Martin Schram: GOP hid truth from terrorist 'true believers'

Martin Schram, Tribune News Service on

Published in Op Eds

Joe Biden is standing in front of his official blue backdrop Thursday, framed by those white lettered reminders that he’s in his “Office of the President-Elect” – right where he constitutionally belongs.

“Out of all the peril of this moment, I want you to know … I remain so optimistic about America, as optimistic as I’ve ever been,” Biden is saying. “… Come Wednesday, we begin a new chapter …”

But as much as we want to be reassured by Biden’s words, we cannot stop thinking about what we know – and he knows – is mainly on our minds: At noon Wednesday, Biden will be taking the inaugural oath in an unprecedentedly fortressed Capitol. It will look nothing like America’s white-domed monument to democracy; it will necessarily look like a massively fenced, militarily barricaded dictatorship’s gulag. And we all know why.

Right-wing murderous terrorists are still in our midst, still locked-and-loaded, still vowing revenge because of the weeks and months and years of Donald Trump’s lies that they devoutly believe. Trump lies that he won the election in a landslide – says it was stolen from him. His terrorists vow to overturn it – by force.

They terrorize our homeland with the swagger and venality of an American ISIS. They will remain a clear and present danger to us all as long as they believe Trump’s lies. And as long as Trump’s right-wing Republican enablers and accessories seem to be confirming Trump’s lies every time they repeat them – and pretend to believe them, just so Trump won’t become their political enemy.

We have learned that on Jan. 6, security officers hustled Vice President Mike Pence out of the Senate just a minute or so before armed terrorists entered. Terrorists had vowed to kill or kidnap Pence after Trump denounced his own veep because he had to fulfill his constitutional duty to read the final Electoral College vote totals.

Stunning video journalism has shown us how venal the right-wing domestic terrorists can be. We remember seeing that fallen cop being beaten by a dark-bearded terrorist with a patriotic weapon — a thick wooden flagpole still wrapped by a U.S. flag. CNN identified the attacker as Peter Francis Stager, who is now charged for what he did — and just aired video of him proclaiming:

“Everybody in there (the Capitol) is a disgrace! That building is filled with treasonous traitors! Death is the only remedy for what’s in that building!” And his companion shouted: “Yes sir!”

The beaten Washington, D.C., police officer, Michael Fanone, 40, told CNN that the terrorists grabbed for his revolver. “They were screaming out, ‘Kill him with his own gun!’” But the officer said he shouted: “I have kids!” And the beating stopped.


We all remember the cop who was horribly crushed against a door, screaming in agony as he tried to keep the mob from entering the Capitol. The officer, Daniel Hodges, told CNN his attacker “was practically foaming at the mouth,” adding: “These people were true believers in the worst way!”

And we know who to blame. We must demand, right now, that Trump’s Republican enablers and accessories — the spineless ones who kept repeating Trump’s lies, who helped convince their fellow right-wingers to become Trump’s truest believers — finally tell the terrorists the truth.

Even hours after that Jan. 6 Capitol siege ended, when Congress was recaptured from the right-wing domestic terrorists, Trump’s enablers and accessories continued to say things and do things that would con the terrorists into continuing to believe Trump’s lies. In the end, 139 Republican members of the House (that’s two-thirds of the House GOP) and eight Republican senators still voted to reject electoral votes of states Biden won, but had been challenged by Republicans. They know former Attorney General Bill Barr was right when he conceded he found no evidence to support any of Trump’s baseless election claims.

It is impossible to believe that any of those Republicans in Congress were so clueless they actually believed Trump’s lies. They feared Trump’s political reprisals. They have seen how cruelly Trump can turn on his own loyalists.

Demand that your senators and representatives must tell the terrorists Trump deceived them. Demand that they admit they did too. Demand it and return peace to our nation’s capital, your state capitals.

It is time for all players to play this hand with their cards face up. Bid No Trump.


©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



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