President Trump's made America hate again, writes Ivan Little
What a sickening obscenity it’s been that it took so many Republican politicians in the States so long to wake up to at least some of what the rest of us have been saying since 2016 about their dangerous and deranged president.
Ever since he was elected to the White House I have been arguing that Trump was a menace who could wreak untold damage from the White House and I cautioned against the all-too-common tendency to treat him as a figure of mirth.
I also questioned his mental state and several times wondered if it wasn’t time for the 25th amendment in the American constitution to be invoked to force him from power.
But it wasn’t until last week, a fortnight before he was due to leave office, that many of his own deluded political allies finally turned against him following the storming of the Capitol building which came after he incited his supporters to march on the building.
Despite what Ian Paisley says, there was no doubt that his words were designed to fire up his supporters including some members of extremist organisations like QAnon and it was no surprise that the supposedly ‘peaceful’ protest turned into a violent assault on the Capitol building just as Congress was engaged in the ceremonial counting of the electoral votes that would confirm Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential race.
Just by chance I turned the telly over to CNN just before my Coronation Street fix as the crowds were moving menacingly up the steps to the Capitol after breaching the pathetically porous defences mounted by the police in Washington — a sham of a security operation that was in marked contrast to the treatment of Black Lives Matter demonstrations around the States.
For the next seven hours I was transfixed as I flicked between BBC News 24 and the American broadcaster to see one of the most astonishing nights of history unfolding in front of millions of astonished eyes across the planet. The Beeb kept calling the mob who invaded the Capitol ‘protesters’ or ‘rioters.’ But CNN, who long ago ditched any pretence of impartiality where Trump is concerned, were branding them as insurrectionists or domestic terrorists.
Reporters repeatedly said the scenes were what they would expect to see in other parts of the world, not Washington. Over here we’ve all seen too often how uncontrolled crowds can run amok — like the corporals killings and the flag protests. Also, watching Trump’s address to his followers before they besieged the Capitol building — and his subsequent reaction to the chaos — was reminiscent of how political leaders here goaded their supporters into action and then washed their hands of culpability for any violence that resulted.
It took Trump several hours to call off his hounds but only after President-elect Biden had shamed him into it. Many of Trump’s erstwhile allies in the Republican Party did denounce him but it smacked of far too little far too late. And the talk of using the 25th amendment to replace Trump with Vice-President Mike Pence or impeaching him has also probably come too late.
Ever since the invasion, and the five deaths associated with it, Trump’s former friends around the world have condemned him, though they should have put the boot in years ago. Even his best buddy Nigel Farage distanced himself as did another ex-chum Boris Johnson. But I didn’t see any similar rebukes from Trump’s flag-wavers in the DUP like Ian Paisley, Paul Girvan and Sammy Wilson who last year were pictured with a Trump banner outside the House of Commons during the presidential election campaign. Mr Paisley has even defended Mr Trump and he’s one of the few politicians in the world who didn’t believe he’d provoked the violence.
During the assault on the Capitol a number of American reporters reminded their viewers that the building and the forerunner to the White House hadn’t been subjected to anything quite so destructive since they were burnt down by the British in 1814. But there was no mention of the Northern Irish link. For the troops who attacked the buildings were under the command of Major General Robert Ross from Rostrevor whose statue has pride of place in the village.
Social media has been red hot with posts about Washington and here there’ve been comparisons with Michael Stone trying to storm Stormont in 2006 but on a lighter note, some folk edited the footage of the No Surrender woman from the 2012 flegs protest at the doors of the City Hall into the film of the Trumpites.