Coup d’état

Approximately 20 years ago, the Bush administration tried to convince Americans that Saddam Hussein and Iraq were imminent threats to the American mainland. We heard that Iraq was stockpiling nuclear weapons. They had obtained special aluminum canisters that could only be used for nuclear weapons.

It turned out that this wasn’t true. The canisters were used for their medium-range conventional missiles.

We heard tales of mobile biological labs. We also heard that Saddam Hussein had been secretly meeting with al-Qaeda and helping to train the terrorists. Bush Administration officials told us that Iraq was buying “yellowcake uranium” for nuclear weapons.

None of these tall tales were true, either. The media was spoon-fed “scoop” after “scoop” by the Bush Administration, and the media bought it. They then, in turn, breathlessly shoveled this nonsense at the American people for us to feed on and to fear.

There was almost no critical analysis; what analysis there was was buried on page 26.

Now, we have January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. The New York Times and the Washington Post seemed to struggle to figure out how to cover this event. Nor was CNN much help. What exactly was it? How did the president play into the event? Why didn’t the president—watching the chaos live on TV, like the rest of us—do anything for hours?

We never got adequate answers to any of these questions. So, the mainstream media just quit talking about the attack. The final narrative was that it was a spontaneous event that got out of control.

Where was the investigative reporting? This is why we pay a subscription to the Times or the Post. Right? We want them to dig into stories. I wanted a narrative of what happened. Instead, it seemed that everyone followed Fox News’s zombie interpretation of events. “The riot was spontaneous.” “Trump was just using political rhetoric at the Ellipse.” “He wasn’t calling for violence.”

The end. Now, let’s move on to something else.

Coup d’état

But fortunately, it wasn’t the end.

Over the last four weeks, we have learned a lot from the House of Representatives bipartisan January 6 committee. The events of January 6 were NOT spontaneous. Instead, Trump and his allies had a several-pronged approach to keep Trump in power.

The first prong was the direct assault on the Capitol. The Proud Boys and Oath Keepers were agitators and disruptors. They worked on what they thought were Trump’s direct orders.

Because of their paramilitary background, they were perfect for the job. They understood confrontation. They scoped out the Capitol. They probed for weak spots. They embraced fighting, pushing, and shoving. They physically removed barriers for the crowd to be able to move forward.

Second prong

The second prong was an attempt to influence the states. Trump and his allies worked tirelessly to overturn the election. Trump personally called leaders in Arizona, Michigan, and Georgia. He pressured state and local officials on multiple fronts.

There was direct pressure on Georgia: “I just want to find 11,780 votes.” He wanted the leader of the Arizona House to call a special session, which the leader did not have the power to do by himself, and declare that there was fraud and throw out the electors and replace them with Trump electors. This option is not in the US Constitution or the Arizona state Constitution. John Eastman, a law professor at Chapman University School of Law (which forced him to resign from the law school a week after Jan. 6), dreamed up this fake elector scheme out of thin air. (See Moore v. Harper, page XX, for more on this fake elector scheme.)

He convinced Arizona Senate President Karen Fann to waste millions of dollars in taxpayer money for a phony “audit,” which increased Joe Biden’s margin of victory in the state.

Third prong

Finally, there was consistent pressure on Vice President Pence to throw out the actual electors at the Electoral College. According to Trump and Eastman, Pence had this power. I’m not sure where they read that the Vice President has the ability to single-handedly overturn an election because he wants to.

Pence stood his ground for reasons only known to him and his God. If one person consistently rolled over for the president, it was Pence, so why he stood his ground this time is unclear.

Pence is no hero. After Pence saw the lawlessness of January 6, and after he learned that Trump had egged on the terrorists to find Pence and kill him, several cabinet members came to Pence to see if he agreed that Trump was unfit to complete his term. Using the 25th Amendment, Trump could have and should have been removed from office. Pence declined. Again, we do not know why.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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