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President Trump met Friday night with Michael Flynn, the retired lieutenant general who briefly served as his first national security adviser, just weeks after pardoning him for lying to the FBI, and he asked about Flynn's idea to send the U.S. military into several states that voted for President-elect Joe Biden and compel them to "rerun" the election, according to several news organizations.
Most Trump administration officials and advisers in the Oval Office meeting reportedly strenuously objected to that idea and other schemes to try and overturn Trump's definitive, certified loss, though former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne said he was there and sided with Flynn, Rudy Giuliani, and Sidney Powell, who are telling Trump falsely that he actually won the election. On Sunday, Arizona GOP chairwoman Kelli Ward urged Trump to listen to his conspiratorial seducers, using a historical analogy dating back to 49 B.C.
Colloquially, "crossing the Rubicon" means something like moving past the point of no return, which is ominous enough when it comes to pushing to overthrow a democratic election. But you don't have to read Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus to understand the specific historical context of the phrase. You could consult Wikipedia, for example, or ask a high school history teacher.
I don’t think those using the term “crossing the Rubicon” understand what it means.
Julius Ceasar crossing the Rubicon was the event that brought the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire, ruled by an all powerful emperor. pic.twitter.com/QiC4j0c5YP
— Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (@BePastafarian) December 20, 2020
Addt'l historical point. As I teach my HS History students, one reason Caesar succeeded in overthrowing the Republic is that his men pledged an oath to serve him, not the Republic. Thankfully, our military swears an oath to the Constitution. Trump's crackpots will not succeed.
— John James (@musicman495) December 20, 2020
When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River into Roman Italy with a legion of soldiers, he violated Roman law, precipitating a civil war, the end of the Roman Republic, and the beginning of the Roman Empire. Things didn't end well for Caesar, of course, but if your concern is saving a republic from an autocrat, it's probably best to understand your historical analogies before, well, crossing the rhetorical Rubicon.
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