“And after this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you...”
-President Donald Trump, 1/06/2020
I worked in the United States Senate as Chief of Staff to United States Senator Norm Coleman. It remains one of the greatest privileges of my life to serve the people of Minnesota through my service to the Senator.
I walked the halls, corridors, and chambers that were the scenes of one of the greatest crimes against Democracy in my lifetime.
I am not much interested in people’s arguments that the effort to overthrow our government should be looked at in the same way as violent protests that took place over the summer of 2020, including those that took place in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
I condemned those riots. Unequivocally.
And, as though there is any equivalency to protests and marches to call attention to acts of police brutality and protests and marches to pay homage to the lies of a President who was defeated, fairly and overwhelmingly, at the polls.
Let us be clear this was a riot in honor of the President. Not to protect and preserve Democracy.
We are just now finding out how horrendous this attempted coup of our government was on that day.
We may find out more in the coming days and weeks just how much influence the President and his enablers had in creating the fire that nearly consumed our Democracy.
This much, though, is true: The President and those who spoke at the so-called “March to Save Democracy” incited the riot, inspired the coup, and must be held accountable for every lost life that day.
They may not have been at the Capitol doors; it may not have been their hands beating a police officer to death or roaming the corridors of the Capitol looking for a Vice President or Speaker of the House to “arrest” and hang. Still, it was most assuredly their handwork that day.
Here is the truth for those who wish to insist that none of the blood of this day should stick to the President.
Here is the reality for those whose own words brought death to the Capitol and dishonored their status as an American.
As rioters ran in and attacked the Capitol.
These people ran and hid while Police Officers fought for their lives and Democracy:
- Donald Trump
- Donald Trump, Jr.
- Rudy Giuliani
- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
- U.S. Congressman Madison Cawthorne
- U.S. Congressman Mo Brooks
- Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows
- Trump Advisor Dan Scavino
- Ivanka Trump
- Eric Trump
- Kimberly Guilfoyle
They spoke at the rally preceding the riots.
They stood inside a warm tent, laughing and dancing and whooping it up while soon-to-be-rioters stood outside.
They spoke lovingly of the assembled masses and called upon them to act and to fight.
Yet, when the marching, the fighting, and the dying were happening, where were they?
Where were they as rioters marched to the Capitol?
Where were they as Police Officers fought for their lives?
Where were they as members of Congress, their staff, and the Vice President of the United States of America were under assault?
They were hiding from the obscenity they created. They jumped on their private jets and flew back home. Or whisked away by the Secret Service to watch the attack against Democracy from the safety and security of the White House.
They are still hiding.
If this battle for the soul of Democracy was real, why was the President not front and center leading his army of “patriots.”
Where was the brave Rudy Giuliani, who called for “trial by combat?” and Kimberly Guilfoyle, who told rioters to “fight” as she danced with glee at the base of the United States Capitol?
They were hiding while the men and women they convinced that America’s Democracy is being stolen from them were actually trying to steal America’s Democracy from all of us.
And after they had wreaked the havoc in his name, the President of the United States had the audacity to throw them under the bus — blaming them, solely and unequivocally — and calling for their arrest and prosecution.
How quickly did the leader turn on his followers when responsibility for his work was in full view of the world.
I will not argue with anybody who wants to claim they have “evidence” that the election was stolen, rigged, or otherwise.
It does not exist.
It has never existed.
It is why not a single effort in front of America’s judicial system to overturn the election was successful.
It was not because courts did not want to see the “evidence.”
It is because there was not, and there is not any evidence to be seen.
Just because the President says it exists is not evidence.
Opinions are not evidence.
Tweets, social media posts, Mike Lindell, and any other purveyor of lies and falsehoods are not evidence.
I have as much interest as the next American in making sure our democracy and our electoral process is safe and secure.
Those we have entrusted to make it so have told us, over and over and again, that it was.
Republicans have said it. Democrats have said it. I believe them.
I understand that some are unhappy the President lost. I know that some believe he is the greatest President that has ever lived. I understand that some believe he was the man standing in front of the great socialist takeover of America.
I also understand that he lost the election.
He is one man.
He is not America.
If one believes that Donald Trump IS America, there will be no way to have an actual argument or discussion about what we must do to move America forward.
Here is something that nobody can dispute.
The President and the cast of characters I mentioned above had nothing but faux courage and guts on Wednesday, January 6, 2021.
There are no videos or pictures of them screaming at police officers and throwing rocks and crutches at doors and windows. No video of a them standing alongside the mob killing a police officer by throwing a fire extinguisher at his head. There is no visual evidence that they slammed a police officer’s head in the door.
There are no pictures of Rudy Giuliani engaged in trial by combat, or Kimberly Guilfoyle fighting for Democracy, or Donald Trump, Jr. leading a band of patriots through the chambers with zip ties in his hands, ready to take the Vice President and anybody else he could find into custody.
This is not my opinion.
These are the facts.
There is no disputing them.
Why do you suppose that President Trump and his children, their spouses and others were nowhere to be found leading the coup to overthrow America?
Fact: They weren’t brave enough to lead the riotous mob they directed to attack Democracy.
Fact: They were smart enough to run the other way and blame thousands of others for doing it.