PHOENIX — The presidency of Donald J. Trump must end now.
He must resign.
For the past four years, President Trump has spent much of his time spreading conspiracy theories and tens of thousands of false statements and outright lies.
Among the most heinous of his deceits, Trump’s repeated claim early in the pandemic that COVID-19 was no more harmful than the flu, even though he knew as early as last February that the virus was far more deadly.
Now more than 360,000 Americans and counting have been killed from COVID-19, thanks in great part to the president’s willful negligence and compulsive duplicity. Trump knew how deadly it was, but instead of doing everything humanly possible to slow its spread he downplayed the danger and made the crisis worse.
Yet, Trump’s abhorrent lie about COVID-19 and its consequences were based on an even more profound deceit: the fiction that this president has ever given a damn about anything but himself and a personal lust for power and wealth.
When Trump took the oath of office on January 20, 2017, he swore on a Bible once owned by Abraham Lincoln to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
The president has failed miserably to live up to that oath, but never so blatantly as he did on Wednesday when he urged tens of thousands of supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol to reject the results of the November election.
In a rambling 70-minute speech, Trump repeated the baseless claim that the presidential election was stolen from him, even going so far as to allege his political opponents had “used the pandemic as a way of defrauding the people in a proper election.”
“We’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you,” he told the crowd. “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol… We will never concede… You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.”
With the White House as his backdrop, Trump told the ralliers, many of whom would soon become rioters, “We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing,” by which he meant House and Senate members should discount the November election results and make him president for the next four years.
Congress, of course, doesn’t have the constitutional authority to overturn an election, but the facts have never mattered to Trump, who closed his speech by declaring, “Today is not the end. It’s just the beginning.”
Not to mention, what Trump was demanding is called a coup d’état, which is a federal crime and the act of a traitor.
A few hours later, hundreds of Trump’s foot soldiers, some of them armed, stormed the Capitol, ransacking lawmakers’ offices, smashing windows, and vandalizing the House and Senate chambers along the way.
Congress had convened to formally record the already certified lists of electors, the final administrative step in confirming the outcome of the election. But the rioters’ violent assault on the building forced the lawmakers to flee and temporarily halted the count.
By day’s end, four people were dead, including a woman who was shot. Police later reported finding two bombs in the Capitol.
What happened in our nation’s Capitol building this week was nothing less than an act of domestic terrorism, and the perpetrators must all be prosecuted and punished accordingly.
President-elect Joe Biden characterized the rioters as insurrectionists and what the attack they mounted as an act of sedition. He’s right.
President Trump along with every Republican who has backed up his lies for the past four years, but especially those regarding this year’s election, should be condemned for abetting the rioters behavior.
Incredibly, however, even after the rioters’ attack on the Capitol, dozens of Republican lawmakers demanded that Trump’s allegations of mass election fraud be formally investigated. But here’s the thing, those allegations have been thoroughly investigated since the election, in some cases repeatedly, and found to be baseless.
Obviously, the chaos of the Trump presidency isn’t quite over. He still has time to do much more damage.
That’s why it’s time for Republican leaders, since they’re the ones who helped create this monster, to protect the nation from the potential of an even greater catastrophe by demanding that the president resign.
He’s unlikely to comply, but Republicans and our political leaders as a whole must make clear that the president’s repeated and blatant disregard for the rule of law and our constitutional principles will not be tolerated.
Trump’s attempted coup must be stopped.
How much more damage will Trump do before leaving office? There’s no way of knowing, but I’m hardly alone in my belief that the man is capable of doing anything he can to remain in power.
If Republican leaders have a shred of dignity left, they must do the right thing and demand the president’s immediate resignation.
Trump’s presidency must end before it’s too late.
James E. Garcia is a journalist, playwright and communications consultant based in Phoenix, AZ, the editor and publisher of the weekly newsletter Vanguardia America, and author of the upcoming book “Vanguardia: The American Latino Renaissance & the Future of Our Nation.”