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Edelman: Trump must go after inciting insurrection, time for conservatives to cleanse themselves | COMMENTARY

Last week was one of the darkest in American history. In 1814, Britain was at war with America; they occupied and torched the White House and the Capitol. Last week, America was at war with its president, who called for militant mobs to march on the Capitol, which they did, with mayhem in their hearts.

Millions of words will be written analyzing this invasion of Washington, what led up to it, what happened last Wednesday afternoon, and how Americans and their government reacted to the seditious words and deeds of Donald Trump and his fanatics, many of whom hold seats in Congress and state governments. However much is written, the anguish the Party of Trump inflicted on our nation will remain long after he is removed from office, be it by impeachment, resignation, or invocation of the 25th Amendment.

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The case has been made, the evidence compelling: even eight days is too much time to allow Trump to stay in office. He still has all the powers of the presidency and the history of misusing them for his own personal gain, no matter the consequences to America, our democratic traditions, and our country’s well-being. He persistently pushes his deluded message, “rigged election,” the very words he used to whip his followers into the frenzy that resulted in the siege of the Capitol. Reports continue to come out describing Trump’s state of mind as “agitated.” Last Friday, former Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy said he is “a man who has clearly demonstrated he’s in a very dangerous frame of mind. … Given his unpredictability and his willingness to put his own interests ahead of the United States interests, you can’t rule that [military action] out as a possibility.”

The major social media outlets — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest ― stripped him of his privilege to spread his lies on their sites. They fear the damage he can incite through them. Google and Apple block downloads of two other social media apps, Parler and Gab, from their app stores. They fear that Trump and his surrogates would continue using those sites to spread more lies and incite further disturbances. They have already pushed the fantasy that “Antifa infiltrators” did all the damage on Wednesday. They criticized those actions as trying to curtail his First Amendment free speech rights. They are wrong. Also, there’s strong evidence that social media sites were used to plot the siege. Trump’s extreme right-wing anarchist allies discussed tactics online to “storm and occupy Congress,” use zip ties to handcuff members of Congress, and disrupt Biden’s confirmation. Twitter said it is “concerned about contributing to a possible ‘secondary attack’ on the U.S. Capitol and state government facilities the weekend of Jan. 16-17.”

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ABC News polling conducted over the weekend shows that 56% of Americans favor Trump’s removal, while only 43% support him. Even more damaging to him are bipartisan calls for him to step down. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R- Alaska) said: “I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage. If the Republican Party has become nothing more than the party of Trump, I sincerely question whether this is the party for me.” Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) said on “Meet the Press,” “The best way for our country is for the president to resign and go away as soon as possible.” Former Trump advisor Chris Christie said if he were in Congress, he would vote in favor of impeachment. “I think if inciting to insurrection isn’t impeachable, then I don’t really know what is.” Even Lindey Graham (R-South Carolina) has broken with Trump.

Sunday, House Speaker Pelosi announced she would introduce a resolution calling on Vice President Pence to invoke steps within 24 hours to remove the president under the 25th Amendment. The vice president is said to be waiting to see if Trump becomes “more unstable.” If Pence doesn’t act, the House will introduce a resolution of impeachment. As of the time of writing, how this unfolds remains in the future. What’s absolutely certain is the president will continue to come under heavy pressure to step aside. His only support will come from the loyalists who voted to support his lies in the House and Senate; shamefully, Maryland Rep. Andy Harris is among them.

Whatever Trump’s future may be, he has irreparably fractured the Republican Party, to the detriment of the country. The Republican brand is stained by those elected officials who continue to support his lies, his attempts to overturn a free and fair election, and most recently, by the lethal insurrection he instigated. Republicans need to renounce a significant portion of their base to cleanse themselves of the influence QAnon, Proud Boys, Newsmax, Infowars, and all the other scummy rabblerousers loyal to Trump, but not democracy or even conservative ideas.

Mitch Edelman, vice chairperson of the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee, writes from Finksburg. His column appears every other Tuesday. Email him at mjemath@gmail.com.

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