Democracy Elections Trump

What Might Have Happened on January 6

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Consider what might have happened on January 6, 2021, if the members of the House and Senate had not been evacuated in time.

A CNN documentary on Sunday night (“The Trump Insurrection”) showed how close their escape was, as does this timeline in the New York Times. The Senate and House were both in session as the mob was battling the police inside the building. The Senate seems to have been moved first. The mob was trying to break through the doors of the House of Representatives while members were still on the second floor gallery. They were sheltering under their desks, lying on the floor, wearing gas masks, aware that the terrorists were trying to smash through the doors. The members seem to have gotten out only seconds or minutes before the terrorists broke in.

What if the terrorists had broken into the chambers while the members were still huddled on the floor? How many would have been taken hostage? How many would have been killed by the mob? Would Nancy Pelosi have been beheaded on national television? When you see the intensity of the mob, none of this seems unlikely. They were raging for blood. They chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” They wanted Pelosi. They wanted the House leaders. They wanted to capture and eliminate the leadership of the Congress.

White House aides said that Trump watched the spectacle with “enthusiasm.” He loves chaos and he got what he wanted. When he spoke of “American Carnage” in his inaugural address in 2017, we did not know it was a prediction of what he would create. When Trump was finally persuaded by his aides to tell his mob to go home, he added, “I love you. You are very special.” Not exactly discouraging words to a bloodthirsty mob.

Dozens of Capitol Police officers were injured. Two died, one when he was hit over the head with a fire extinguisher, the other by suicide. So far, the death toll is six. Will anyone be held accountable for this failed coup?

One Capitol Police officer, Eugene Goodman, has been hailed as a hero. He single-handly misdirected an angry mob away from the entrance to the Senate Chamber and led them up the stairs where reinforcements were waiting. His timely action may have saved the lives of the Senators.

Despite the mob violence, Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Josh Hawley emerged from their hiding places, along with several Senate colleagues, to vote against certifying the Electoral College count for Biden. They continued to peddle Trump’s Big Lie about voter fraud, knowing full well that it was a lie. Surely they did not believe that hard-right Republican governors like Doug Ducey of Arizona and Brian Kemp of Georgia “rigged” the vote for Biden. If Democrats were so successful at “rigging” the vote for president, why were they unsuccessful at doing the same for Senate seats? It defies the imagination. Cruz and Hawley are trying to draw support from the Trump world of the deluded and the gullible. Trump’s bottom line has been consistent since he starting running for president: If he lost the election, it was “rigged.” If he won, it was not “rigged.”

Was there a larger plot? Were members of the Trump administration or others complicit? We must wait for a thorough investigation before we can know the answers to those questions.

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