The mob attack on Congress on Wednesday left only questions in its wake, questions that need to be answered quickly in order to resecure the Capitol. Those questions all start with the letter W: Why, Who and Where.
Why in the wake of the riot and destruction were those arrested not arraigned by a court the following morning? People arrested for driving under the influence face swifter arrest and processing than those who fought police, invaded federal offices, destroyed public property and took over the floor of the U.S. Senate.
Why was the National Guard activated yet not deployed until violence broke out?
Why were law enforcement officials silent after securing the Capitol?
Had the riot occurred in any American city, a police chief and a mayor would have been in front of news cameras after the violence was quelled to answer questions about what happened and why the response was tepid to the point of allowing the mob to proceed.
They would have faced questions about what would be done to prevent another mob from overrunning the Capitol and endangering the lives of the nation’s duly elected representatives.
The scene at the Capitol was not just astounding in its scope, it was deeply racist. Why did police put on the kid gloves when faced with a white mob when Americans know full well that had mob members been citizens of color, many more would have been arrested and much harsher measures used to gain control.
The insurrection was more than a failure of security. It was a failure of American culture that has not just tolerated an openly white supremacist, misogynist autocrat, but fostered President Donald Trump’s destructive behavior and his ultimate invitation to overthrow American democracy.
Where are the Republican heirs of those who walked to the White House on Aug. 8, 1974, and told President Richard Nixon that they could no longer support a president who had organized and condoned criminal acts, and that he must resign?
Among those missing in action have been the members of Idaho’s all-Republican congressional delegation, Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Reps. Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher.
Fulcher signed on to the baseless objections to acceptance of the Electoral College vote and bears responsibility for helping to fuel the hopes of the mob to overturn the presidential election.
The utter silence of Crapo, Risch and Simpson leading up to the March for Trump and failure to denounce the president’s conspiracy theories that led to the baseless “Stop the Steal” movement concentrated the oxygen that fanned the fury of those who traveled to Washington, D.C., from distant parts of the nation with havoc in mind.
Decrying violence the day after it happens isn’t enough to erase four years of collusion through inaction.
Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, a staunch Trump supporter over the last four years, finally declared after the insurrection, “I don’t buy this. Enough’s enough. We’ve got to end it.”
It was too little, too late from one of the biggest enablers of the president’s folly.
Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah was the only Republican in February 2020 to vote to impeach President Trump and remove him from office. He is still the only one with a visibly functioning conscience.
He spoke out early and forcefully against his colleagues’ attempts to derail the vote. This made the limp inaction of most of Idaho’s congressional delegation even more egregious.
Romney stood up not only to the silence of his fellow Republicans, but reportedly to open heckling and name-calling from some travelers when he flew to the Capitol for the vote. A statesman, Romney told the hecklers that he would follow the Constitution.
Lawmakers and law enforcement in the nation’s capital must get their acts together lest more violence break out when the new president is inaugurated.
The nation cannot afford another day of insurrection, let alone another day of rule by a madman. The days of arrest and prosecution must begin.
Joining hands, calling for peace and singing Kumbaya are not enough to counter violent insurrection and an attempted coup.
“Our View” represents the opinion of the newspaper editorial board, which is made up of members of its board of directors. Remarks may be directed to email@example.com.