Trump's brutal moment of reckoning

Bill Ketter

President Trump is his own woeful enemy.

Throughout his presidency he’s claimed persecution by the news media, Democrats and anyone unfaithful to his cultish style of leadership.

Trump’s oppressive mindset was at its worse after he lost the Nov. 3 presidential election. He could not accept being a one-term president, insisting ad nauseam that he won by “hundreds of thousands of votes” in states that voted for him in 2016 but flipped to Democrat Joe Biden in 2020.

Sadly, his delusion inflamed his loyalists, including many Republicans in Congress. They believed his unproven claim that a rigged election was supported by facts when it wasn’t. They were co-opted in order to show fidelity and endear themselves in the future to his diehard fans.

Local, state and national election officials were not convinced. They steadfastly rejected Trump’s assertions, based on made-up tales and conspiracy theories. So did GOP Attorney General William Barr, the nation’s top election security official, 90 state and federal judges, several of which were Trump appointees. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider the president’s grievances. Twice.

To wit: No widespread irregularities, no massive vote dumps, no thousands of dead people voting, no voting machine trickery, no violation of state election laws, no thousands of undocumented immigrants casting ballots and on and on.

Trump’s jihad ended in violence Wednesday at the seat of our democratic republic, the national Capitol. Incited by the president at a rally of his faithful thousands assembled nearby, many of them stormed the seat of government, violently bent on forcing Congress to decertify Biden’s election as the next president and declare Trump the victor.

The world watched in horror as the most admired democracy in the history fell victim to a mob aroused by the president’s impassioned, stolen election rhetoric. He had beckoned them to Washington for the very purpose of intimidating Congress to overturn the country’s bedrock right of the people to select their president.

Four people died in the riot, including one of the insurrectionists shot inside the Capitol by a security officer. The others died from medical emergencies.

“We’re going to the Capitol,” bellowed Trump at the end of an hour-long harangue. “We’re going to try and give our Republicans … the kind of pride and boldness they need to take back our country.”

Trump did not lead the mob to the Capitol as promised at the rally, perhaps because he sensed anarchism about to occur. Instead he returned to the White House and watched the lawlessness unfold. Until his aides persuaded him to call off the mob.

The president’s lame response astounded.

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” Trump tweeted to the mob. “Go home with love & peace. Remember this day forever!”

The tweet was later deleted. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram promptly blocked his social media accounts. Three White House officials resigned. Talk stirred of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. As did another impeachment effort. Both were untimely impractical. Only two weeks remain in his term.

Congress took shelter in an unknown hideaway, returning several hours later to conclude their business of certifying Biden as the nation’s 46th president.

Before doing do, members listened to a small band of rebellious Republicans object to the Electoral College vote from a half-dozen states. Several others who planned to object got so upset with the riot they decided against it.

The renegades got their kicks prolonging the final — and certain — outcome by prolonging the House and Senate certification until 4 a.m. Thursday.

Their absurd reason: 39% of voters told pollsters they agree with Trump’s claim of an illegitimate election. Thus a special bipartisan commission should in 10 days audit the outcome in those crucial states that Trump lost.

In other words, complaints by doubting Trump voters, many of them influenced by his resistance, should get the final word on who is the next president.

That’s not only a threat to democracy, it is a crazy idea.

Much like Trump’s failed plan to nullify the election he lost. He could not even bring himself to concede that in a tepid attempt at conciliatory remarks the day after the Capitol riot.

“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement posted to Twitter by his social media director.

“While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”

Trump’s self-absorbed “greatness” belies the current judgment of at least 81.2 million Americans who tossed him from the White House. And if history is any guide, he will surely rank among the most disruptive of U.S. presidents.

Bill Ketter is senior vice president of news for CNHI, LLC. Contact him at wketter@cnhi.com.

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