We need to make a clear statement that this attack on the capitol was inexcusable and must never happen again. The President takes an oath to defend the Constitution. He did not.
Donald Trump Impeachment: Case for Conviction & Disqualification
Dan McLaughlin, writing for National Review.
It is the proud boast of the United States of America that we have the oldest continuous constitutional government in the world, in which nothing — not terrorists attacks, not depressions, not pandemics, not hurricanes, not foreign wars, not the burning of our capital by invaders, not even civil war — has stopped our government of laws or impeded the timely, peaceful transfer of power between opposing political parties and candidates. The Capitol riot on January 6, given its timing around the pivotal constitutional process of counting electoral votes to effectuate such a transition, took direct aim at that central pillar of our American system. It emboldened the foes of democracy, republicanism, and constitutionalism around the globe who have long been shamed by our example.
There must be grave consequences for that. And as is true whenever society as a whole is threatened by such an outrage, those consequences must be sufficiently spectacular to deter any repetition so long as our national memory endures. Those who participated directly must be punished relentlessly to the maximum extent of federal law, without cease or mercy. And they should be confronted with vivid evidence that their cause failed utterly and permanently. The riot was inspired by Trump, and carried out by a faction of his supporters. Imposing consequences on Trump himself, and barring him from ever again holding federal office, will accomplish that end. In a less squeamish time, both Trump and the rioters would justly have had their heads mounted on pikes outside the Capitol as a warning to all.
What would George Washington do? What would Abraham Lincoln do? What would William Tecumseh Sherman do? What would Calvin Coolidge do? What would Harry Truman do? What would Ronald Reagan do? The making of harsh and unforgiving examples has always been the American way of ensuring that some outrages are never repeated. Harsh example for deterrent effect was the theory of Trump’s own policy to prevent crossings of the Mexican border, even when the harshness fell on innocent children. He should be prepared to take that medicine now himself.
Is it unfair to punish Trump, who did not personally participate in the riot, and who did not explicitly call for violence? Hardly. As I have detailed previously, when you take in the entirety of Trump’s speech and its context, he bears moral and political responsibility for inspiring the Capitol riot, and for putting a target on Mike Pence’s back. True, Trump’s conduct falls just shy of the narrow legal definition of inciting riot or rebellion. True, it is becoming increasingly clear that some of the forces he summoned to Washington on January 6 came prepared for violence in advance, and commenced it even before he was done speaking. But leadership entails responsibility, not pettifogging efforts to backtrack after things you set in motion, and have nurtured for two months, have gotten out of hand. There comes a time when the man at the top must be the man who accepts the blame.
Trump’s behavior on January 6 was extraordinarily reckless. It had foreseeable and horrendous consequences. And it did not happen in a vacuum. It was the culmination of two months of lies, conspiracy theories, increasingly vexatious litigation, efforts to pressure state legislatures and elections officials his way, open pressure on the vice president to disregard settled federal law, and baseless volcanic rhetorical blasts at the integrity of the entire American system. Many of those actions were not, by themselves, impeachable acts; but taken together, they constitute a massively irresponsible violation of Trump’s oath of office. They form the backdrop for why he should be held politically accountable for the riot and siege at the Capitol. Anyone reading these events in a history book, uninvested in the individual participants, would recognize this.