“President Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress incited a violent attack Wednesday against the government they lead and the nation they profess to love. This cannot be allowed to stand,” The New York Times is reporting in an editorial.
“Mr. Trump’s seditious rhetoric prompted a mob of thousands of people to storm the U.S. Capitol building, some breaking onto the House and Senate floors, where the nation’s elected representatives had gathered to perform their constitutional duty of counting electoral votes and confirming the election of Joe Biden as president.
“It is fitting that some carried the Confederate flag as they attacked the seat of American government and forced the suspension of congressional debate. They shattered windows and broke doors, clashing with overwhelmed security forces as they shouted their support for Mr. Trump and their defiance of the lawful results of the 2020 election. One woman was killed. The nation’s leaders were sent scurrying for shelter.
“Explosives were found in the Capitol and multiple locations around Washington. Pro-Trump protests also shut down statehouses around the country.
“Mr. Trump sparked these assaults. He has railed for months against the verdict rendered by voters in November. He summoned his supporters to gather in Washington on this day, and encouraged them to march on the Capitol. He told them that the election was being stolen. He told them to fight. He told them he might join them and, even as they stormed the building, he declined for long hours to tell them to stop, to condemn their actions, to raise a finger in defense of the Constitution that he swore to preserve and protect. When he finally spoke, late in the day, he affirmed the protesters’ anger, telling them again that the election was stolen, but asking them to go home anyway. It was the performance of a man unwilling to fulfill his duties as president or to confront the consequences of his own behavior.
“The president needs to be held accountable — through impeachment proceedings or criminal prosecution — and the same goes for his supporters who carried out the violence. In time, there should be an investigation of the failure of the Capitol Police to prepare for an attack that was announced and planned in public.
“The Constitution requires Congress to count and announce the results of a presidential election on Jan. 6 of the following year. While the mob was able to put that process on hold, it will not be able to prevent it, or Mr. Biden’s inauguration in two weeks.
“But the attack is a reminder of the fragility of self-government.
“Jan. 6, 2021, will go down as a dark day. The question is whether, even as Mr. Trump’s time in office ends, America is at the beginning of a descent into an even darker and more divided epoch or the end of one. The danger is real, but the answer is not foreordained. Republican politicians have the power, and the responsibility, to chart a different course by ending their rhetorical assaults on American democracy and rising in defense of the nation they swore oaths to serve.”
The rest of the editorial is here.