Opinion: Trump instigated insurrection and should be removed

Cooper Holmberg, Opinions Editor

Who would think that the President of the United States would be partially to blame for a terrorist attack on the Capitol which resulted in five deaths, including the brutal murder of a federal law enforcement officer? Yet here we are.

Wednesday’s violence was unprecedented, but in hindsight not unexpected. In the past few years there have been constant indications of a large outpouring of right-wing violence. Signs appeared when Trump was asked to condemn white supremacy at a presidential debate and told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” Violence almost occurred before the FBI thwarted a plan by far-right terrorists to kidnap, hold a “trial” and likely execute Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year. Finally, it went on full display Wednesday when throngs of rage-filled terrorists stormed our Capitol building, fought with the city and Federal officers and took hold of the building for a few hours. The violence we saw on Wednesday was not surprising. Our president did nothing to prevent it.

President Trump holds the biggest responsibility for Wednesday’s riot. For months, the president has fueled the fire of election fraud lies. He has emboldened right-wing groups to resort to violence. Donald Trump could have stopped this before it happened. He didn’t and it’s his fault.

On Wednesday, to the crowd of soon to be rioters he exclaimed, “we are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we are probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them — because you will never take back our country with weakness.”

He did not explicitly tell them to lay siege to the Capitol building, but the president told the protestors to head towards the Capitol, he told them to be loud and make noise and he told them to take the country back. Additionally during the rally, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani stated, “Let’s have a trial by combat.” A clear promotion of violence. 

What happened Wednesday was not unexpected, though. It was a consequence of months and years of rhetoric from Trump and those who have egged him on. Trump and many of his base are complicit in spreading lies about the election that created the unrest we saw at the Capitol.

Trump knew his base had the capabilities to become violent. Trump knew his rhetoric was oftentimes false and almost always inflammatory. Trump knew he was throwing his own vice president under the bus by wrongfully claiming he could overturn the election. Trump knowingly advocated for insurrection against the United States of America. He clearly violated U.S. law. 

When you tell your base to not back down, to never give up, and to fight to save the country, what do you expect? When you incite violence, you create violence. When you promote insurrection against our most sacred democratic institution you are nothing but a traitor to the nation. 

The damage has been done and it is time for Congress to impeach and remove the president of the United States.