While the insurrection was happening in Washington D.C. with the trumpettes invading the Capitol building, Donald Trump, his family and assorted sycophants were ensconced in what looks like a marquee watching the proceedings on television1. Six months ago, after the Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstrations which began after the death of George Floyd2, Donald Trump signed an executive order. This executive order characterised the BLM protestors as ‘rioters, arsonists and left-wing extremists’ (which was true of only a small number of them; most demonstrations were non-violent), and asserted that they called for the “destruction of the United States system of government.”3
The executive order included:
“It is the policy of the United States to prosecute to the fullest extent permitted under Federal law, and as appropriate, any person or any entity that destroys, damages, vandalizes, or desecrates a monument, memorial, or statue within the United States or otherwise vandalizes government property. The desire of the Congress to protect Federal property is clearly reflected in section 1361 of title 18, United States Code, which authorizes a penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment for the willful [sic] injury of Federal property.”3
Presumably, when the insurrection failed to actually do anything except vandalise the Capitol building, Trump realised he was not going to be carried aloft to take what he sees as his rightful place as president-for-life of the United States. To be blunt, vandalism is the most that could be expected from a such a largely disorganised rabble as invaded the Capitol building. It may also have dawned on Trump that he had to change his tune when some of his legal team presumably whispered in his ear that he could be liable for incitement, given his incessant tweets of ‘I was robbed’. After this lightbulb moment, he released a video in which he said he was “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem” during the Capitol riots and that “America is, and must always be, a nation of law and order”. He went further and dumped on his own Capitol-invading supporters in saying: “The demonstrators who infiltrated the capital have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay.”4 Nowhere did he state that these rioters were trying to overthrow “the United States system of government”. That would have been a bit too close to the bone even for Trump, who in part of his speech maintained that his attempts to overthrow the election result were because his “only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote. In so doing, I was fighting to defend American democracy.”4 Anyone with a modicum of intelligence knows this is a lie.
The funny thing about this insurrection was that the rioters were apparently depending on Trump to ‘look after them’ so they videoed themselves, took selfies, and posed for photographs. The news media was also there, interviewing people and filming what was going on; some apparently even got inside the Capitol building with their cameras. Some of those who posted their videos and selfies have either identified themselves or been identified by their neighbours, acquaintances or employers (some even wore their employer’s uniforms or insignias). As a consequence, many of them have lost their jobs5, have been outed as pariahs in their communities, or have had the FBI and police show up at their door to arrest them6. The reality is starting to dawn on them that nobody is going to help them, least of all Trump. Indeed, some of them have been whining online about how they have been thrown under a bus by Trump.
These fools, many of whom either carried flags or wore jackets emblazoned with the symbol of the slave-owning confederacy, may be dealt with more severely by the courts because of the executive order signed by Trump, which was designed to punish people in the BLM protests. If ever justice could be described as exquisite, that would be it.