Trumpism 🐘 Newsbites
Georgia provides a peek at Trumpism after Trump, and it looks bad for Republicans
  • Republicans have tried to retain Trump's electoral "magic" by indulging his claims that the election was stolen from him. In Georgia, this strategy failed.
  • Republicans wanted Trump without Trump: gin up the irregular voters he drew out with spectacle and grievance politics, while winning back suburban voters whom he repulsed.
  • Instead they got the opposite. They reminded suburbanites and Black voters why they turned out to reject Trump, and they bled enthusiasm among voters whose primary reason to vote Republican was Trump.
  • Now, by voting en masse to throw out the election results at Trump's behest, congressional Republicans will help Democrats use him as a turnout-driving bogeyman for years to come.
As he loves to remind people, Donald Trump got about 12 million more votes in 2020 than he got in 2016. His haul of over 74 million votes is the second-highest vote total ever earned by a US presidential candidate.

Unfortunately for him, the No. 1 position is held by Joe Biden.

... It's fashionable to talk ruefully about the Trumpification of the Republican party and say Republican officials will face no consequences for doing Trump's bidding. But we saw some of those consequences in Georgia this week. And there can be more down the line. By voting today to steal the election, Republicans are handing Democrats a talking point they can use for years, tying Republican officials to Trump long after he is gone from office.

You know how Republicans won't shut up about Hillary Clinton, even after she has become irrelevant? Well, do you think Democrats are ever going to shut up about Trump? Even if he never runs for office again he will remain the No. 1 boogeyman for Democratic campaigners for years — and for good reason, as he's so unpopular. Unlike Clinton, Trump will help sustain his boogeyman status by drawing attention to himself whenever he can.

And now, Democrats will be able to remind voters of how specific Republican officials voted to steal the election for him. Trump wasn't just turnout magic for his own side; this will help Democrats use the specter of Trump to motivate their own base for years to come.

When Republicans ask exasperatedly why we are still talking about Donald Trump, who isn't even president anymore, this will be the answer. It's Democrats who are going to get to have Trump without Trump, not Republicans.

Pence Says He Won’t Intervene in Electoral Vote Count
Vice President Mike Pence will not inject himself into the outcome of the election by interfering with the counting of Electoral College votes, he said in a letter Wednesday, rebuffing President Donald Trump's repeated claims that the vice president has the power to reject presidential electors.

"It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not," Pence said in a letter released only moments before Congress entered into a joint session to finalize President-elect Joe Biden's win.

... "Four years ago, surrounded by my family, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, which ended with the words 'So help me God.'" Pence said in the letter. "When the Joint Session of Congress convenes today, I will do my duty to see to it that we open the certificates of the Electors of the several states, we hear objections raised by Senators and Representatives, and we counts the votes of the Electoral College for President and Vice President in a manner consistent with our Constitution, laws, and history. So Help Me God."

Trump Turns on Republicans as Presidential Election Loss Closes in
From behind a shield of glass on the Ellipse with the executive mansion behind him, President Donald Trump showed the same defiance he has demonstrated since November and turned against his own party, calling Republicans "weak" and "pathetic." The president repeated a litany of partial truths, outright falsehoods and debunked claims to thousands of like-minded backers in the streets of the nation's capital.

Trump, in a challenge to the Electoral College vote count process, said he would walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol with his supporters to call on leaders to "take back our country." Despite this claim, Trump was seen returning to the White House following his appearance, while protesters forced several buildings on the Hill to evacuate.

Shocking, But Predictable, Violence in Donald Trump’s Final Days
... "The words of a president matter, no matter how good or bad that president is," President-elect Joe Biden said in remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, even as Trump remained silent and off the airwaves. "At best, the words of a president can inspire. At worst, they can incite."

Only after the mayhem and violence had gone on for hours did Trump release a taped video asking people to go home. But even in that brief appearance, he claimed the election was "fraudulent" and said he loved those trying to keep Biden from taking office.

"We don't want anybody hurt," Trump said, without specifically condemning the criminal act of breaking into the Senate chamber.

Trump has been accused of inciting bad behavior before. During the campaign, on the day of the Iowa caucuses, Trump said,"If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, OK? Just knock the hell ... I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise," Trump told ralliers.

At another rally, Trump said of one protester, "I'd like to punch him in the face, I'll tell you."

As president, he praised GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte of Montana for allegedly body-slamming a reporter, saying "any guy who can do a body slam, he is my type!" When protesters took to the streets in horror and anguish after the killing of African-American man George Floyd while in police custody, Trump had a disturbing warning: "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," the president tweeted.

Trump supporters – including some of the Republican lawmakers in lockdown in the Capitol as law enforcement tried to retake control of the heavily-guarded building – have long dismissed Trump's rhetoric as just that: rhetoric, provocative language meant to rile people up. The president, his apologists said, need not be taken literally.

That argument fell apart just two weeks before President-elect Joe Biden is to be sworn in as the 46th president and on the very day that Congress was in the process of counting the Electoral College votes that will make Biden the president.

"This is what you've gotten, guys!" an enraged Sen. Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, yelled to colleagues as the aggressive protesters stormed the Capitol.

U.K.’s Boris Johnson Among Leaders Condemning D.C. Violence: ‘Disgraceful’
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday blasted as "disgraceful" the scenes of President Donald Trump's supporters storming the U.S. Capitol and stressed for the need for an orderly transfer of power to President-elect Joe Biden.

"Disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress," wrote Johnson, who has maintained a tenuous relationship with Trump during their leadership tenures. "The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power."

His statement came as other world leaders reacted to the shocking scenes, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said in a statement, "we're concerned and we're following the situation minute by minute," and added, "I think the American democratic institutions are strong, and hopefully everything will return to normal shortly."

"We must call this out for what it is: a deliberate assault on Democracy by a sitting President & his supporters, attempting to overturn a free & fair election! The world is watching!" Simon Coveney, the Irish minister for defense and for foreign affairs, wrote on Twitter. "We hope for restoration of calm."

George W. Bush slams pro-Trump 'insurrection' at US Capitol: "This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic'
  • Former President George W. Bush issued a rare statement warning of the dangers of an "insurrection" after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.
  • "This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic – not our democratic republic. I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election," Bush said.
  • President Donald Trump incited the violent events at the US Capitol as he continued to push for the election result to be overturned.
"This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic – not our democratic republic. I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement," said Bush, who has generally avoided the spotlight since leaving the White House.

Bush said that the "violent assault on the Capitol – and disruption of a Constitutionally-mandated meeting of Congress – was undertaken by people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes."

The former Republican president warned that the siege could do "grave damage" to the country and its reputation.

"In the United States of America, it is the fundamental responsibility of every patriotic citizen to support the rule of law," Bush added. "To those who are disappointed in the results of the election: Our country is more important than the politics of the moment. Let the officials elected by the people fulfill their duties and represent our voices in peace and safety."


... Wednesday's unsettling events marked the most large-scale breach of the Capitol since the War of 1812.

Bernie Sanders skewers the president over Capitol siege: 'The man directly responsible for the chaos of today is Donald Trump'
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders explicitly blamed President Donald Trump for violence at the US Capitol on Wednesday.
  • "The man directly responsible for the chaos of today is Donald Trump, who has made it clear that he will do anything to remain in power – including insurrection and inciting violence," Sanders said in a tweet.
  • Trump provoked a riot at the Capitol as congressional lawmakers were set to finalize President-elect Joe Biden's 2020 win by certifying the Electoral College vote.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont did not mince words in terms of who he blames for the violence at the US Capitol on Wednesday, explicitly blaming President Donald Trump for the pandemonium.

"The man directly responsible for the chaos of today is Donald Trump, who has made it clear that he will do anything to remain in power – including insurrection and inciting violence," Sanders said in a tweet. "Trump will go down in history as the worst and most dangerous president in history."

More than 2 dozen Democratic lawmakers say they will try to impeach Trump again following riots over his election conspiracy theories
  • More than two dozen Democratic members of Congress are calling to impeach President Donald Trump again, just two weeks before he leaves office.
  • "Donald J. Trump should be impeached by the House of Representatives & removed from office by the United States Senate. We can't allow him to remain in office, it's a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath," Rep. Ilhan Omar wrote in a tweet saying she would draft new articles of impeachment.
  • Trump spoke to a rally of his supporters moments before they marched on the Capitol and broke into it, interrupting the vote-counting proceedings.
  • Other Democratic officials have called on his administration to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.
Rep Ilhan Omar was among the first to call for Trump's removal from office, tweeting Wednesday afternoon that she was drawing up articles of impeachment.

"I am drawing up Articles of Impeachment. Donald J. Trump should be impeached by the House of Representatives & removed from office by the United States Senate. We can't allow him to remain in office, it's a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath," she said on Twitter.

She was joined by fellow "squad" members Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib.

Reps. and Reps-elect Kai Kahele, David Cicilline, Seth Moulton, Jamaal Bowman, Mark Takano, Mondaire Jones, Bonnie Coleman, Earl Blumenauer, Steve Cohen, Pramila Jayapal, and Jennifer Wexton also said they would join the impeachment effort.

Other Democratic representatives — including Ted Lieu and Mark Pocan — called for the invocation of the 25th Amendment, which allows members of the presidential administration to remove the president from office and replace them with the vice president. Lieu described Trump as "detached from reality."

Obama says Trump 'incited' Capitol siege with baseless lies about the election and encourages Republican lawmakers to 'choose America'
  • Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday said that President Donald Trump's relentless lies on the 2020 election incited violent, disturbing events at the US Capitol.
  • "History will rightly remember today's violence at the Capitol, incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation," Obama said.
  • The former president called on Republicans to cease their support for Trump's effort to overturn the 2020 election result and "choose America."
Former President Barack Obama explicitly blamed President Donald Trump for the violent scenes at the US Capitol on Wednesday, while urging Republicans to step up and take a stand against the sitting president's attacks on democracy.

"History will rightly remember today's violence at the Capitol, incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation," Obama said in a statement. "But we'd be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise."

The former president said that the GOP and its "accompanying media ecosystem has too often been unwilling to tell their followers the truth — that this was not a particularly close election and that President-Elect Biden will be inaugurated on January 20." He went on to say that Republicans have been pushing a "fantasy narrative" on the election that has spiraled further and further from reality.

Obama said that Republican leaders now face a choice "made clear in the desecrated chambers of democracy."

"They can continue down this road and keep stoking the raging fires. Or they can choose reality and take the first steps toward extinguishing the flames. They can choose America," the former president said.

'Trump will deservedly be left a man without a country': Trump's former defense secretaries condemn 'appalling' assault on Capitol
  • Former Trump administration defense secretaries Jim Mattis and Mark Esper issued strong statements condemning the pro-Trump mob that violently breached the US Capitol Wednesday.
  • "Our Constitution and our Republic will overcome this stain and We the People will come together again in our never-ending effort to form a more perfect Union, while Mr. Trump will deservedly be left a man without a country," Mattis said in a statement
  • "This afternoon's assault on the US Capitol was appalling and un-American. This is not how citizens of the world's greatest and oldest democracy behave," Esper said in a separate statement.
  • Other former senior defense officials also weighed in on the riots as well.
"Today's violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump," Mattis said in a statement. "His use of the Presidency to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens has been enabled by pseudo political leaders whose names will live in infamy as profiles in cowardice."

"Our Constitution and our Republic will overcome this stain and We the People will come together again in our never-ending effort to form a more perfect Union, while Mr. Trump will deservedly be left a man without a country," Mattis added.

... "This afternoon's assault on the US Capitol was appalling and un-American," Esper said in his statement. "This is not how citizens of the world's greatest and oldest democracy behave. The perpetrators who committed this illegal act were inspired by partisan misinformation and patently false claims about the election."


"This must end now for the good of the republic," Esper added. "I commend Congressional leaders for meeting tonight to complete their Constitutional task of counting the electoral college votes that will affirm Joe Biden as the next president of the United States." ... In addition to the comments from the two former secretaries of defense, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, who retired from his position in 2019, condemned the events at the Capitol Wednesday, telling CNN's Barbara Starr in a statement that it was "an outrageous assault on our democracy and a sad day for our nation."

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says DC 'mob violence' marks 'a dark moment in our nation's history' (FB)
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday evening condemned attacks by Trump supporters in Washington, DC, as "mob violence," The New York Times reporter Mike Isaac said in a tweet.
  • "The peaceful transition of power is critical to the functioning of democracy, and we need our political leaders to lead by example and put the nation first," Zuckerberg said, according to Isaac.
  • Zuckerberg also briefly discussed Facebook's response, including its decision to remove a video Trump posted, and said Facebook's DC-based employees were safe, according to Isaac.
"This is a dark moment in our nation's history, and I know many of you are frightened and concerned about what's happening in Washington, D.C.," Zuckerberg said in a memo seen by New York Times reporter Mike Isaac.

"I'm personally saddened by this mob violence — which is exactly what this is. The peaceful transition of power is critical to the functioning of democracy, and we need our political leaders to lead by example and put the nation first," the memo continued.

All 17 Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee urge Vice President Mike Pence to help remove Trump from office
  • All 17 Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee signed a letter to Vice President Mike Pence urging him to "invoke the 25th Amendment," removing President Trump from office.
  • The 25th Amendment to the US Constitution allows a president to be removed if the vice president and a majority of cabinet members deem him unfit for office.
  • "President Trump has shown time and again that he is unwilling to protect our Democracy and carry out the duties of the office," the lawmakers wrote.
Declaring President Donald Trump "mentally unsound" and unfit for office, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are urging Vice President Mike Pence to "invoke the 25th Amendment" and remove him from the White House.

"The world watched aghast as insurrectionists, who had been egged on by the president, threatened the safety of elected officials... bringing our democracy to a halt," states a letter signed by all 17 Democrats on the committee.


The president, they note, refused to categorically condemn the assault, persistent in his contention that an election he clearly lost was stolen from him.

The 25th Amendment to the US Constitution enables a president to be removed if the vice president and a majority of cabinet members deem him "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

"President Trump's willingness to incite violence and social unrest to overturn the election results by force clearly meet this standard," the letter states.

Trump's cabinet is reportedly discussing the 25th Amendment to remove him from office after the Capitol riots
  • Members of President Donald Trump's cabinet are discussing invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office, CBS News, ABC News, and CNN reported.
  • The extraordinary development comes after the president whipped his supporters into a frenzy and a mob of them stormed the US Capitol, inciting violence and forcing lawmakers and staff to evacuate.
  • CNN's Jim Acosta reported that cabinet secretaries are in the preliminary stages of discussions about the 25th Amendment, and CBS News' Margaret Brennan reported that nothing concrete has been presented to Vice President Mike Pence yet.
  • Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee also sent Pence a letter urging him to invoke the amendment and remove the president from power.
All the while, lawmakers, Hill staffers, and reporters sheltered in their offices and behind makeshift barricades before being evacuated from the building. Trump's supporters rampaged through the Capitol, occupied lawmakers' offices, and milled around outside for hours after the evacuation, and photos depicted multiple rioters carrying Confederate flags through the building, at times flanked by portraits of Civil War figures.

A noose was erected outside the Capitol, and Trump's loyalists attacked members of the media who were covering the riots as they unfolded. NBC's Tom Winter reported that half a dozen people had to be taken to the hospital, and it was later reported that one woman who was shot inside the Capitol died.

After the area and the building were secured, Congress reconvened to finish debating election challenges and count up electoral votes. Several Republican House and Senate lawmakers reversed their decisions to back Trump in his efforts following the riots, calling them "abhorrent," "unlawful," and "unacceptable."

A number of administration officials resigned after the demonstrations, including First Lady Melania Trump's chief of staff and former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews, and White House social secretary Rickie Niceta. Trump's national security adviser Robert O'Brien, deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger, and deputy chief of staff Chris Liddell are all reportedly weighing resigning.


The Daily Beast reported that Trump aides and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is married to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, personally called senior White House officials and cabinet secretaries and asked them to stay on through the night.

... If the president's cabinet does invoke the 25th Amendment, it would be the first time in US history that a sitting president was removed from office for a non-health related issue. The amendment lays out the steps that can be taken to ensure a transition of power if a president is deemed unfit or unable to serve.

It has been invoked three times before, but only for reasons involving the physical health of the president. The first time was in July 1985, when then President Ronald Reagan underwent surgery for colon cancer. At the time, Reagan authorized Vice President George H.W. Bush to carry out his duties while he was unable to do so.

The other two times the amendment was invoked were during George W. Bush's administration, in June 2002 and June 2007. In both cases, Bush temporarily transferred power to Vice President Dick Cheney while he underwent routine colonoscopies.

If Trump's cabinet invoked the amendment to remove him from office, it would be by utilizing Section IV, which allows for the vice president and a majority of the cabinet to remove the president from office if they determine that he's unfit or unable to serve out his term.

The stipulation says: "Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President."

Trump is now more isolated than ever as his administration is in its last gasps, but the wheels of the democracy he sought to destroy keep turning
  • The violence and disruption that ensued in Washington, DC, on Wednesday was unlike anything seen in modern US history: crowds of people marching through the halls of Congress, waving Trump flags, ransacking lawmakers' offices, and planting MAGA hats on historic statues.
  • It was, though, in some ways a natural consequence of President Donald Trump's chaotic four years in office, and a manifestation of his relentless attacks on American democracy.
  • The violence that erupted at the US Capitol was unprecedented and disturbing, but also entirely predictable — and ultimately won't stop Trump's term from coming to an end.
One of the central pillars of American democracy withstood a devastating blow on Wednesday when an angry mob of President Donald Trump's supporters converged on the Capitol building in Washington, DC, and, in relatively short order, breached its barricades, shattered its windows, and stormed in.

... One intruder took a seat at the dais where Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been conducting the business of certifying the electoral votes that will confirm President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the next administration to assume the White House. He stood with a clenched fist, in a stance that's become common amongst hardcore Trump acolytes.

The unrest followed a rally at a DC park where thousands of people supporting Trump and his crusade to delegitimize Biden's victory showed up to hear the president speak. Trump has stubbornly rejected the reality that he lost the election to Biden, and he only leaned further into that rhetoric Wednesday morning, even as the House and Senate prepared to execute their duties under federal law, just two miles away.

... At least four people died, including a woman who was shot inside the Capitol. Residential neighborhoods surrounding the riot were placed on lockdown. A suspected pipe bomb was found near a building occupied by the Republican National Committee. The DC National Guard was deployed, and National Guard troops from Virginia were sent to help.

In the ensuing hours, the culmination of Trump's four years in office unfolded in a dramatic, and yet ultimately unsurprising way. Years of the president's unapologetic rhetorical attacks against democratic institutions and governance were manifested in the explicit and destructive actions of his supporters.

Trump's Republican colleagues have long tolerated and appeased his bombast in the name of partisan expediency, but after the insurrection on Wednesday, the strong rebukes Trump received from some people within his own party may signal the true end to his grip on power.


... Police said they made at least 30 arrests, according to the Associated Press, prompting comparisons to the law-enforcement response seen months earlier during Black Lives Matter protests where peaceful demonstrators were tear gassed, brutalized, and arrested in far greater numbers.

At the end of the day, the picture was clear. Years of Trump's allies insisting that his divisive rhetoric be taken seriously but not literally, and the argument that his fiercest supporters are patriots who are simply passionate about America, came unglued. And police did not appear as ready or eager to douse the flames. ... In a presidency that has prided itself in its appetite for chaos, Trump is getting what he wanted, but the long-term damage to America's standing in the world may be costlier than anyone can quantify.

DC police chief says 3 people died of medical complications as pro-Trump rioters violently stormed the US Capitol
  • DC Police Chief Robert Contee III said during a press conference late Wednesday evening that three people died earlier in the day due to medical conditions amid rioters' violent takeover of the US Capitol building.
  • One adult female and two adult males were reported dead on or around the Capitol grounds in separate "medical emergencies," Contee said.
  • Contee also said that 14 Metropolitan Police Department officers sustained injuries during the day's events, including two hospitalizations.
  • Law enforcement officers were overwhelmed by violent protesters who had been incited by Trump at a rally earlier in the day, prompting questions around their handling of the events.

Trumpism
or Trump-ism

Trumpism refers to the nontraditional political philosophy and approach espoused by US President Donald Trump and his supporters. The term Trumpism can also be used to directly refer to an outrageous or idiosyncratic statement made by Donald Trump.

Trumpisms are Bushisms on steroids.