Wednesday's riot is the shameful presidential legacy of an unstable man: Reader views

USA TODAY

Wednesday's rioting in the nation’s Capitol represents the culmination of a widespread revolutionary assault on the American way of life.

The assault has been directed at all three branches of government: the legislative and executive branches of the 50 state governments, which are responsible for overseeing our elections; several state and federal judiciaries where disputes are handled; and the supreme legislative power of the federal government, the Congress of the United States.

This movement has also attempted to undermine institutions such as public schools and private churches, which together have been responsible for building up the store of public virtue spoken of by our nation’s Founders.

Schools are responsible for providing young people with the capacity to act as good citizens. Churches have tried to instill the importance of loving one’s enemies, which for more than 200 years has resulted in the peaceful transfer of power in our governments.

— Kimball Shinkoskey; Woods Cross, Utah

Will President Donald Trump pardon the pro-Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol, committed acts of domestic terrorism and disrupted the government?

His past behavior, denial of a lost election and mixed messaging indicate that this is a very strong possibility during his last days in office. He is already preparing to pardon his aides and may try to pardon himself.

Pardoning these insurrectionists will be a way for him to maintain his popularity among them and use them to harass and intimidate members of his own party. The greatest danger that Trump presents to America will be in his last remaining days in office. The storming of the Capitol was an opening act as pro-Trump agitators indicate that they may repeat this insurrection during the inauguration.

— George Magakis Jr.; Norristown, Pa.

There are calls to impeach President Donald Trump for his role in Wednesday's mayhem at the Capitol. There are also calls for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution and remove the president from office. These are all admirable sentiments proclaimed by "outraged" lawmakers who might want to look heroic for their base. But in reality they are quite useless in achieving the objective. The main problem is time — there simply isn't enough time to do any of this, and they all know it.

It doesn't take a jaded cynic to realize that this kind of talk is the height of political theatrics. Regardless of the circumstances that led up to today's events, come Jan. 20, Trump will no longer be president.

So enough with the self-righteous, holier-than-thou grandstanding. Honestly, you'd think they were up for an Academy Award for best actor in a leading role.

— Arthur Saginian; Santa Clarita, Calif.

What these rioters succeeded at is the downfall of this Republic based on democracy. Myself and millions of others have sworn an oath to defend our democracy against enemies foreign and domestic. Many have given the ultimate sacrifice in their quest to do that.

After president Trump, rioters' biggest fans right now are Russia's Vladimir Putin, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and “little rocket man” Kim Jong Un. It amazes me that these rioters truly believe the election was “stolen.” Who’s trying to steal it now? Stop the violence and stop your steal.

— Robert Murphy; Romeo, Mich.

It is reasonable to ask if Wednesday, following the Trump-fueled breach of the nation's Capitol, is the beginning of the end of Trump's lasting political power. President Donald Trump went too far and he will pay a price for it. No, he will not be arrested for treason and he will not be removed from the presidency by invoking the 25th Amendment. Trump's most fervent supporters are far-right radicals and the "lunatic fringe," but, his political power has been supported by more than 70 million everyday people who voted for him. These people have forgiven Trump his inflammatory rhetoric before, but, empowering people to attack the Capitol is a step too far. In my view, Trump has nailed the coffin shut on his future political influence and killed any hope he may have had of being politically resurrected in a presidential bid in 2024.

The president's obsession with promulgating his meritless grievance that the election was "rigged" and a win was "stolen" from him has backfired. He not only did not overturn a legal and legitimate election, he has left his legacy in shambles. Now, all that will be remembered is this final post-election period, capped off by his fomenting an insurrection against the United States.

Trump does not give a damn about history, after all he will not be around to hear it. But, he does care deeply about making money and wielding power in the upcoming years. It seems likely that after the events of Wednesday, he has severely handicapped his ability to do both of these things. Trump has now indisputably demonstrated that he is no stable genius. He is no political genius. And he may not be in possession of a "sound mind."

This is the legacy he leaves behind.

— Ken Derow; Swarthmore, Pa.

America’s president and politicians are out of control. The truth is considered unpatriotic. Divisive untruths rule the day and fake news the night, each spooning out heaping amounts of toxic rhetoric.

Driven on by the president, the insurrection and storming of the Capitol were not the American way, but an assault by misinformed, misguided and misled patriots. Our politicians went too far; blood was shed and life taken to substantiate falsehoods for personal and political gain.

Until the truth is common and accepted by the people, the nation and its people will continue to deteriorate at the hands of a few. The flames of insurrection were fueled by the administration’s lies, falsehoods and fake news. Politicians can disagree, but the truth of the matter is that facts are facts. The free press and social media should be the bastion of truth, not radical propaganda. How long will we let politicians conceal the truth? How long will democracy last in a nation so divided?

— John O’Malley; Hoover, Ala.

Because President Donald Trump told his law-breaking Capitol rioters of "special" people, whom he "loves" to "remember this day forever," they surely will. And peace-loving Americans will also add it to three other dates "that will live in infamy": Dec. 7, 1941, the day Pearl Harbor was bombed; Nov. 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated; and Sept. 11, 2001, when the U.S. was attacked by terrorists.

Jan. 6, 2021, will remain a disgraceful day. Thankfully (through no fault of the Capitol Police), our congressmen and congresswomen, including some Republicans, turned the Capitol from a disgrace to the better part of a "shining city on a hill."

— Richard Siegelman; Plainview, N.Y.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Wednesday's riot is shameful presidential legacy of unstable man: Readers