After Donald Trump lost his bid for re-election in November, he took many steps intended to undermine our democracy and retain the office that voters gave to Joe Biden.

Among those steps was to bring about a gathering of angry, fanatic thugs who would do his bidding. He repeatedly urged a gathering in Washington, D.C., to take place on Jan. 6, 2021, and he urged his followers to “be there, will be wild.”

Jan. 6, 2021, was, of course, not a date chosen at random. Undoubtedly knowing that his claims of a “stolen election” were baseless, and so would not prevail in court, he focused on the day on which electoral votes would be certified. He knew it would be his last, desperate chance to cling to power.

Trump urged his followers to march to the Capitol. Not only did he tell them, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol … you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.” Indeed, he told the crowd that he would be with them but, like all bullies, he is a coward. He sent the mob in motion, then scurried back to the White House to watch the results of the fuse he had lit.

But although Trump has been castigated for instigating the disaster that unfolded, it is important to understand exactly what it means for a president of the United States to incite violence. The president of the United States is no ordinary rabble rouser.

The United States Constitution, in Article II, Section 3, includes the “Faithful Execution Clause,” otherwise known as the “Take Care Clause.” It is the Take Care Clause that gives the office of the president the power to execute the laws of the United States. It prohibits the president from violating federal law, or ordering his subordinates to do so, because violating the law is the antithesis of faithfully executing the law.

Consequently, Trump’s words, and those of his acolyte, Rudy Giuliani – who told the crowd, “let’s have trial by combat” – not only told the mob to go to the Capitol to “take back our country,” but by Trump’s presence he made clear that he, the one person in the United States with overarching power to enforce federal law, was giving his sanction to what that mob would do.

Trump’s history unfailingly reveals his dedication to attacking any and all who disagree with him. On Jan. 6th, he sent his mob to the place occupied by Democratic and Republican senators and congressmen who, he knew, would not overturn a lawful election. It was also occupied by his own vice president whom, Trump tweeted shortly before the mob broke into the Capitol, “didn’t have the courage” to overturn the election. All of Trump’s enemies were in one place and Trump saw his opportunity.

We all know what happened next. The invasion and desecration of our Capitol, the terrorizing of our elected officials, the desperate attempt to stop the formal certification of the electoral process and, worst of all, the death of United States Capitol Officer Brian Sicknick. Officer Sicknick is lost to his family, having been murdered while trying to do his duty, protecting our elected officials.

On Jan. 23, 2016, Donald Trump said, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

Donald Trump now has the blood of Officer Sicknick on his hands. America will be measured by its response to Trump’s complicity in that murder.


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