Our Democracy Was Pushed to the Brink

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The madness and treason that’s consumed the Party of Trump has a face: And it belongs to a former Pennsylvania state lawmaker.

On Wednesday, on a day that thugs and domestic terrorists bent on overthrowing the results of a lawful election stormed the United States Capitol with laughable ease, Rick Saccone, who once swore an oath to uphold the law and the constitution, tried to justify the unjustifiable.

“We are storming the Capitol,” Saccone, a former state House member who hails from outside Pittsburgh, brayed in a now-deleted Facebook post. “Our vanguard has broken through the barricades. We will save this nation. Are you with me?”

Saccone boasted that he and his fellow extremists were “trying to run out all the evil people that are in there, and all the RINOs [Republicans in name only] who have betrayed our president. We’re going to run them out of their offices. We’re calling on Vice President [Mike] Pence to support our president. Look at all these people here … hundreds of thousands. The fake news media won’t tell you how many people are here. But I’m telling you that there are hundreds of thousands of people here to support our president and save our nation.”

Just a couple of years ago, Saccone staged an unsuccessful bid for Congress, losing to Democrat Conor Lamb. A man who once aspired to walk the halls of the Capitol now proposed to sack it.

We know what resulted from the brain-dead posturing of Saccone and his fellow extremists: It resulted in Capitol Police, their guns drawn, guarding the doors to the House chamber, as people desperately hid behind desks and chairs. It resulted in an angry mob swarming, seemingly unchallenged, through the halls of the Capitol. And it resulted in the deaths of four people.

It was a coup. It was an insurrection.

And it was all based on a lie, incited and perpetrated by President Donald Trump, and propagated by loyal flunkies across every level of government, that a free and fair election – despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary – was somehow riddled with widespread fraud.

Going into Wednesday’s quadrennial vote count, dozens of Republicans in the House, joined by colleagues in the Senate, planned to object to the vote count.

It was a cynical, pointless exercise, pursued by at least two people, Senators Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who have White House aspirations.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, after hours of terrifying violence, the House and Senate reconvened in a shaken Capitol. Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were respectively certified as president and vice president. Despite that unprecedented attack, the wheels of government continued to turn.

The dust had hardly settled when Democrats, and at least one Republican, were raising the specter of impeachment or invoking the 25th Amendment to remove from office a president, who, let’s be totally clear, incited his followers to attack the United States government.

Trump begrudgingly announced Thursday that he would offer a smooth transition, even as he continued to spread lies about the election, and vowed that his fight was just beginning, raising the horrifying specter of more violence on Jan. 20 when Biden and Harris are inaugurated.

He has to go. Now.

Trump’s flunkies on Capitol Hill have exactly one chance to redeem themselves.

If the congressional GOP is truly a party of law and order, if they cherish the Constitution as much as they claim, they have to step up to unambiguously demand that the extremists who stormed the Capitol Wednesday be brought to justice.

And they have to support calls for impeachment or removal through the 25th Amendment.

And Saccone? He resigned his post as an adjunct professor at a small college outside Pittsburgh after the school investigated his Facebook video, KDKA-TV reported Thursday.

One way or another, Trump will be joining him on the unemployment line. But it needs to be as soon as possible

Copyright 2020 John L. Micek, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
An award-winning political journalist, John L. Micek is Editor-in-Chief of The Pennsylvania Capital-Star in Harrisburg, Pa. Email him at jmic[email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek.