Two days later, more stories are coming out about the terror his supporters inflicted on Washington, D.C. Reporters and photographers, doing their job, documenting the scene, were particular targets. A few of the criminals who had such a gleeful time this week are finally, slowly, being arrested. A Capitol police officer has died of his wounds, while three of his bosses have resigned in disgrace.
Dan Zak of The Washington Post writes about that day:
On Wednesday, during its season finale, the Dxxxx Txxxx Show finally leaped off the screen and into the laps of the people in power. The finale started with Republicans in Congress debasing themselves to soothe the wounded ego of the main character, the man who is vandalizing their party and their legacies, the man whose family is prolonging a grift disguised as a chintzy brand of fascism that many people are taking very, very seriously — so seriously, in fact, that an army of delusional insurrectionists sacked the U.S. Capitol as legislators were engaging peacefully, if disagreeably, in the transfer of presidential power.
“If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral,” said outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) around 1:30 p.m., finally breaking with President Txxxx and his remaining enablers, who were objecting to counting the electoral votes from several states. Within an hour, the presiding officer’s chair in McConnell’s beloved institution was occupied by a bare-chested, face-painted hooligan who wore horns and animal pelts and believes that Txxxx is a god-king sent to vanquish phantom traitors and baby eaters.
It was a day of profound national humiliation, and it had been coming for a while.
A plurality of Americans voted against Txxxx in 2016. A majority voted against him in November. His incendiary behavior was tolerated, excused, ignored; there was his feeble response to the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, the programmatic hatred of his countless rallies, the storming of the Michigan Capitol last year after his indirect encouragement. And now his extremist followers were allowed to lay siege to a building that hadn’t been molested since 1814, when the British burned the Capitol in the name of their own god-king.
Some people who could have spoken up long ago finally found their voice.
“Today’s tyranny, an effort to subjugate America’s democracy by mob rule, was fomented and directed by Mr. Txxxx,” said Jim Mattis, Txxxx’s first secretary of defense. “His effort to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens has been enabled by pseudo political leaders whose names will live in infamy as profiles in cowardice.”
Mattis predicted that Txxxx will be “a man without a country.”
He will not, however, be a man without a following. The violent insurrectionists, bedecked in the name Txxxx, scaled and smashed their way into the Capitol, stalked and chased police officers up marble staircases, looted and ransacked members’ offices, ascended the dais in both the House and Senate for the perverse photo op. Members of Congress were hurried to undisclosed locations as staffers ducked in the galleries and prayed. . . .
It was all nonsense, and it was deadly serious. It was a furious pageant in which people were injured and killed. It was Washington turned into the Roman Empire by way of Atlantic City: corrupted, bankrupted, prostituted by Txxxx for a self-mythologizing spectacle and a quick buck. . . .
TV anchors, agog, kept saying they could not have imagined this. Politicians, bunkered, released statements of shock and outrage. They had not been paying attention. For some people — immigrants, Americans of color — the Dxxxx Txxxx Show was never just a show.
For the privileged, the past four years have seemed like shock-jock entertainment. Sometimes it was funny. Sometimes it was unbelievable. For the party in power it was an opportunity to laugh, to fret casually, to fundraise, to confirm some judges, to fast-track a career as a toadie or a righteous scold. Now, as the Capitol’s security gave way, the bitter reality of America’s civic tragedy finally materialized in the “citadel” of democracy, as Biden referred to it in a brief, somber statement.
Long after things got ugly, Txxxx released some tweets, as well as a video from the Rose Garden, addressing the monster he had brought to life.
“We love you,” he told the violent insurrectionists.
“You’re very special,” he told the violent insurrectionists.
“Remember this day forever!” he told the violent insurrectionists. . . .
Txxxx’s incitements had been heard loud and clear elsewhere, too. In Olympia, Wash., a mob stormed the gates of the governor’s mansion. In Atlanta, Georgia’s secretary of state was evacuated from his office. In Denver, the mayor ordered city buildings closed. Outside the U.S. Capitol the insurrectionists waved JESUS flags, erected an executioners stand with a noose, carried a sign that said “PELOSI IS SATAN,” wore clothing that invoked Nazism. . .
Many of the insurrectionists were young men spoiling for a fight, adrenalized by chaos. During the campaign, Trump had told people like them to “stand back and stand by,” and then, after he lost the election, urged them to come to Washington on the day Congress was slated to make that loss unsalvageable. On Wednesday, with his family, he lit their fuse and retired to the West Wing to watch the explosion on television. . . .
As night fell, and the Capitol was retaken, . . . the insurrectionists moved westward and were allowed to violate a 6 p.m. city curfew, in stark contrast to the Black Lives Matter protesters who were assaulted by law enforcement here over the summer. Under the supervision of SWAT teams, the House and Senate reconvened to carry on their disrupted formality. . . .
Senators made sanctimonious speeches about rules, about comity, about how “this is not who we are,” as if what had just happened had not happened at all. . . .
The Trump Show resumed, with supporting characters auditioning for the lead role. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) doubled down on his objection to counting Pennsylvania’s electoral votes. (Back in his home state, the Kansas City Star’s editorial board had already written that he had “blood on his hands.”) . . .
Just past 3:30 a.m., Congress finished its work. “The report we make is that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be president and vice president,” announced Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). Now there was a standing ovation in the House chamber. Pence responded that this was a “sufficient declaration.” He then handed things off to the chaplain for a prayer.
“We deplore the desecration of the United States Capitol building, the shedding of innocent blood, the loss of life and the quagmire of dysfunction that threaten our democracy,” prayed the Senate chaplain, Barry Black. “These tragedies have reminded us that words matter and that the power of life and death is in the tongue.”