Donald Trump is dismissed. He has now set two records: he is the first president to be impeached twice, and the first president to break unbroken American history of peaceful transfer of power. He has shown no remorse for his actions and he should be removed from his post even though it is 10 minutes before noon on January 20, if that is all that is available.
However, supporters of the president are now arguing for understanding and inclusion, to lower the temperature, to move on. Speech after speech on the House floor on Wednesday, the same Republicans who had no objection to the president’s incitement to insurgency now have deep concerns about the parliamentary process, the rule of law and national unity .
This is moral charlatanism and I say the devil.
It is almost impossible to understand the sheer moral poverty of the people who are now calling for unity. Elected Republicans now admit that they fear for their physical safety from their own constituents, but instead of thundering constitutional defenses, we have soft meows from the likes of Senator Marco Rubio and his Tweets from a Bible verse, or the breathtaking duplicity of Senator Lindsey Graham, who, days after saying “count me” of any new sedition, had her jostling with the president on Air Force One.
Weapon grade chutzpah
The gold medal for hypocrisy should probably go to Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal, which demanded that Biden “show mercy”, “call on Democrats to step down” and “practice the healing” promised by him and Kamala Harris during the campaign. “Why not? Strassel moaned.
What Trump advocates lack in honesty, self-awareness, or patriotism they certainly make up for with pure military-grade chutzpah. (I would prefer to use a word referring to a common substance found on ranches that Ronald Reagan once described as a substance “deeply rooted in our rich farming and farming tradition,” but this is a family journal.)
It would be easier and less stressful to just forget about Trump’s catalysts and sycophants right now. This is perhaps the best course of action, to allow the market and public opinion to determine the future of oilseed courtiers like Strassel and the many others who are trying to throw the blame and come out of the cloud. Trump’s seditious stench.
But what should we do among ourselves as ordinary citizens? A decent and functioning democracy requires an explicit commitment to constitutional principles. We have had enough violence and resentment among us, and we do not need further confrontations in the ranks of the American family. We have a new president coming and we owe him a chance to govern. (By the way, that’s exactly what I said four years ago when President Trump was elected.)
It is also, however, the time for moral clarity. The distance Trump has created between American citizens cannot be bridged by bad faith negotiation or blind forgiveness. There is no space for a “mutual” reconciliation between sedition and loyalty. The people who supported Trump have to come to terms with what they did and what they let happen – otherwise it will happen again.
Remove Trump now:Trump does not deserve post-presidential benefits. Take it out and make sure it won’t get them.
Most Trump voters are as appalled as anyone at the violence on Capitol Hill, but only 31% of Republicans hold Trump responsible for what happened on January 6. Thankfully, House GOP conference chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming is one of them, along with nine other Republicans who voted with House Majority 232-197 to impeach, but she and they are now in the minority. of their own party. Republicans might be shocked at what Trump incited on Capitol Hill – but they’re not so bothered that they wouldn’t vote for him anymore. More than90% Trump voters would take him straight back to the Oval Office for four years.
Average Trump voters do not share the guilt of the rioters. They didn’t come to Washington, they didn’t plot against government, and they didn’t kill Officer Brian Sicknick. But they have been warned, time and time again, that Trump hates the Constitution and rule of law restrictions. They have been warned, time and time again, that Trump will stop at nothing to stay in power. And yet they cheered him on, giving him tens of millions of votes and refusing to hold him accountable for his repeated attacks on the US system of government.
These voters are not my enemies. But until they can admit they made a terrible mistake, until they can admit that without a man – the one they voted to stay in the White House for – nothing at all that would not have happened, their calls for “unity” and understanding mean nothing tome.
Unity begins with repentance
It is a question of patriotism, not of politics. Trump supporters don’t need to support Joe Biden or his policies. They don’t need to start voting for Democrats (although some of them might consider voting against seditionists from their neighborhoods). They don’t need to change their minds about taxes, political correctness, or foreign policy. They don’t need to become more liberal or more multicultural.
But if they care about unity, they need to demonstrate to the majority of their fellow citizens that they can speak a handful of words with genuine commitment and meaning. As someone who has opposed Trump from the moment he announced his candidacy, it would be emotionally gratifying for me to hear Trump supporters say “you were right” – like very few of them the did – but those are not the words I have in mind.
Boot Trump:We are not safe as long as Trump is president. Remove it now to protect us and our future.
On the contrary, unity must begin with the recitation of a much more important recognition:
“I solemnly swear that I will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that I will bear true faith and allegiance to it.”
Trump supporters will bristle and say they’ve always believed in those important words, but I’ve finished making the effort to believe them. After January 6, there is no way to take this oath while still supporting Donald Trump and the rebellion he has encouraged against the United States government.
“Unity” begins with repentance, and Republicans should begin. Supporting Trump’s impeachment and instituting his permanent exile from American politics are the necessary first steps.
Tom Nichols, Professor of National Security Affairs at Naval War College, Senior Advisor to the Lincoln Project and Member of the USA TODAY Contributors Council, is the author of “Our Own Worst Enemy,” which will be released in August. The opinions expressed here are his. Follow him on Twitter: @RadioFreeTom