In the wake of a Trump-inspired insurrection in the nation’s capital, all that Jackie Walorski can muster – aside from giving aid and comfort to the insurrectionists – is an empty call for unity.
On January 6, 2021, Congress convened to carry out its sacred duty of counting the Electoral College votes. Previously a formality, the process became the target of a months-long campaign to overturn the election and kill what is left of American democracy.
President Donald Trump pressured the Republican governors of Arizona and Georgia to reverse their states’ election results, silencing millions of voters in the process. He repeatedly pressured the Georgia Secretary of State to put his finger on the scale and tip the election to him. In a now-infamous phone call, he instructed the Republican state official to “find 11,780 votes” – one more vote than he needed to overtake Biden in Georgia.
He waged an unsuccessful, multi-state campaign to disenfranchise millions more in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin – an effort that was soundly rejected in a conservative-dominated Supreme Court, a court where three of the justices are his own appointees.
When none of these outrageous attempts to silence American voters and nullify their votes bore fruit, he turned his attention to allies in Congress and his own Vice President – a former governor of Indiana – to reject state-certified election results. While Vice President Mike Pence upheld his oath to defend the Constitution, Jackie Walorski sided with Trump.
What we all witnessed on January 6 was a months-long attempted coup – a self-coup, to be more precise. As Fiona Hill writes for Politico, “Trump disguised what he was doing by operating in plain sight, talking openly about his intent. He normalized his actions so people would accept them.” She notes that “Trump’s goal was to keep himself in power, and his actions were taken over a period of months and in slow motion.”
When Trump’s subterfuge of the American political and legal system failed, he turned to the one remaining card that he had left: violence. He summoned a mob in Washington on January 6 with the help of allies in Congress and the media, riled them up with his repeated lies, and then unleashed the horde on Congress.
The MAGA mob overwhelmed Capitol Police and sent lawmakers fleeing for safety. Important questions remain about how exactly such a security breach could possibly happen on Capitol Hill when the rally was planned and violence anticipated. The question is less whether it was at least partially an inside job and more to what extent.
The Trump-inspired insurrection featured far-right extremists and white supremacists who wore shirts like “Camp Auschwitz” and “6 Million Wasn’t Enough.” The six million refers to the six million Jews that Nazis murdered during the Holocaust. They carried the Confederate battle flag – the flag of white supremacists and traitors – into our Capitol.
Trump’s message to these people? “We love you.“
The vandalism in the halls of Congress will be repaired, but the damage to our democracy is extensive. It will likely take decades for responsible patriots from both parties to bring us back from the edge of civil war.
In the face of domestic terrorism, all that Representative Jackie Walorski could offer was this incredibly spineless, tone-deaf, and duplicitous statement regarding impeachment:
In the wake of a divisive election and last week’s horrific attack on the U.S. Capitol, Congress should be entirely focused on uniting the American people and strengthening our country. Impeaching the president with less than a week left in his term will not advance either of these goals.
President Trump has pledged an orderly transition to President-elect Biden’s administration, and I call on all Americans to support this effort by remaining peaceful and rejecting all violence. Anyone who commits violent or destructive acts will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
Of course, Walorski knows that this statement is about as sincere as a Trump statement condemning violence a week after he inspired it. She knows that she was fanning the flames and giving comfort to insurrectionists. She just thinks that a majority of her constituents are too ignorant or willfully-blind to hold her to account for her actions.
Maybe she’s right? She is, after all, insulated from voters thanks to gerrymandering in a state where Republicans have supermajorities in Indianapolis. The GOP will draw the next Congressional map as well ahead of the 2022 elections.
Even for those who do understand the severity of what occurred on January 6 and the preceding months (indeed, the preceding years), I don’t believe that most Americans understand how extremely lucky we are that this plot failed. We only narrowly avoided a coup, martial law, and a potential civil war.
Had events occurred slightly differently – had bombs detonated in the Capitol (a truckload of bombs was found nearby) or the armed mob successfully breached the House and Senate chambers while lawmakers were present, we would be living in a starkly different world today. The insurrectionists weren’t there to hold hands and sing kumbaya with Pelosi and Pence. They were there to assassinate them, federal prosecutors have confirmed.
And there’s still plenty of time in his term for Trump and his most extreme supporters to wreak havoc, which is why impeachment is all the more necessary. Even once Trump is gone, there very likely will be years of right-wing and white supremacist terrorism – and these groups are already the leading cause of terrorism in the United States.
So, Jackie, spare us all the hollow talk of unity. You contributed to this insurrection, you gave comfort to insurrectionists, and you support a president who continues to assault our democracy, shatter our norms, and whose failed coup attempt will scar us for at least a generation.
You had the chance to speak truth to power. You had the chance to stand up for democracy and the rule of law. You had the chance to show that you take your oath seriously. You failed miserably.
And while you may have no respect for the intelligence of your constituents, this shameful chapter in American history makes crystal clear exactly who you are and what you represent.