Column: We can be outraged, saddened, terrified. But we can’t be surprised by what happened in D.C.

Riot police clear a hallway inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
Riot police clear a hallway inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday after Trump supporters stormed the building.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

After four years of President Trump’s lies, delusions and disrespect for the law, can anyone be surprised that he tried to incite a coup on Wednesday?

Hundreds of Trump supporters, bearing Trump flags and MAGA hats, were whipped up by the criminally irresponsible former reality show star, who appeared outside the White House to inflame the already agitated crowd shortly before Congress was to begin its joint session.

“All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical Democrats,” he said. “We will never give up. We will never concede. It will never happen. You don’t concede when there’s death involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.”

And with that, the crowd, angry that Congress was about to refute their idol’s specious claim of victory in an election he lost fair and square to Joe Biden, set off on their march from the White House to the Capitol.


Upon arrival, they broke through barriers and swarmed the Capitol steps. They climbed up walls. They smashed windows. Some got inside the building, where they provoked an armed standoff with Capitol police, and even breached the Senate’s inner sanctum.

The images were shocking and depressing.

This was anarchy and terror, pure and simple, from a group that pretends to belong to the party of “law and order.” The idea they were acting out of some sort of patriotic principle is laughable. These deluded Americans didn’t just spit on the Constitution, they ground it under their heels.

Trump deserves to be charged with inciting a riot and his cultists all need to face the wrath of the legal system.

I don’t blame Trump alone for this embarrassing and shameful end to his presidency. He was abetted in inciting violence by so many of his fellow Republicans, and they all must be held to account. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is among the guiltiest, having announced that he would challenge the results of an election that has already been investigated, litigated and found repeatedly to have been fair and free of fraud.

I blame Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley for conspiring with Cruz to deprive the American people of their fairly elected new president.

I blame every single Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, who listened to accounts of Trump trying to bully and bribe the president of Ukraine, and could not find it in their partisan hearts to agree he’d committed an impeachable offense.


I blame every Republican in the Senate — with the exception of Mitt Romney — who voted to keep this odious narcissist in office rather than drop him into the dustbin of history where he belongs.

Who could have heard his taped phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and not thought they were listening to a president try to bully an elected official into committing a crime on his behalf?

It is such a relief that the country will now be led by a mature, patriotic man who has the ability to put his country above his own narrow interests, something that is inconceivable to Trump.

Wednesday afternoon, while the Capitol was still on lockdown, Biden reminded us what was really happening, and what Trump has wrought.

“The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect the true America,” Biden said in a televised address. “This is not who we are. What we are seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent. It is disorder. It is chaos. It borders on sedition. And it must end. Now.”

He, like many other responsible elected officials, called on Trump to go on national television and “demand an end to this siege.”


Did Trump heed Biden? Hardly.

After filling his supporters’ heads with anger and lies, after provoking them to violence, tweeted a typically half-hearted, self-indulgent, whiny video so filled with lies it caused Twitter to lock his account.

“I know your pain,” he said. “I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us … but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home.”

He concluded by speaking directly to the violent mob that stormed the Capitol: “We love you. You’re very special.”

That’s the man who has been our president for the last four years. Finally and fully unveiled.