Trump pushes U.S. democracy toward a death spiral
First Voice

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The biggest security threat to the United States is now Donald Trump. The president, who refused to concede an election that he had lost, incited a deadly insurrection attempt against the U.S. Congress. Even before this violence, Trump had tried to overturn the 2020 election results by launching a slew of law suits. And then, he was caught on tape trying to bully the Georgia's secretary of state to "find" more Republican votes because he believes he won the state.

Now, Trump is accused of sedition.

In full public view, Trump egged an armed mob to march to the Capitol at a rally outside the White House, then watched from the Oval Office as his supporters stormed to the Capitol, breached security and disrupted the joint session of the House of Representatives and Senate to certify Joe Biden as the next president of the United States. Trump did nothing as his supporters draped a Trump flag over the Capitol balcony, ransacked offices, and tried to break down the doors of the House chamber.

As Trump watched, his own officials pleaded him to condemn the violence. But the president made no public comment until after a woman was shot and killed. Even then, Trump did not denounce the violence. Instead, he repeated his claim on Twitter that the election had been stolen, told his supporters it was time to go home, adding "We love you. You're very special." Twitter, Facebook and Instagram locked Trump out of his social media accounts for 24 hours, citing their rules against inciting violence.

Police with guns drawn watch as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 6, 2021. /AP

Police with guns drawn watch as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 6, 2021. /AP

The special session of Congress resumed later in the day, with Vice President Mike Pence condemning the violence, but didn't call out the president by name.

The U.S. remains dangerously divided, with polls showing three quarters of Republicans and a third of Americans distrusting the election's result, even though the conservative-majority Supreme Court, which has three justices appointed by Trump, has rejected the president's fraud claims, along with dozens of other courts.

But facts have hardly mattered to Trump or his supporters. In the wake of the violence, there have been scattered calls to impeach Trump or remove him from office under the 25th Amendment. However, Republicans long ago showed they were afraid or unwilling to stand up to the president's ever-growing recklessness.

To quite a lot of people in the U.S., those who swarmed the Capitol will be considered patriots, not insurrectionists, and Trump a hero. Hours before the violence, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned "if this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We'd never see the whole nation accept the election again."

His warning came too late. Over the past four years, McConnell has had many opportunities to stand up to Trump and put an end to the president's reckless actions, but he made the decision to ignore principle in exchange for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to achieve cherished Republican goals, including filling the court with conservative judges.

Now, U.S. democracy is in danger. President-elect Joe Biden, McConnell and his fellow Republican Sen. Mitt Romney all referred to the Trump supporters' actions as an "insurrection." The world is now watching how they shall act on this statement.

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