SUBSCRIBE NOW AND SAVE 3 months just 99¢/month

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

American Opinion: Republicans must stop defending an ex-president who defends death threats

American Opinion: A president who slanders and undermines that process, incites an attempt to violently overthrow an election, and now suggests that death threats against his own vice president were valid has no business being anywhere near power. Nor does any other politician too cowardly to look into the cameras and say that.

111721.op.wct.AmericanOpinion.NoTrump.02.jpg
People gather near the Capitol Reflecting Pool, facing the West Front of the U.S. Capitol Building for the "Justice for J6 Rally" on Sept. 18, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
TNS

In a newly released interview, former President Donald Trump was asked about the Jan. 6 Capitol rioters who threatened to kill Vice President Mike Pence . Did Trump respond as any responsible adult would, and condemn that threat? Of course not. Repeating his delusional claim that Pence could have overturned the election, Trump defended the rioters’ fury at his vice president, calling it “common sense.”

With the possibility of another Trump presidential run still in play, every Republican officeholder who hasn’t yet disavowed him — which is most of them — should be asked to defend this latest, most grotesque evidence of his unfitness. If they can’t (and they can’t), then why are they still enabling him?

Throughout his presidency, Trump refused to condemn dangerous acts against America when committed by people he viewed as being personally on his side. In Helsinki, he shocked the world by taking Vladimir Putin ’s word over American intelligence regarding Russian election meddling. After the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia , Trump declared there were “very fine people” on both sides — even though one side included white supremacists.

When asked during a debate last year to disavow support from the racist Proud Boys , Trump instead told them to “stand back and stand by.” Even as the violence raged on Jan. 6, Trump’s video message to the rioters included, “We love you.”

And now Trump cannot muster even the mildest rebuke for the insurrectionist thugs who prowled the Capitol in his honor, chanting, “Hang Mike Pence!”

ADVERTISEMENT

In the newly released audio of the recent interview, Jonathan Karl of ABC News aptly notes that the chants were “terrible.” Trump responds: “Well, the people were very angry” at Pence for failing to invalidate the election (something which, in fact, Pence had no power to do).

“It’s common sense, Jon. … How can you — if you know a vote is fraudulent, right? — how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that?” Trump added.

Not, How can you threaten the life of the vice president? But rather: How could Pence not have overturned the election for me?

To the inevitable chorus asking why we’re still focusing on a former president’s obvious psychosis: because poll after poll shows Trump is still the front-runner for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. He has never garnered majority national support — not in any reputable poll and not in either of his presidential elections — but as 2016 demonstrated, that doesn’t mean he couldn’t be seated again as president under America’s electoral process.

A president who slanders and undermines that process, incites an attempt to violently overthrow an election, and now suggests that death threats against his own vice president were valid has no business being anywhere near power. Nor does any other politician too cowardly to look into the cameras and say that.

This American Opinion editorial is the opinion of the editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

©2021 STLtoday.com . Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

ADVERTISEMENT

wct.op.americanopinion
American Opinion

What to read next
Summary: We seem determined to let omicron run its course, but as the virus burns through the population, what carnage is it leaving behind? More deaths. Sick children. Vaccinated people who are now saddled with long-term illness and disability. But if we can’t rely on our institutions for protection — or even reliable information — the virus itself may be the least of our worries.
American Opinion: The insurrection might have come as a huge surprise to most Americans, but these investigations suggest it should’ve been no surprise at all, especially for their social media hosts.
American Opinion: All sane Americans know who the real divider is. He stoked a mob to rush the Capitol to stop the counting of votes of the Electoral College. For that high crime, he was impeached with bipartisan support in the House and a bipartisan majority in the Senate then voted to convict him. The biggest lie of all is that he, drowning in self adulation, loves this country.
American Opinion: If we believe America is an exceptional nation, then we must also believe in peaceful resolutions of political disputes, the peaceful transfer of power and the enduring importance of constitutional norms and institutions. What we can’t abide is a medieval storming of the castle and capitulation to the darkest and worst instincts.