Will Trump and His Republican Allies Ever Face Consequences?
On Wednesday, a mob of President Trump’s supporters acting at his behest — some boasting Confederate flags, nooses and a shirt that read “Camp Auschwitz” — launched a destructive assault on the Capitol that led to the police fatally shooting a woman in the halls of Congress. Even before the building was declared secure, the nation’s attention was turning to the question of consequences.
“Historian of coups and right-wing authoritarians here,” wrote Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a professor of history at New York University, on Twitter. “If there are not severe consequences for every lawmaker & Trump govt official who backed this, every member of the Capitol Police who collaborated with them, this ‘strategy of disruption’ will escalate in 2021.”
“我是研究政变和右翼独裁者的历史学家，”纽约大学(New York University)的历史教授露丝·本-吉亚特(Ruth Ben-Ghiat)在Twitter上写道。“如果每个支持此事的议员和特朗普政府官员，以及每个里应外合的国会警察都不承担后果的话，那么这种‘破坏战略’将在2021年升级。”
What should those consequences be? Here’s what people are saying.
The consequences for President Trump
As my colleague Sheera Frenkel reports, calls for violence against elected officials have been circulating online for months, and they have not been limited to Congress: State capitols across the country also faced crowds of armed Trump supporters on Wednesday, in some cases prompting evacuations, shutdowns and police mobilizations.
At the center of the campaign was President Trump, who has courted extremists like QAnon adherents and the Proud Boys in a bid to subvert the election. Politicians and pundits have proposed a few ways of holding him accountable.
The 25th Amendment: The 25th Amendment of the Constitution allows for the removal of the president from office if the vice president and a majority of the cabinet determine that he is unfit. Top congressional Democrats (as well as two law professors in this paper) have called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke it. The option is reportedly being discussed by members of the cabinet and other Republican officials, though skepticism about their sincerity abounds.
Impeachment: Deeming him “too dangerous to leave in office for even another minute,” the Times columnist Bret Stephens argues Congress must immediately impeach and convict Mr. Trump, which could potentially bar him from ever holding office again. Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, on Wednesday said she would introduce articles of impeachment. Though the House adjourned on Thursday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatened to pursue the measure if Mr. Pence does not invoke the 25th Amendment.
弹劾：《纽约时报》专栏作家布雷特·斯蒂芬斯(Bret Stephens)认为，他“太危险，在总统的位置上一分钟都不能多待”，国会必须立即对其进行弹劾、定罪，这样可能将避免他再次成为总统。明尼苏达州民主党众议员伊尔汗·奥马尔(Ilhan Omar)周三表示，她将提出弹劾条款。尽管众议院周四休会，但众议院议长南希·佩洛西(Nancy Pelosi)放话，如果彭斯不动用第25修正案，众议院就会提出弹劾。
Prosecution: Some have argued that at this point, simply removing Mr. Trump from office would be an insufficient punishment, given that participating in an attempted overthrow of the government is a federal crime. The Times columnist Jamelle Bouie tweeted: “arrest the president”、“i’m not joking. he incited a riot to try to sack the congress and install himself in office. our laws mean nothing if he can continue to live a free man.”
Deplatforming: After the mayhem on Wednesday, the president was suspended from Twitter for 12 hours and from Facebook for at least the next two weeks, but Greg Bensinger argues in The Times that the bans should be permanent. “Jan. 6, 2021, ought to be social media’s day of reckoning,” he writes. “There is a greater calling than profits, and Mr. Zuckerberg and Twitter’s C.E.O., Jack Dorsey, must play a fundamental role in restoring truth and decency to our democracy and democracies around the world.”
关闭他的社交媒体账号：在周三的混乱之后，总统的Twitter账号被临时关闭12个小时，Facebook账号被冻结至少两周，但格雷格·本辛格(Greg Bensinger)在《纽约时报》上提出，他的账号应该永久性关停。“2021年1月6日应该是社交媒体的清算日，”他写道。“有比赚钱更重要的东西，扎克伯格先生和Twitter的首席执行官杰克·多西(Jack Dorsey)必须在恢复我们的民主和全世界民主国家的真相和尊严方面发挥根本性作用。”
The consequences for the Republican Party
Mr. Trump has hardly acted alone in his campaign to overturn the election results: At one point or another, his efforts have enjoyed the support of 14 Republicans in the Senate and a majority of Republicans in the House. After the violence on Wednesday, eight Republican senators and 139 of 211 Republican representatives, including the party leader, still voted against against certifying the election.
One of those eight senators was Ted Cruz of Texas, whose campaign sent out fund-raising messages during the attack to help support the president’s gambit. As the Times editorial board points out, Mr. Cruz has favorably invoked the precedent of the 1876 election, during which Democrats violently suppressed the Black vote and then demanded the end of Reconstruction as their price of concession, plunging the country into a new era of white supremacist terror.
“The modern Republican Party, in its systematic efforts to suppress voting, and its refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of elections that it loses, is similarly seeking to maintain its political power on the basis of disenfranchisement,” the Times editorial board writes. “Wednesday’s insurrection is evidence of an alarming willingness to pursue that goal with violence.” What should be done about it?
Form a third party: “Even if only a small group of principled, center-right lawmakers — and the business leaders who fund them — broke away and formed their own conservative coalition, they would become hugely influential in today’s closely divided Senate,” the Times columnist Tom Friedman writes. “They could be a critical swing faction helping to decide which Biden legislation passes, is moderated or fails.”
Launch financial pressure campaigns: From here on out, Osita Nwanevu argues in The New Republic, companies that support the Republican Party should be subject to boycotts. “A decision was made 10 or 11 years ago that the future of the Republican Party would rest upon delegitimizing or undermining the votes of its opponents,” he writes. “A plan was made; corporations financed it.”
发动金融施压运动：奥西塔·瓦内乌(Osita Nwanevu)在《新共和》(The New Republic)撰文指出，从现在开始，支持共和党的公司应该受到抵制。他写道：“10年或11年前，共和党做出了一个决定，认为共和党的未来将取决于剥夺或削弱对手的选票，”他写道。“于是他们在此基础上制定计划；许多公司为其提供资金。”
Kick Mr. Trump’s allies out of Congress: Representative Cori Bush of Missouri announced on Wednesday that she would introduce a resolution invoking the 14th Amendment, which disqualifies those who engage in insurrection against the Constitution from holding office, to expel Republican members who have sought to overturn the election. The proposal has drawn support from several other lawmakers.
The consequences for the police
An investigation: The Capitol Police force has 1,879 officers and a budget of $515.5 million, according to Roll Call, but that did not stop the mob from easily overtaking the seat of U.S. government. A number of lawmakers, including Maxine Waters, chairwoman of the House financial services committee, have called for a formal investigation of the incident.
调查：据Roll Call网站报道，国会警察部队共有1879名警员，预算5.155亿美元，但这仍不足以阻止暴徒轻而易举占领美国政府所在地。包括众议院财务委员会主席玛克欣·沃特斯(Maxine Waters)在内的许多议员都呼吁对此事开展正式调查。
D.C. statehood: The District of Columbia’s status as a federal district left officials unable to activate the National Guard. Instead, Mayor Muriel Bowser and members of Congress had to pass the request to the White House, which initially refused on Mr. Trump’s orders. With Democrats now in control of the Senate, it is easier to imagine a congressional vote on the long-debated proposal to grant the district statehood.
A national reckoning over policing: Many have pointed out that the police response to this incident bore little resemblance to the militarized deployments that nonviolent Black Lives Matter protests often meet or the aggressive tactics the Capitol Police itself used on disability activists nonviolently protesting the Republican effort to cut Medicaid funding in 2017. “How many protestors would be dead and/or bleeding had this crowd been Black?” my colleague Brent Staples asked.
对警察执法的全国反思：许多人都指出，警方对这一事件的反应，与对非暴力的“黑人的命也是命”(Black Lives Matter)抗议经常遇到的军事化部署，或国会警察自己在2017年针对抗议共和党削减联邦医疗补助(Medicaid)的残疾活动人士使用的激进策略相比，可谓大相径庭。“如果这群人是黑人，会有多少抗议者死亡及/或流血？”我的同事布伦特·斯台普斯(Brent Staples)质问道。
The ease with which the Capitol was infiltrated — documented in videos circulating on social media that show officers holding the hand of one member of the mob and taking a selfie with another — have raised questions about not just incompetence or implicit racial bias but also a more profound sort of complicity, if not actual conspiracy.
Masha Gessen argues in The New Yorker that in the most charitable interpretation of the event, the mob at least enjoyed the luxury of not being taken seriously by the police, which is itself a telling privilege: “The invaders may be full of contempt for a system that they think doesn’t represent them, but on Wednesday they managed to prove that it does. The system, which shrugged off their violence like it had been a toddler’s tantrum, represents them. It’s the rest of us it’s failing to protect.”
玛莎·格森(Masha Gessen)在《纽约客》(The New Yorker)中指出，若以最宽容的角度解释，暴徒们至少享受了不被警察严肃对待的奢侈，这本身就是一种能够说明问题的特权：“入侵者或许对他们认为不能代表他们的体制充满蔑视，但在周三，他们成功证明了这一体制就代表了他们。对他们的暴力置之不理，就像对待发脾气的婴儿，这一体制就代表了他们。它没能保护的，是我们其他人。”
The consequences for the country
In The Times, Charlie Warzel argues that the storming of the Capitol is best understood not as an isolated event but as the almost inevitable consequence of a far-right assault on the country’s shared reality. “As a reluctant chronicler of our poisoned information ecosystem, to me none of this is very surprising,” he writes. “It is the culmination of more than five years of hatred, trolling, violent harassment and conspiracy theorizing that has moved from the internet’s underbelly to the White House and back again.”
Mr. Warzel notes that while Mr. Trump has played a leading role in the assault, he has been accompanied by professional grifters, political opportunists, genuine marks, social media platforms and pro-Trump outlets like Fox News, which continue to spread conspiratorial lies and dangerous ideologies. To grasp the scale of the problem, consider that polls have found that a large majority of Republicans do not believe Mr. Biden’s victory was legitimate and that more Republicans approved of Wednesday’s rampage than opposed it.