On Jan. 6, 2021, members of our Senate and House of Representatives met to fulfill their constitutional obligation to certify the vote of the Electoral College to elect the next president of the United States. The process was being carried out in its lawful form in the sacred halls of the Capitol when a ruthless mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. The mob's mission was to keep Donald Trump in power against the expressed will of American voters. This mob invaded the people's house and caused damage and destruction. They are also responsible for the deaths of five Americans, including a police officer.
Donald Trump must be held accountable for inciting this mob in a fruitless effort to disrupt and overthrow the United States Congress. At a rally on the National Mall, he told supporters to march to the Capitol and to fight for him. He told them he would be there to lead them. Trump knew the lies he had been spouting since his loss in November had a receptive audience. He knew his encouragement would lead to the mob action that we bore witness to on Wednesday. Trump's obvious goal was to use the actions of others to retain power for himself. What we saw on Wednesday was nothing less than an attempted coup and an assault on the democratic values and processes that we all hold dear.
Trump should not be allowed to continue another day as president. He should either resign, be removed by the invocation of the 25th Amendment or be removed by impeachment.
In addition, once Trump is out of office, there must be a thorough investigation of the events that led to the assault on the Capitol and a full prosecution of all of those responsible for it, including Trump. Anything less would open the doors to future wannabe dictators who wish to assault our sacred American institutions.
We must remember that Trump has not acted alone. For the past four years, he has been aided and abetted by all who have enabled him and actively or tacitly supported him in his actions. Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley and others have cravenly used Trump to further their own agendas while ignoring the stark warning signs of the clear and present danger to our democracy shown by Trump's actions and behaviors. Their support of Trump clearly gave him the feeling of invincibility in taking whatever actions he thought necessary to retain power.
Our 3rd District congressional representative, Chuck Fleischmann, has been one of the most ardent supporters and enablers of Trump. He has encouraged Trump and publicly supported his every endeavor that led up to the events of Wednesday. Sadly, even after the assault on the Capitol, Fleischmann continued his blind support of Trump by voting to reject the lawfully-certified Electoral College results. What's more, when asked by the media about Trump's responsibility for Wednesday's debacle, Fleischmann claimed that he didn't "know the details" because he was working so hard.
Fleischmann's loyalty to Trump and failure to speak out against him is enough to demand and expect his immediate resignation from office. Short of that, it should give all of us the determination to work even harder for his defeat at the polls in 2022. The people of the 3rd District deserve a representative who will work to defend and protect democracy. Fleischmann's disrespect of democracy is a clear sign his loyalty rests with Trump, not the rule of law and will of his constituents.
Jan. 6 was a dark day in American history. It was a stark reminder of how fragile American democracy is. In 1787, the American people embarked on a noble and daring experiment. Through the Constitution, the American people chose a method of governing that would reflect the will of the people. We have been reminded how quickly that form of government can be lost. We must evaluate and determine how we got to this point. We must hold accountable those who are responsible for this attack on our democracy. Then, we must dedicate ourselves to renewed vigilance to protect it. We must sit down together and work to reunify our nation so that the "last, best hope" will continue to be a shining beacon of democracy throughout the world.
Rodney Strong is chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.