A violent mob forced its way into the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, disrupting the joint session of Congress to receive and count Electoral College votes. Thankfully, within a few hours, the halls of the Capitol were cleared. On Jan. 7, 2021, Congress was able to finish certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ win.
Still, this was a sobering reminder about how vulnerable our country’s democracy can be.
The violence that occurred at the Capitol was undeniably and inexcusably incited by the outgoing president of the United States, President Trump. It was an attack on one of our democracy’s most hallowed institutions, in violation of the sacred covenant between the government and its people.
Trump has refused to accept the verdict of the American people in an election that every state has certified, even after recounts, court challenges, and investigations for fraud overseen by Attorney General Bill Barr, who he appointed himself.
Due to the president’s campaign to discredit the election, millions of Americans have been falsely convinced that the election was stolen, despite all evidence to the contrary.
Trump repeatedly urged tens of thousands of supporters to come to Washington on the day the Congress was counting the results of the Electoral College for a “wild” time. Then, he and his agents spoke at the rally and incited the crowd to go to the Capitol.
Additionally, the president publicly called on Vice President Mike Pence to commit unconstitutional acts and attacked him for refusing. These actions deeply wound our democracy and go to the heart of the president’s violation of his oath of office.
Trump’s words and actions show that he is an active and immediate threat to our democracy. He should immediately be removed from office. His conduct shows that he cannot be trusted with public office. Pence should serve out the remainder of his term, and Congress should work to ensure that Trump can never hold federal office again.
We have a duty as Americans to accept the results of elections, even if the candidate we supported does not win. This means creating the conditions necessary for a peaceful transition of power to the next president, who will officially be inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021.
While it’s a relief that a violent attempt to prevent the counting of electoral votes failed this time, the fact it was encouraged by the president and attempted by the crowds he summoned to Washington reflects a deeper decay in public confidence in our democracy.
Our country is at an inflection point, with the whole world watching what we will do next. Our leaders must stand up now and reject the poisoning of our democracy.