach or exceed 30,000 — probably the most lies told by anyone in the world. Unfortunately, millions of Trump’s followers blindly swallowed these lies.
Regrettably, Trump’s supporters are now calling for a “million MAGA [Make America Great Again] march,” in Washington on January 20, 2020 to disrupt Pres. Biden’s inauguration. I hope this time the police and the National Guard will be better prepared to keep the protesters under control and immediately arrest those who behave violently.