Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), One of the president’s staunchest supporters, said bluntly: “It is time the president accepted the election results, stopped misleading the American people and opposed mob violence. “Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) Said he didn’t want to hear from Trump:” It was a tragic day and he was part of it. “
“I’ve been here a long time,” added Blunt, a former House majority leader. “This could be the day I am most concerned about what America is projecting for the rest of the world today.”
And GOP Conference Chair of the House, Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Who carefully crafted her criticism of Trump over the past year, didn’t shred a word: “There’s no question that the President formed the mob, the president instigated the mob, the resident spoke to the mob. He lit the flame, ”Cheney said on Fox News, speaking from a safe place after he was evacuated.
Wednesday’s violent episode marked the culmination of two months in which Trump lit the flames by making false allegations of widespread election fraud and refusing to allow the election. While most Senate Republicans failed to adopt Trump’s rhetoric, the majority of them waited until the December 14th vote to recognize Joe Biden as president-elect after a string of Trump losses in court.
And even for weeks after that, most Republicans refused to condemn Trump’s language or demand a peaceful transfer of power. That finally changed on Wednesday and even those who recognized Biden took their criticism of Trump to a new level.
“We saw today the harm that can be caused when men in power and responsibility refuse to acknowledge the truth. We saw bloodshed because the demagogue decided to spread lies and sow distrust of his own American fellow citizens,” railed Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa), who supported Trump.
Four years after Trump’s election, the Republicans have now lost the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Trump has signaled his plans to remain a force in the GOP, but now the party must decide whether to continue hugging the ousted president or finally move on. During his presidency, Trump presented every issue as a personal test of loyalty and few Republicans challenged him who still wanted to pursue their political careers.
But the plan to object to electoral college certification has been too much for many in the GOP. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), a former chief of staff to Senator Ted Cruz, admitted his move against Trump “could sign my political death warrant. So be it.” The speech earned him applause from his democratic colleagues.
Cotton selected his colleagues, including Josh Hawley of Missouri and Cruz, who had charged the Senate with objecting to the certification of Biden’s victories. He demanded that “the senators and officials who lit the flames by encouraging the president and leading their supporters to believe that their objections could reverse the election result should withdraw those objections”.
In that statement, Cotton sounded a bit like Mitt Romney. The Utah Senator may be a different generation of Republicans and not a Trump supporter, but he and Cotton agreed on that.
GOP Trump supporters who have tried to block Biden’s certification are “forever viewed as accomplices in an unprecedented attack on our democracy,” Romney said after staring at Hawley. “You will be remembered for your role in this shameful episode in American history.”
Romney and Cotton got their wish. Opponents of the affirmation of Biden’s victory melted away after the day of chaos, panic and fear in the Capitol. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) Said, “Obviously there is a slightly different attitude in the face of events.”
“Today things have changed drastically. Whatever you said before, that should be enough, ”said Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Who had previously spoken out against the confirmation of Biden’s victory. “Leave this ugly day behind us.”
Ultimately, only six Republicans supported the Arizona certification challenge. The number should be twice that before the uprising. Even so, Hawley planned to still question the Pennsylvania results.
Perhaps the most amazing sign of how quickly the Republican Party’s stance had changed, Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) Withdrew her objection to certification to Democrat Raphael Warnock just hours after losing her seat. She received some applause after saying that she could not “with a clear conscience” disagree with the voters. Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) And James Lankford (R-OKla.) Also reversed course and said they would do the same .
It was a day McConnell was already scared of, but it ended up so much worse than he could ever have imagined. He warned his caucus last month that contesting the January 6 election results would be a “terrible vote” and phrased it as a decision of conscience. At the start of Wednesday’s session, the Kentucky Republican was clear and played a leading role in the reluctance to oppose Trump’s conspiracy theories.
“This will be the most important vote I will ever cast,” McConnell said just before the rioters stormed the Senate. “I’m not going to pretend such a vote is a harmless gesture of protest while relying on others to do the right thing.”
The entire GOP has not come out of Trump’s grip, however.
Across the Capitol, Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., And Steve Scalise, R-La., Minority Leader of the House, along with a majority of the House Republicans, voted to challenge the Arizona vote. And even before the Capitol got into chaos, some GOP members grumbled privately about McCarthy’s advice to some of the new Republicans to join some of the objections.
McCarthy said he had “the saddest day I ever served as a member of this institution,” but he did not blame Trump’s shoulders.
MP Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) Went on and suggested without evidence that some of the rioters “disguised themselves as Trump supporters and were in fact members of the violent terrorist group Antifa”. He was greeted with groans and groans on the floor of the house.
MP Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Who long condemned Trump’s dangerous rhetoric, called on McCarthy and McConnell to “violently denounce” Trump’s actions. In another tweet, he also said, “Executives who led this should all step down so the adults and fortune-tellers can #RestoreOurGOP.”
And the criticism didn’t just come from the usual corners of the GOP. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Who normally makes no waves on Capitol Hill, said Trump “lied” to his supporters and “held responsibility” for today’s “attempted coup”.
Freshman Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), Who had just recaptured a GOP seat in a hard-fought race, pleaded straight to Trump: “Mr. President, enough is enough. This is not a protest, this is anarchy. Leave Twitter and work to restore the peace to the Capitol. “
And Rep. Brad Wentsrup (R-Ohio), who was present at GOP baseball practice when it was shot dead in 2017, said, “No one in any leadership position, including the president, should make an apology for this violent and destructive behavior. ”
Even Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), A close ally of Trump who even asked about election procedures in Georgia on Trump’s behalf, had it. In a fiery speech, the South Carolina Senator concluded: “All I can say is that I count myself, enough is enough.”
“I, and especially others on this body, must say so. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were legally elected to become President and Vice President of the United States on January 20,” he said.