Trump Supporters Attempt Impromptu Coup

The nation was filled with anxiety and uncertainty on the evening on November 8, 2016. Hillary Clinton, an experienced democratic politician, faced the political outsider Donald J. Trump. The results came in slightly slower than usual, but by the next morning Hillary Clinton conceded and accepted the results. Today in 2021 Trump does not give Biden that courtesy. 

Ever since the results of the 2020 election solidified Biden’s victory, Trump and his allies have filed sixty  lawsuits in an attempt to discard votes in a way that would generate a GOP victory. All of these cases were thrown away by the courts, dismissed, or the legal team lost. 

The post-election lawsuits were all the way from state to federal to the Supreme Court. Even judges who Trump appointed as judges in the federal court and Supreme Court struck down the alleged idea of mass voter fraud. Even Attorney General Barr and the Department of Justice found no evidence that could substantiate his claims.

When legal methods failed, Trump turned to more subversive ways to achieve a victory, or at least a loss that was not so humiliating. This was revealed by the Washington Post on January 3 when a recording of a call was leaked where Trump urged Georgia’s secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, a fellow republican, to “recalculate” the votes in his favor.

“I just want to find 11,780 votes” Trump pleaded on the phone, one more vote than Biden’s 11,779 lead in Georgia. Raffensperger maintained steadfast in his confidence of Biden’s win in the state. Such coercion of a state official by the most powerful man in the country was seen to many as disgraceful.

Trump’s refusal to concede paired with his evermore desperate attempts to commit what is essentially a diet coup has caused his approval ratings to decline further and further since the presidential election. The pro-Trump and anti-election rhetoric was acknowledged by many Georgians. Sidney Powell, a known legal ally of Trump, stated in a rally “I would encourage all Georgians to make it known that you will not vote until your vote is secure.” according to Fox News.

Such statements may have led to a depressed conservative turnout in the January 5 Georgia runoff elections which caused the democrats to not only win two senate seats, but also a full majority in both chambers of Congress. 

Losing not only the presidential election, but also the Senate  has furthered the divide in the GOP from an uncomfortable peace to a blame game on January 6 when the runoff elections were called for democratic victory. 

Alex Conant, a Republican strategist, said, “Republicans had everything going for them in this race, except Trump. If this election had been about checks and balances, then the Republicans would have won. Instead it was about Trump and his conspiracy theories.” These very conversations only remained in the limelight for a limited time.  History was about to be made in the matter of hours.

Donald Trump held  his “Save America” rally at 11am in front of the White House in protest to Congress certifying the electoral college results, which is little more than a formality. To many die-hard Trump supporters though this was seen as a symbolic last stand to alter the vote in their favor. During his rally, the commander-in-chief vowed “never to concede” his failure in the general election to thousands of his supporters there.

This statement was not a new one, and not what directly caused the impromptu insurrection. Trump’s refusal to admit defeat paired with his unfounded allegations of voter fraud have been in the ears of Americans for months. The directed attack of the Capitol was instigated by Trump when he closed off his speech saying, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol. And we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’ll probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.” (This is a direct quote and any errors in grammar are at no fault of High Post writers.)

Samuel Corum / Getty Images

The MAGA-marchers listened to their leader and followed suit. Thousands walked to the Capitol. They cheered and cheered. And they did a show of strength. Shortly after 2:30 congressmen and women, their staff, and reporters were forced to take shelter, and many buildings were forced to be evacuated due to potential bomb threats after hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of extremists broke their way into the Capitol building. 

Inside the Capitol building, rioting and looting occurred with viral media of people breaking in, of a man sitting in Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office, and another man stealing a podium. 

The chaos that engulfed the building claimed the lives of four Trump supporters. One woman, Ashli Babbitt, was shot by police as a mob tried to break through a barricaded door with armed officers on the other side. The three other fatalities were explained as “medical emergencies.” 

Trump, the instigator of the chaos, urged rioters on twitter to “go home now. We have to have peace.” Such pleas to his followers was most likely the secondary reason many left, ater the police use of chemical irritants.

Hours after the violence and after two pipe bombs were found at the DNC and RNC, a cooler containing a long gun, and a molotov cocktail the okay was given for Congress to reconvene.

The legislators were able to finalize Biden’s win early Thursday morning at 3:32, but the damage was already done. Many of Trump’s closest allies took the violence on January 6 as a final sign to abandon Trump as a way to save their political careers.

CNN reports Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said, “it’s past time for the president to accept the results of the election, quit misleading the American people, and repudiate mob violence.”

Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who had once backed Trump, said, “We witnessed today the damage that can result when men in power and responsibility refuse to acknowledge the truth. We saw bloodshed because the demagogue chose to spread falsehoods and sow distrust of his own fellow Americans.” 

Nearly all democrats and many republicans such as Representative Kinzinger are trying to remove Trump from the White House before he can do any more damage. More than three dozen are calling for his impeachment, and many republicans all over the country are also rallying to this call such as Vermont Governor Phil Scot. CNN reported that a well-placed GOP source claimed that many of Trump’s own cabinet members are discussing invoking the 25th amendment to remove him from office which allows the president’s cabinet and vice president to overthrow the current president if he is unfit to lead.

The cabinet condemned the chaos, but has not yet criticized Trump by name. Twitter and Facebook blocked Trump from utilizing their platforms to avoid more disinformation and instigations of further violence.

Perhaps in an act of self-preservation in the face of  much scrutiny, minutes after the certification of the democratic electoral win Trump acknowledged Biden will be president.“

Pullquote Photo

Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an order transition on January 20th,

— Donald J. Trump

” Trump said. He followed up his statement asserting, “While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make American Great Again.” 

Jim Mattis, Trump’s former defense secretary, wrote “Today’s violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump.” This view is not uncommon. Trump spread misinformation and rallied people to march on the Capitol and thus caused the chaos, which in turned caused the deaths of four people. As the story develops, actions for the future are still undecided, but it is highly likely there will be an attempt to remove the president from office before January 20.

Whether he leaves as planned January 20 or before then matters little. The damage that could have been done has occurred. Trump leaves a legacy of division and controversy. The only question that remains to be seen is if this is the infantile stage of right wing populism, or is this the end of Trumpian politics with the storming of the Capitol being the finale.