Trump’s Coup: the Inside Story

Photograph Source: Tyler Merbler – CC BY 2.0

The nation and its citizens have been assailed by lies, distortions, and outright fictions since the polls closed on election day in 2020. We have been told the election was stolen, that ballot boxes were stuffed, that voting machines were corrupted, and that the candidate who lost by 7 million votes didn’t actually lose.

But now, as it must and always will, the truth comes out and is being revealed in all its grim details by the Jan. 6 committee that has spent the last year investigating the unprecedented storming of the nation’s Capitol in Trump’s failed attempt to bring a third-world coup to American democracy.

The truth is not pretty — not by any stretch of the imagination. It is, in fact, very difficult to watch the frenzied, deluded mob beat police officers, smash windows, and ransack the Capitol’s hallowed halls. Subsequent attempts by desperate Trumpist Republicans to downplay the attempted coup as some kind of tourist stroll are utterly gutted by the undeniable visual evidence. You can believe your eyes, or you can believe their lies.

Nor was this simply a demonstration that “got out of hand.” Far from it. As revealed in the first hearing by Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who is also the vice-chair of the committee, Jan. 6 was the culmination of Trump’s “seven part plan” for the attempted coup led by the extremist gang who dub themselves the Proud Boys.

There was nothing to be proud of, however, in their violent attempt to overturn a legitimate election for the sole purpose of keeping a deranged loser in power after being soundly rejected by the nation’s voters.

As explained in grueling detail, the leaders of the coup came dressed for battle — not a stroll through the statuary hall. They carried radios, wore ballistic vests, helmets, and carried weapons including disabling pepper spray which was used against the Capitol police.

And while the havoc was unleashed, the individual most responsible for spreading the lies of a corrupted “stolen” election not only allowed the riot and damage to proceed unabated, he cheered them on. As now revealed, his hate-filled rant included a call to hang Vice-President Mike Pence whom he decided “deserved it” for not taking the totally illegal action to halt the certification of the electoral vote by Congress.

Thursday’s prime time hearing was just the first, not the last, of the revelations into the utter perfidy of Trump’s evil intent to delude his supporters and use them as pawns to wreak what two witnesses to the violence referred to as “carnage” in the nation’s capital.

The hearings will continue next week and we can expect more testimony, much of it being revealed for the first time, to finally surface into the public’s view. And that brings the Republican Party to its own “moment of truth.”

Given the facts — not allegations — Republicans are going to have to admit that they have been played for suckers by the great grifter. They were lied to from the start and in accepting those lies because they feared their misled voters, they became willing accomplices to a shameful attack on our historic tradition of peacefully transferring power following national elections.

Sitting presidents are immune from prosecution. But Trump is no longer president — and given the undeniable proof of his criminal intent he should be sentenced to prison, his assets seized and distributed to the still-suffering victims of his pre-meditated violence. This isn’t about political parties anymore, it’s about the future of American democracy — and the will to do right in the face of great wrong.

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Daily Montanan, where this essay originally appeared.