Friednash: Trump’s propaganda fueled Capitol attack and it’ll burn down the GOP

President Donald Trump is burning down the GOP after radicalizing his believers and inciting a violent, deadly insurrection.

To save themselves, Republicans cannot minimize Jan. 6 or the events leading up to it.

Investigators must determine if the armed rebellion was a premeditated and organized coup attempt instigated by our commander-in-chief in direct violation of the Constitution.

There’s some evidence it was. Trump summoned his supporters to Washington, promising it “will be wild.”

What started out as pursuing dubious claims of “rigged” elections, morphed into theories of corruption and culminated in shocking right-wing extremist violence.

Secretaries of state in every state and judges in dozens of cases uniformly rejected the fantastical Big Lie about widespread election fraud used to steal the election from Trump. The president may have even broken federal and state law against election tampering by pressuring the Georgia secretary of state to find enough votes to overturn his loss.

How egregious were the events of January 6?

“There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution”.  Those words didn’t come from Speaker Nancy Pelosi or AOC; they came from Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, who voted to impeach Trump.

Since election-day Trump continues to spread the Big Lie.

The world has seen this level of disinformation before, and I don’t use references to Nazi Germany lightly. Trump made truth the enemy of the state as if he ripped out the page in the Nazi’s playbook about how to lie to the public. Trump has been building the foundation for where we are today for many months. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi minister of propaganda, said, “if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

Some of his supporters, including 147 members of Congress who voted to overturn the election results, have been drawn to the Big Lie like flies to manure.

The “stop the steal” narrative has been too lucrative to let go, with Trumps personal leadership PAC pocketing over $250 million in just two months.

It simultaneously cost Republicans the Senate majority in Georgia, and it may be costing us our country.

America knows what it saw: the perpetrators live-blogged and many have double-downed on participating. Using the same tactics from Charlottsville, fringe right-wing groups — who have prepared for a war that goes long beyond the events of 2020 — organized ahead of time, came armed with tactical gear, weapons, and white supremacist symbols.

They had plenty of cover too.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, kicked off the morning Trump rally by telling the protesters, “today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”

America’s least favorite clown, Rudy Giuliani, called for “trial by combat.” And the president’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., warned those who are a “zero not a hero” that “we are coming for you.” “Have some backbone. Show some fight”, Eric Trump told the crowd.

President Trump told the protesters, “if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Trump said, “our country has had enough” and, that they were going to walk down to the Capitol together, “because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”

Trump delayed calling for assistance as he watched the events unfold on live television.

When Trump finally intervened long after the attack had started, he told the terrorists to stand down: “Go home. You’re special. We love you.”

And, with blood on his hands, Trump has neither expressed contrition nor regret.

For the GOP, the task can’t be more stark.

Republicans must finally make it clear Trump is lying; there was no steal. They must loudly encourage law enforcement officials to vigorously investigate and prosecute anyone, from the president, members of Congress or anyone else who is found to have violated our nation’s laws. No one is above the law.

And, we are in a war for the soul of our nation, but not in the way Trump frames it. Democrats and Republicans are not eachothers’ enemies; they are fellow Americans. The terrorists that broke into and rampaged the Capitol, mostly walked out on their own terms. They are emboldened by their success and our launching plans for more mayhem across the county.

If the GOP can’t break ranks with them and these ideas, it seems clear that the party will wither and die.

The House has impeached Trump a second time with some GOP support. What happens in the Senate is crucial.

America remains on high alert for further violence and death threats against elected officials from domestic sources. Republicans can help quash this by aligning their words with actions and taking a stand.

My grandmother used to tell me that God helps those who help themselves. Republicans can save their party, but the first step must be to clearly and unambiguously repudiate the Big Lie, the behavior of domestic terrorists and quickly convict the enabler-in-chief, Donald Trump.

America remains at the beginning of this reckoning. Calls for healing will only resonate with respect and adherence to the principles of truth, respect for our laws and systems, and respect for human life.

History has its eyes on you.

Doug Friednash is a Denver native, a partner with the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber and Schreck and the former chief of staff for Gov. John Hickenlooper.

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