Few living have seen a more disgraceful day at the U.S. Capitol than Wednesday, when thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump, whipped into a frenzy beyond reason after months of lies about the election, bashed their way into the building in a deadly spectacle that will live in infamy.
But in a way, the worst was yet to come.
The horror of a violent mob, set to its work by the president of the United States, rampaging through the Capitol, fighting with police, shattering windows and doors and ransacking offices, did nothing to convince Virginia’s Republican congressmen — U.S. Reps. Ben Cline, Bob Good, Morgan Griffith and Rob Wittman — that maybe voting against certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s clear and convincing win in several states, thus perpetuating Trump’s baseless election delusions, wasn’t what the country needs at the moment. Griffith even had the stones to get indignant about Republicans getting called out for lying about the election results.
Rather than admitting, as Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham mercifully did, that “enough is enough,” they selfishly decided that their political futures would be best served by pandering to the very people who had just committed an outrage the likes of which had not been seen since a 1954 terrorist attack or the British sack of Washington in the War of 1812.
We should all be embarrassed that none of the Republicans of the Old Dominion, with its long history of statesmanship, could muster the courage of U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, a Texas Republican and a staunch conservative, who refused to go along with the crowd, even if it meant signing his “political death warrant.” (Cline, Griffith and Wittman also signed onto a failed lawsuit trying to overturn election results in four battleground states.)
Wittman joined Cline, Griffith and Good and other Republicans to overturn the will of Pennsylvania voters.
So Wittman didn’t have a change of heart after the domestic terrorism at the U.S. Capitol. https://t.co/qf9STboAvP
— Amy Friedenberger (@AJFriedenberger) January 7, 2021
In all likelihood, none of them actually believe that Trump won the election or that there was any kind of legitimate argument against its validity.
It is certainly contemptible, but also almost pitiable, to be so bereft of principle that you knowingly help perpetuate a fantastical lie because you fear so much telling your constituents the truth: that Donald Trump lost fair and square. That there were no irregularities, mass voter fraud, voting machine skullduggery, ballot destruction or any of the other nonsensical claims the president has raised and which have been rejected by virtually every court they have been presented to, Republican election officials at the state level and even by Trump’s own attorney general.
How dare they act surprised that the people in this violent mob believed them.
Donald Trump lit the flame, but it was Republicans in Congress who handed him the match. It is reckless and unforgivable.
— Rep. Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) January 7, 2021
Surely these guys know the bit about gaining the world only to lose one’s soul. What do they stand to gain for debasing themselves so irrevocably for a man who does not care about them, his followers or anyone except himself? Keeping their front-row seat as the minority party gnashes its teeth impotently over the next few years? Owning the libs?
Is it worth it?
I hope so. Because everyone will remember where they stood on Wednesday night, despite their pathetic statements deploring the fact that the people they’ve been helping to radicalize for years — on abortion, immigration, gun control, religion and a host of other wedge issues — actually went and did the damn thing. And it’s not hard to see how priming their party faithful to ignore basic facts, all available evidence and common sense might come back to haunt them in their own future endeavors.
The GOP’s bargain with Trump was always a Faustian one and here we behold the hellish result.
You bear responsibility and should resign in shame.
— Brennan Gilmore (@brennanmgilmore) January 6, 2021
As The Roanoke Times put it, “given their own way, many Republicans would overturn an election that didn’t go their way either because their commitment to democracy is too weak or their commitment to a single man is too strong.”
They’ve lost the right to talk about law and order. They’ve lost the right to talk about election integrity, or integrity of any kind. They’ve lost the right to talk about the Constitution.
We all watched the GOP’s rough beast slouch toward Bethlehem Wednesday. And we won’t forget it.