Terry H. Schwadron

Jan. 7, 2020

We must impeach, censure or use the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump from office right now. Even two more weeks is too much.

Trump incited this treasonous, destructive Capitol riot, a literal coup attempt.

In the face of a riot — a literal coup attempt — he seized and would not or could not stop his supporters from trashing the Capitol. Trump’s late mixed-message video plea for rioters to go home repeated his same falsehoods and said he “loved” the same people that Joe Biden just accused of insurrection and sedition in calling for rioters to quit.

In any event, Trump lost control. Having broken in and been filmed repeatedly, the rioters inside the Capitol said they were there to stay, inviting removal by police and National Guardsmen — who, it turns out, were ordered to the scene by authority of Vice President Mike Pence, not Trump.

It’s another sign that Donald Trump can’t do his job, won’t do his job, and sees his self-promotion as more important than the good of the nation. Worse, he directed his thousands of supporters to come to Washington primed for a right, and they did, armed and mask-less. Trump told his mob that he and they would never concede, and they won’t.

Trump pointed at the Capitol, and they went, using ropes and makeshift ladders and swarming past Capitol police and onto the Senate and House floors — starting the hours-long images of just the kind of thuggery and rioting that Trump has so decried from Black Lives Matter or other left-leaning groups that he lumps together incorrectly as Antifa.

There was no Antifa here. These were largely White, Trump-emblazoned mobsters, supporters eager to tell news cameras that they will never accept Joe Biden as president.

Like being caught on tape this week for a shakedown call to Georgia officials to “find” votes to overturn the election results, the biggest surprise yesterday was that most of it was happening right before our eyes and the many cameras at the Capitol.

Attacking Democracy

Now that Trump has turned on Vice President Mike Pence for following the Constitution and failed his ultimate Trump loyalty test, Pence has nothing to lose by calling the Cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment. Donald Trump may or not be legally nuts, but he is incapable of doing his job. It’s not just me — Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and David Cicilline, D-R.I., made a formal request to Pence, and even the National Association of Manufacturers was calling for its consideration.

Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley called for Trump’s impeachment, even now, to halt any future ability to run for office, as did various pundits.

Donald Trump launched a literal attack on democracy, the Constitution, the legislative branch of government, all to make himself feel better for losing the November election. Beyond the illegalities and plain old tone-deafness of Trump, the astounding number of ironies and hypocrisies wrapped up in the day are overwhelming. Those include the fact that the storming of the Capitol came as Trump’s own legislative supporters in the House and Senate were simultaneously making the case for a challenge of the Electoral College votes that Trump wanted to see overturned.

It was ironic that our would-be Law & Order president had just prompted the worst attack on a federal institution since 9/11. It was more than ironic that thugs were breaking in through areas of the Capitol where Biden will be sworn in, where Trump himself was sworn four years ago. It was ironic that the irrelevant federal commission that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., was calling for actually will turn out to be a commission aimed at determining how the Capital was under-prepared and under-protected for such an attack, and why the response was so different from that for Black Lives Matter protests in Washington and other cities.

Incitement has been a pattern through the Trump years. He has used rallies and tweets to excite and incite, to call for prosecution and imprisonment of political enemies, and did so again in the hours before the attack on the Capitol. He yelled fire in a crowded theater.

The Congressional Debate

Unbowed, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose office was vandalized, and Pence agreed to call Congress back into session about six hours later to finish addressing the outstanding, required tasks of receiving the results of Electoral College voting. That is the last step before inauguration for the incoming president — the objectionable step as it turns out.

Even before the riot, the congressional debate was unusual for what had been called as a ceremonial. The issue was joined as Arizona, the third state on the list, was called; Pence followed the rule, and each house had move to two hours of debate — interrupted by Capitol police who told lawmakers to take cover. Mitch McConnell, who on this same day lost his status as majority leader in a now 50–50 Senate, found himself in the rare position of being allied with Democrats in defense of Constitutional issues.

The rioters face a series of possible federal criminal charges, but we were still awaiting a formal accounting from Capitol police. An woman intruder was fatally shot, but circumstances unclear, and three others died of medical reactions. A noose was found erected on Capitol grounds. Offices were broken into, windows broken, documents taken. There were arrests on weapons charges in downtown Washington, and a pipe bombs were found at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee while Democratic national headquarters was also evacuated.

The rioters seemed at ease roaming through inside the Capitol, including congressional offices and chambers areas for at least three hours, raising yet more questions about security.

And early today, after the confirmation of Biden, Trump offered an “orderly transition.”

Two questions dominate: Will Trump be removed, and who’s in charge of fixing Capitol security?