Trump’s rhetoric, the flag and God blind his supporters to reality

It’s well known Donald Trump is a bad loser.

But this isn’t golf. When you’re president of the United States your words have consequences.

It was clear Donald Trump had a hunch he might lose the election. He began to sow the seeds of mistrust early on that postal voting – more used by Democrats – was subject to widespread fraud. A method of voting that was increasingly necessary in a pandemic in one of the worst hit countries in the world by COVID-19.

Two months on from the presidential election, I think few would have predicted it would have gone this far. Appearing at a “Save America” rally in front of the White House and encouraging his supporters to descend on Capitol Hill. Nudging them to march in defence of their democracy – in an election senior Republicans, his former attorney general, and the conservative-led Supreme Court ruled to be fair.

One thing we do know about Donald Trump is his supporters adore him. He called them to march and march they did storming the Capitol building full of elected officials carrying out their constitutional duties.

Image:Trump urged supporters to ‘save America’

The siege forced his vice president to be taken to a secure location, senators evacuated and members of Congress ordered to wear gas masks.

The scenes shocked America. The world was watching. It was a sobering moment for the country.

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One woman was shot dead and three others died in “medical emergencies” in the effort to protest the “rigged” election.

What is now unclear is how Congress may retaliate. With two weeks left in office could Donald Trump somehow be removed for such an assault on democracy?

Image:Trump supporters surge into the Capitol building

“We’re not going to let them bully us out of an election. We’re standing out here and protesting as long as it’s peaceful,” one man tells me. When I put to him that a woman has died and asked if Donald Trump may be to blame for his inflammatory language he replies: “I believe that he’s been responsible because he endorses the police. He enforces law and order.”

Some of the speak often feels clichéd. Donald Trump understands the art of repetition and it’s regurgitated back time and time again.

“Our freedom is being stripped from us. Everything is being taken from us. If we can’t have a fair election then what else do we have?” Says Jemecia, a young woman protesting with a friend next to armed police surrounding the United States Capitol. “We believe in the flag, the constitution and God and we want all that put back into politics.”

Image:‘Our freedom is being stripped from us’

After law enforcement took back control of Capitol Hill, Congress returned to their posts to continue the election certification through the night. It’s usually a formality but there is nothing conventional about this transition of power.

The next two weeks feel tense and unpredictable.

Joe Biden will succeed Donald Trump and become the 46th president of the United States. It’s just not yet clear what will be involved in removing the 45th from office.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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