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







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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