Trump’s Stupid Coup Was as Successful as His Presidency
Yes, it was dangerous and horrifying. But what it mostly did was to scare Republicans into certifying Joe Biden’s win.
It started with ambitious (and moronic) Missouri Senator Josh Hawley giving the protesters a clenched-fist salute and ended with Boris Johnson tweeting about “Disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress. The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.” But in between those two events a lot of stupid ensued.
It was a coup worthy of a reality television host, a train to nowhere packed with morons that ended with the death of at least one protester, and it all happened during a global pandemic. The chaos started on the morning of Jan. 6 with a “stop the steal” rally on the National Mall. Speakers included the president’s free lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who said, really, “Let’s have trial by combat! I’m willing to stake my reputation, the president is willing to stake his reputation on the fact that we’re going to find criminality there.” For those keeping track at home, “trial by combat” is not something we do in a democracy. The president’s large adult son mused about “red-blooded, patriotic Americans” and noted that they were “for standing up to the bullshit.” Then he cursed so much that Fox News dropped the feed.
And then Trump Sr. delivered the coup de coup, declaring, “We will never give up. We will never concede. It will never happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.”
Soon after a pack of Trump supporters—some waving Confederate flags, some waving Trump flags, few wearing masks—marched on the Capitol. Their goal was… what, exactly? Well, in typical Trump fashion, none of them really knew. Certainly, they wanted to disrupt the certification of the election, but to what end? Mitch McConnell had already said that he would certify the election and Democrats had the votes to pass the certification in the House.
But what ensued was a tableau of stupid. A red-haired guy wearing a ski hat emblazoned with Trump 45 was photographed stealing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s podium while smiling and waving for the camera. A guy who looked like he had just stepped out of an episode of Duck Dynasty posed for photos in a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt. And then there was “Bigo” Barnett showing off an envelope addressed to Nancy Pelosi that he stole from her desk. He told Matthew Rosenberg of The New York Times that he didn’t steal it because “I left a quarter on her desk.” That’s not actually how stealing works. And then there was the guy with no shirt wearing an animal skin and horns. He had painted his face red, white and blue, as one does. And the crowd trashed a bunch of Associated Press equipment while a guy in the group screamed "We are the news now!” Which, nope.
It was a day full of sound and fury, signifying nothing but the end of peaceful transfers of power in America. There was no endgame, no world in which Biden isn’t confirmed as president on Jan. 20, but the chaos that reigned in the United States Capitol today won’t be soon forgotten. Congressmen hid in their offices, the vice president and numerous politicians were evacuated, shots were fired in congressional office buildings.
An armed standoff took place on the floor of the House of Representatives. And we know what happened was really fucking bad because Twitter locked Trump’s account for 12 hours and Facebook removed his video declaring it “an emergency.” Imagine how bad it had to be for tech companies to do something.
It was in many ways the perfect bookend to the Trump presidency, democracy-eroding and norm-crushing. But like infrastructure week or Mexico paying for the wall, it was finally just a pipe dream on the part of his vicious and deluded supporters. The only good thing about Trump’s coup is that it scared establishment Republicans into certifying the election as fast as possible.
Will they invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him? Probably not. But should they? Absolutely.