I am an embarrassed Republican and a very disappointed and dispirited Trump supporter. The events of Wednesday in our nation’s capital are literally unbelievable and damaging to both governance and politics.
Without a doubt, that day was unique in history and at the same time disgusting.
An impressively large crowd assembled at the Capitol to support President Donald Trump. Many in the crowd embraced his claim that the election had been stolen from him. While I absolutely believe that some election-process errors, some minor instances of fraud and some legislative and judicial missteps occurred, I am certain that such problems did not and could not have caused a change in the outcome of the presidential election.
I had looked forward to Wednesday’s joint session of Congress under the leadership of Vice President Mike Pence, held to accept the Electoral College results and confirm the election of Joe Biden as the next president of the United States of America. In fact, my op-ed in the Jan. 3 Sunday LNP | LancasterOnline Perspective section reflected my acceptance of the election of Biden as president.
While I was aware of the concerns of a dozen U.S. senators and scores of members of Congress, I accepted the fact that such challenges — while legally proper to present — would not change the expected affirmation of Biden’s victory. If there was to be a positive in making such objections, it was my hope that the voting problems exposed would be helpful in future discussions about improving and further securing the voting process. Yes, I admit, I might have been overly hopeful for something positive to emerge.
I was blindsided by President Trump’s noontime address to the assembled crowd in Washington, D.C. This address — plus some of his tweets, in retrospect — created a basis for the energy, enthusiasm and ultimately destructive behavior of Trump’s supporters as they marched to the U.S. Capitol.
A woman’s death, the lengthy interruption of the congressional joint session, the invasion of the Capitol and the ensuing property damage were beyond comprehension. President Trump’s brief recorded speech Wednesday afternoon encouraged protesters to “go home” but continued his rant about a “stolen” election. The message did not convey an adequately forceful or coherent message. The protesters did not go home.
The rest is history. After a recess to ensure members’ safety, the joint congressional session reconvened and finished its job as anticipated. The U.S. Capitol was secured and at least a degree of normalcy was restored in the District of Columbia.
Now, the fallout, which continues as I write.
Rather than reiterate what is being said in the media outlets, I’d rather state my personal opinion, which I have conveyed in a letter to the White House: President Trump should resign and allow Vice President Pence to direct the White House transfer of power. I believe that this is the only way to prevent potential issues from arising that might further inflame, irritate and upset America. We need the prospect of a calm, deliberate and respectful acknowledgment of the way democracy is meant to work in the United States of America.
President Trump: I have written of your successes. You have given many individuals the feeling of respect and value. Seventy-four million voters cast their ballots for you in November. You can leave office with a secure record of your accomplishments. I will be writing about many of these accomplishments as a challenge to the leadership of soon-to-be President Biden and the Democrats.
You won’t be forgotten. If you haven’t already by the time this is published, please resign — today.
Stuart Wesbury, a professor emeritus in Arizona State University’s School of Health Administration and Policy, is a resident of Willow Street. He has a Ph.D. in economics and business administration. He is a former community member of the LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board.