“If no one stands up to a bully, a bully will keep doing what they’re doing,” - Rand Paul
On Jan. 6, the entire world witnessed the inevitable conclusion of four years of an administration built by lies and violence. Watching the mob of Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol on TV was shocking, but not at all surprising. There are many things that contributed to these inevitable acts of violence and treason. A few of these reasons include the unchecked toxic power of white privilege, the lack of government oversight on far-right conspiracy groups and a country that has failed to acknowledge its painful racial history. However, most of the blame goes to a specific group of elected representatives who have failed repeatedly to do the bare minimum of keeping the executive branch in check. These officials’ behavior was nothing short of enabling and opportunistic. I believe these cowards care more about power than democracy and have enabled the reckless behavior of President Donald Trump for the past four years in order to maintain that power. The cowards I am talking about are Republican politicians.
"I … cannot in good conscience support Donald Trump because I do not believe he is a reliable Republican conservative nor has he displayed the judgment and temperament to serve as Commander in Chief," - Lindsey Graham
Trump deserves a significant amount of the blame for the insurrection that occurred on Wednesday, but it would be naive to attribute it just to him. This insurrection is on those who have stood at the side of Trump for the past four years, whether it's the reckless right-wing media or Trump's undying white evangelical supporters. Republican Congresspeople in particular have had multiple opportunities to put this circus of a presidency to rest. Unfortunately, they have failed on every occasion to do so. Actually, the use of the word "failed" implies there was an attempt for them to do what was right for the country. Instead, they spent their time gaslighting those that saw Trump as the imminent threat to democracy as we know it.
"But you mark my words, there will be prominent people in American politics who will spend years explaining to people how they fell into this." - Marco Rubio
Trump's true colors were always evident. However, Republicans chose to instead stick to Trump rather than to reality. The party that boasts about being against communism and socialism didn’t seem to mind him accepting election help from Russia or cozying up to Kim Jong-Un. The party of law and order clearly wasn’t bothered when he illegally withheld military aid to Ukraine. Each new defense of Trump’s behavior slowly turned the party into nothing but a cult of personality. For four years they willfully put their "conservative" virtues aside and fell in line. That last point is what is most frustrating about this entire presidency; a majority of the catastrophes didn't have to be this way. The "small government" party decided Trump's assault on democracy, elected members and the press were all necessary means to maintain power and win elections.
"I believe that the president has learned from this case. The president has been impeached. That's a pretty big lesson." - Susan Collins
The assault on the Capitol is a direct result of Republicans’ failure to convict Trump after his impeachment a year ago. Except for Sen. Mitt Romney, not a single elected Republican acknowledged the danger Trump posed to our nation. Norman Eisen, a special counsel for the House Judiciary Committee for the impeachment and trial of the president, recognized Trump, "learned that he can abuse his power and obstruct the investigation of that abuse and get away unscathed to commit more high crimes and misdemeanors." Trump saw Republicans would continue to do his bidding as long as there are elections to be won.
I expect Republicans in the future to engage in revisionist history so powerful that it will give the United Daughters of Confederacy a run for its money. However, we have to remember those that were complicit. The Republican Party that had its attachments to the Reagan era is long gone now, and its replacement isn't worth saving. I thought this circus would end in November once the election results were released. Instead, the party doubled down in its pandering to Trump. Their silence and complicity in letting the president spew conspiracy theories for months on end only proved Trump and the Republican Party were indistinguishable. All the senators quoted in this article gave a masterclass on how to pander to Trump. Senators Cruz, Rubio, Paul and Graham, all former adversaries of Trump, are the ones who helped the president try to overturn the election.
"When a candidate urges supporters to engage in physical violence, to punch people in the face, the predictable consequence of that is that it escalates, and today is unlikely to be the last such instance." - Ted Cruz
In what is hopefully his final bow, Trump incited the mob on the very people who enabled him. The same politicians that had let Trump have his way for four years never expected the monster they created to break into the windows of the Capitol. If this was the plan to make America great again, I would say that they have failed in every aspect. The damages of this administration will take decades to undo, and it only took four years of cowardice from the Republican Party to turn our country into a laughing stock.
Ozioma Mgbahurike is an electrical engineering sophomore and opinion writer for The Battalion.