英文

Editorial : The Capitol Hill Incident

【明報專訊】To obstruct the process of certifying Biden's election, a group of supporters of President Trump stormed Capitol Hill. Three former presidents, namely Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, condemned the violence unanimously. Refusal to recognise the results of democratic elections and the violent occupation of parliamentary buildings occur only in the Third World or some "banana republics" in Latin America. In 1814, during the war between Britain and the US, British troops invaded and set fire to Capitol Hill that was under construction at the time. The Capitol building would have been destroyed had it not been for a heavy rain. Since then, for more than 200 years, Capitol Hill, as the temple of American democracy, has never been attacked or destroyed. For many Americans, the chaos on Capitol Hill this time is a tragic event for the entire nation.

January 6 was the day when the Senate and House of Representatives counted the electoral votes of different states and officially certified that Biden was elected. The demonstrations outside Capitol Hill were called by the Trump camp. After the chaos, Trump called for peace and observance of the law. But he still insisted that the "victory was stolen" and asked Vice President Mike Pence, who presided over the joint meeting of the two houses, to refuse to accept the electoral votes. Former Democratic President Barack Obama directly accused Trump of inciting rebellion on Capitol Hill. Without naming names, former President George W. Bush criticised some politicians after the election for being irresponsible and fanning the flames. Several White House officials resigned immediately, reflecting that Trump has been deserted by his followers. The Democratic Party now controls both the Senate and the House of Representatives. As Trump has incurred the ire of so many, he might face a revolt from all sides even though he has promised a peaceful transfer of power.

With its fact-checking, the American media claims that Trump has lied at least 20,000 times so far in his presidency. Before the election, he had claimed "unfair elections" and warned that he would not concede the election. After the election, Trump continued to spread lies, claiming "election fraud" without evidence and inciting supporters' emotions. It was just a matter of time before chaos happened.

Since the end of the election, only a few Republican politicians such as Mitt Romney have dared to say no to Trump's claims of election fraud. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and others have tried a delicate balancing act, saying merely that every vote must be counted and controversies over the election have to be handled through legal means but refusing to endorse Trump's lie. In a high-profile manner, Ted Cruz and another Republican senator Josh Hawley expressed opposition to the confirmation of some electoral votes before the joint meeting of the two chambers. As an ally of Trump, Republican senator Tom Cotton repeatedly expressed concern over "election fraud" without evidence. Marco Rubio's stance is relatively ambiguous and constantly changing. However, shortly after the election, he declared that "70% of Republicans don't believe the 2020 election was free and fair, that should be of concern to everyone," which is a fact. After the chaos, many Republican congressmen who supported Trump all spoke up and condemned the violence in a departure from their stance, trying to distance themselves from the violence. However, many people remembered their previous words and deeds, and there are public calls for Cruz and Hawley to resign.

明報社評2021.01.08:國會山之亂美國蒙羞 無恥之尤豈止特朗普

總統特朗普的一批支持者,為了阻止確認拜登當選的程序,攻入國會山莊,三位前總統奧巴馬、小布殊、克林頓異口同聲譴責暴力。拒絕承認民主選舉結果、暴力佔領議會等,只會發生在第三世界又或拉丁美洲一些「香蕉共和國」。1814年,美英戰爭期間,英軍曾攻入當時尚在興建的美國國會山莊並縱火,全靠一場大雨,國會大樓才未付諸一炬。自此以後200多年,國會山作為美國民主殿堂,從未試過被攻入破壞,這次國會山之亂,對不少美國人來說堪比國殤。

1月6日是參眾兩院清點各州選舉人票結果,正式確認拜登當選之日,國會山外的示威,乃是由特朗普陣營號召,儘管亂事發生後,特朗普呼籲和平守法,可是他仍堅稱「勝利被竊」,還要求主持兩院聯席會議的副總統彭斯,拒絕接納選舉人票結果。民主黨前總統奧巴馬直指特朗普煽動國會山之亂,前總統小布殊也不點名抨擊大選後一些政客不負責任,煽風點火。多名白宮官員即時請辭,反映特朗普眾叛親離。民主黨現已控制參眾兩院,特朗普犯眾怒,即使承諾和平移交權力「補鑊」,仍可能面對各方「逼宮」壓力。

根據美國傳媒查證統計,他在任內說過的謊言,已知至少超過2萬次。早在大選投票前,他已揚言「選舉不公」,預告不會接受選舉落敗;大選結束後,特朗普更不斷撒播謊言,無憑無據卻稱「選舉舞弊」,煽動支持者情緒,發生亂事只是遲早問題。

大選結束以來,共和黨一眾政要,只有羅姆尼等少數人,敢於向特朗普舞弊謊言說不;參院多數黨領袖麥康奈爾等則嘗試走鋼線,僅說支持票票要計足、選舉爭議以法律途徑處理等,避免直接為謊言背書。克魯茲與另一共和黨參議員賀利,在兩院聯席會議前,高調表態反對確認部分選舉人票;科頓作為特朗普盟友,也多番在未提證據下,就「選舉舞弊」表達關注。魯比奧立場相對曖昧,態度一再調整,惟他在大選後不久,揚言「七成共和黨人不信大選公正,有必要關注」,亦屬鐵一般的事實。亂事後,多名力挺特朗普的共和黨議員,都開腔譴責暴力,急急華麗轉身,希望劃清界線,然而很多人都記得他們之前的一言一行,有輿論便要求克魯茲和賀利辭職。

■Glossary

生字

incur : if you incur sth unpleasant, it happens to you because of sth you have done

ire : anger

congressman : a man who is a member of a congress, especially the US House of Representatives

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