I never thought I’d ever read this paragraph in an American paper:
“A mob of people loyal to President Trump stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, halting Congress’s counting of the electoral votes to confirm President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory as the police evacuated lawmakers from the building in a scene of violence, chaos and disruption that shook the core of American democracy.”
It’s the words “police evacuated lawmakers from the building” in The New York Times report that especially gave me the chills. I can see evacuating lawmakers because of a natural catastrophe or a terrorist attack—but because of angry protestors storming the gates? That is a new low. That is a desecration of a sacred national space.
As I write this, the Army is activating the entire District of Columbia National Guard — 1,100 troops — in response to a request from Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington. Several people have been injured and been taken to the hospital. Wherever this goes, this is a day that will live in infamy.
Sadly, we’re not sitting in a movie theater and watching a tense thriller about an out-of-control president. This is not the grand finale when all hell breaks loose, when the leader of the nation tells his followers at a rally a few hours before they stormed the gates, “We will never concede.”
This is real life.
But in an odd and tragic way, it’s par for the course for a reality television star-turned-president who revels in chaos. The very essence of chaos is that it has no limits. The more craziness and madness, the greater the chaos.
I wrote recently that when it became clear that Trump had lost the election, he was forced to face his worst nightmare– looking like a loser. For a brand-obsessed president, losing the status of “most powerful man in the world” is unbearable.
So he threw every weapon at his disposal to soften the blow and shift the story. He blamed the loss on election fraud. He showed his supporters he’d go down fighting to the bitter end. And, when push came to shove on the final day of certification, he held a rally and triggered chaos in the capital.
Seeing the madness, Trump himself must have realized he went too far when he tweeted:
“Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
A little late and a little lame, I would say. After his inflammatory rhetoric exhorting his supporters to go to the Capitol and register their discontent, what did he expect, a “peaceful” outcome?
Maybe, just maybe, the ugly scenes of his supporters storming the Capitol was a bridge too far even for a narcissistic president drowning in his pathos and hypnotized by his ego.
We all have our breaking points. We can only hope that Trump has reached his.
We all have our breaking points. We can only hope that Trump has reached his. When we get to a point where lawmakers are being evacuated from their legislative chambers, that concentrates the mind. There is nothing else to discuss.
For Trump, today is D-Day, Defeat Day. The only thing he must do now is restore order so lawmakers can complete their task.
The movie’s over.