The scene that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol yesterday—an insurrection in all of its ugliness, all of its violence, and all of its kaleidoscopic horror—is the responsibility of Donald Trump. But it doesn’t stop there.
It is also the responsibility of countless of his aides and supporters, those in right-wing media and Trump’s evangelical backers, “intellectuals” and pseudo-historians, Republicans in Congress and outside it, all of those who have stood with Trump at every moment in his corrupt and corrupting presidency. It is the responsibility of Trump allies who attacked those who warned that Trump was malicious and malignant; who said that he was an institutional arsonist who would do grave damage to the nation; who warned about his race-baiting, his constant provocations, the psychic delight he took in dividing Americans and stoking grievances; and who raised concerns because Trump’s sociopathic tendencies might lead him, and those who followed him, to very dark places.
President Trump is the architect of this insurrection, but so are his acolytes.
Donald Trump has been deformed and deranged for much of his life. It has been the pattern of his life to lie and to cheat, to intimidate and hurt others, to act without conscience, to show no remorse, and to make everything about himself. None of this was a secret when he ran for president, and certainly none of it was a secret once he became president. His viciousness, volatility, and nihilism were on display almost from the moment he took office. As president, he has acted just as one would have expected. He has never deviated from who he is.