FARGO — Donald Trump supporters have blood on their hands. Too many Republican “leaders” served as enablers of a desperate president who will stop at nothing to overturn the will of voters and cling to power.
The result was the unhinged mob that stormed the United States Capitol Jan. 6, briefly taking over the Senate chamber, ransacking offices and pilfering art — the first breach of the people’s house since British troops burned it down in 1814.
Capitol police shot and killed one woman protester inside the Capitol. Three others died from medical complications, and a Capitol police officer died from injuries he sustained from the mob. The insurrection forced Congress to evacuate, delaying for several hours the ceremonial task of accepting the electoral votes that will make Joe Biden president on Jan. 20.
It was a shameful and preventable assault on democracy. Every Republican who enabled Trump is to blame — including all four Republican members of Minnesota's congressional delegation. First District Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who represents southern Minnesota including Rochester, has been among Trump's most ardent supporters.
The violent coup attempt couldn’t have happened without the complicity of many Republican officeholders who stood by in silence or gave oxygen to the fire Trump ignited by making statements supporting the baseless fiction of widespread voter fraud.
Those allegations were summarily dismissed in dozens of court cases in states around the country. Trump’s supporters failed to present a shred of credible evidence.
Even so, many Republicans continued to aid and abet Trump’s efforts to steal the election by making gutless statements pandering to Trump’s supporters about their concerns about voting irregularities.
Just days before the riot — and soon after Trump was heard in a recording browbeating the Georgia secretary of state to “find” him more votes — Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., called for a committee and oversight hearings to investigate the debunked allegations of voter fraud.
Also days before the riot, Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said: “We need to get answers while taking appropriate steps to ensure states run their elections in a transparent, trustworthy fashion, giving the American people confidence in our elections.”
Trump and his minions have been doing everything possible, starting months before the election, to undermine confidence in our elections, irresponsibly stirring up passions that erupted into violence..
Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., in a joint statement with several GOP colleagues, said: “We, like most Americans, are outraged at the significant abuses in our election system resulting from the reckless adoption of mail-in ballots and the lack of safeguards maintained to guarantee that only legitimate votes are cast and counted.”
Once again, those “significant abuses” were laughed out of courts, including the Supreme Court and including Trump-appointed judges. Trump's own attorney general found no evidence of widespread election fraud.
Worse were the 149 Republican members of Congress who voted to reject electoral votes for Biden and thus voted to overturn the will of voters — even after the capitol had been overrun by the mob.
This complicity — this madness — must stop.
Trump has been dangerously inciting violence to try to subvert the election. He is desperate to cling to power and he has clearly left the Republican Party.
Now the Republican Party must completely reject his dishonorable words and actions. The party must move on — without any role for Trump. What happened in Washington on Jan. 6 was predictable.
Minnesota’s congressional members should have made clear that they weren’t supporting Trump’s unconstitutional gambit sooner than they did. We understand loyalty to the party, but the country comes before the party.
The Republican Party can no longer stand by and allow Donald Trump to hijack its sanity. It’s time to push reset and move on without him — for the good of the party and, more importantly, for the good of the country.
This other view is the opinion of the editorial board of our sister publication, The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.