Contrast his cowardice with the courage of some of the people he sent into battle on his behalf. Ashli Babbitt, 35, became the first martyr for the cretinous religion of QAnon. A 14-year veteran of the Air Force, she was shot point-blank by a plainclothes security officer while in the act of lunging over a barricade of furniture in an interior section of the Capitol. (She was at the front of an armed insurrectionist mob. That officer could reasonably expect that she was not lunging to shake his hand.) Lunging at a man who is pointing a gun at you is suicidally brave, and I suspect that Babbitt—like Trump, apparently—believed all the stupid tales she promoted. The difference is that she died for them, and around the same time, Trump spent nearly half an hour hiding from former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
David A. Graham: This is a coup
(2) The republic stands undefended against internal enemies. If you do not regularly enter the Capitol, you might think it is guarded like a prison for supervillains, with many layers of security and hidden barracks of perimeter-defense teams who can mobilize and fend off a mob. In fact, it is only slightly more heavily guarded than an international airport. (I like it that way. The building belongs to me and to you, and I want it to be as open as possible.) Whoever was in charge of anticipating threats to yesterday’s proceedings failed to understand that large numbers of citizens feel that they can disrupt the basic functions of our democracy with impunity. The photographs of a QAnon supporter, shirtless and wearing a pelt, posing at the rostrum of the president of the Senate suggest that these people think they will be Instagram-famous. They should be in prison.
(3) The coup attempt did not begin when the crowds started smashing the windows of the Capitol. It started an hour earlier, when Representative Paul Gosar, a Republican from Arizona, complained—without even the pretense of a legitimate case—that his state’s Electoral College votes had been stolen. To lodge a complaint, even without merit, is Gosar’s right, as it is Senator Ted Cruz’s, or Senator Josh Hawley’s. It was also Hawley’s right to encourage the crowd that would later breach the Capitol, as he did, pumping a fist at them as he went in to take his stand against American democracy. I do not believe that any of these men thought their chambers would be overrun, or that a woman would be shot. But they started yesterday’s whole sick show, and Congress should censure or expel them for their role. For more than four years, we have wondered when the ever-elusive “Have you no shame?” moment would come. Senator Mitt Romney has begun summoning that dudgeon, and if he continues to dish it, other Republican senators will join faster than some might expect. (Senator Mitch McConnell’s speech, resuming the Senate’s business after the sack of the Capitol, was the senator at his dry and humorless best, without an ounce of patience for the “thugs, mobs, [and] threats” from the “insurrection” and “unhinged crowd” that had obstructed Congress.)