After inciting a mob of his supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol and “fight like hell” to take back the election that was “stolen” from them, President Donald Trump is counting on his Republican allies in the Senate to absolve him of any responsibility for the attack that left five people dead and dozens injured in the failed insurrection last week.
People around the world are following closely what happens next. Will Senate Republicans hold Donald Trump accountable for his treasonous actions? Will he face legal charges? Will there be any consequences at all?
We are at a turning point in American History, and the ramifications will not be limited to our own country. If Republican Senators give Trump a free pass after his failed coup attempt, it will hurt America’s standing on the world stage and embolden anti-democratic despots.
Authoritarian leaders looking to hold onto power in fragile democracies will feel emboldened by our lack of action and accountability. They will point to some of the very same “let’s move on” arguments now being made by a number of GOP lawmakers.
The question is: where are we moving? Are we simply moving to the next undemocratic power grab? Democracy does not work when fascist politicians feel free to mobilize a violent mob to overrun institutions when they lose elections. It is even more worrisome if they face no consequences.
While some of those who stormed the Capitol are certainly now being brought to justice, Americans and people around the world are particularly focused on what happens to Donald Trump and his allies, like his son Donald Trump Jr., his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Texas Rep. Mo Brooks, and Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz. Will they face any consequences for feeding an angry mob the very lies that led them to attack the US Capitol?
I believe that letting the Capitol insurrection go unpunished poses a grave threat to our nation and the world. But what can we do?
It is unlikely that Trump will be removed through impeachment by this Congress before his term ends next week. However, I would argue that preventing him from ever serving in public office again is incredibly important. A ban on holding office would send an extraordinarily powerful message to leaders around the globe: No one is above the law.