The ‘Oh Fuck’ Moment Is Finally Here for Trump’s Enablers
His mob wasn’t there to find evidence of fraud, or force legislators to listen to their grievances; they were there for the lulz. They were there because Trump had sent them.
Donald Trump's violent insurrectionist forces stormed the U.S. Capitol yesterday and, even after five long years of Trump’s increasingly obvious combination of evil and insanity, the disgust America felt at seeing his MAGA mayhem crew ransack the Capitol like redneck Visigoths was unexpectedly powerful.
As an anthropologist of the shittiest human being on the planet, a scholar of all Trump’s pathologies, a plumber in the vast deeps of his fuckwit necromancy, I should be past shock, but even I was appalled by not only the order to march on the Capitol spitting from his blubbery lips but by the organized teams of rioters who then invaded the House and Senate.
Watching the Capitol Police appear to open gates and doors for the mob—and even pose for selfies with members of the mob—was one of the more surreal parts of a surreal day, but once the Trump forces were in the building, the damage was done. Deaths, injuries, and chaos followed, with the seat of our national legislative branch reduced to just another set in Trump’s destructive reality television show. Driven by a combination of conspiracy fantasies, Trump berserkergang, and hatred of the two parties, the MAGA mob played the role we’ve seen in a hundred coups and collapses in the Third World: the invading rebels seizing the airfield, the radio station, the Palace of Justice, the Capitol building.
There’s a difference, though. Say what you will about MAGAism, at least it doesn’t have an ethos.
The invasion and seizure of the Capitol was a perfect extension of the nihilist trolling operation that’s replaced the Republican Party. They weren’t there to hold the territory. They weren’t there to find evidence of fraud, or force reluctant legislators to listen to their catalog of grievances; they were there for the lulz. They were there because Trump sent them.
Of course, no MAGA riot is complete without hatred of the press. “Murder the Media” graffiti appeared on a door to the House side of the Capitol complex. A crowd of MAGAs found a cache of Associated Press camera equipment and destroyed it, literally beating it with sticks, hoping in some way to kill the soul-stealing devil boxes that make the magic picture machines run. A number of Trump’s toadies elliptically condemned the violence, but not before blaming the media and big tech for hurting their delicate feels.
Even Trump’s bootlicks in the House and Senate realized that once gunfire is being exchanged in their building that shit had well and truly gone off the rails. By late Wednesday night, the breakdown of Trump-centric senators away from him was in full flower. Mitch McConnell, Trump’s most powerful enabler, insisted it was over. Former golf buddy Lindsey Graham tried desperately to get his soul out of hock. The “oh fuck” moment is finally here, a mere two weeks before Trumperdammerung arrives on Jan. 20.
But the shameless Sedition Caucus was largely unmoved. The men and women who brought this plague down on the Capitol by playing along with Trump’s lurid election-fraud fantasies were mostly still at it after the mob left and the lawmakers returned, their caucus shrunken slightly but still able to cause enormous damage.
Almost all of them want to run for office in 2022 or for president in 2024, and the violence today also rests on their doorsteps. They invited it. They engineered the continuation of the conspiracy claptrap Trump birthed. They ran on the hamster wheel of lies, trolling, Fox hits, and fundraising emails, burnishing their credentials as the natural heirs to the MAGA movement.
Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Tommy Tuberville, and the dozen or so who’d promised to fight the certification of the Electoral College votes in the Senate poured piles of gunpowder on the floor and waited for Trump to strike the match. They sought to delay and deny the Electoral College certification, and instead found themselves being hustled from the Chambers of the House and Senate by the Capitol Police. Mike Pence, in the unenviable position of being the ceremonial host of the proceedings, was already in deep shit with Trump. The arrival of MAGArauders in the Senate side led to the Secret Service hustling the hapless VP away.
The dark, spreading cancer at the center of this crisis is Donald Trump. Like all cancers, he's determined, persistent, and remorseless when it comes to destroying his host. There is no other analogy that truly fits this moment. The chaos and attention he craves is playing out on the streets with violent results.
Suddenly, Washington looks less like the shining city on the hill, the seat of the world's longest-running and most prosperous representative democracy, and more like a Third World capital in flames. And Trump’s base, mindless and grunting their “but muh fraud” mantra, did what a dictator’s mob does: pointed at a target, they let their sick momentum carry them where it will.
We must be clear about who these people are, what they want, and the necessity of stopping them.
These are not patriots; they’re anarchists. They're insurrectionists, not conservatives. They are shock troops from America's Saddam. Organized in a thousand Facebook groups and with a million bad ideas transmitted to their brains from Fox, OAN, Newsmax, and QAnon, we’re fortunate as a nation in only one respect—they’re not very good at revolution.