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Since the presidential election, Trump has stepped up his efforts to undermine US democracy. But it all started four years ago. The Republicans are responsible for this coup attempt. Vice President Pence has one last chance to save her reputation. It took 159 years, but now a mob with a Confederate flag – which is now more a symbol of racism than for the southern states – has stormed the Capitol, wrote a journalist on Twitter, while Trump supporters besieged Congress in Washington. This description is correct. What Washington is witnessing on January 6th is an attempted coup, initiated by an elected president who refuses to accept the election result and countless court rulings on the election outcome. The storm on the Capitol began, but on American democracy, not just on that day, but four years ago, when a minority of US voters sent Donald Trump to the White House. This is what happens when a completely unscrupulous person gains power without any political or moral compass, who cares about nothing or anyone but himself.
As shocking as the images from Washington are, they shouldn’t be surprising. In the four years of his tenure, Trump has repeatedly signaled to racists, right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis that he is on their side. The current coup can also be traced back directly to him: at a rally by his supporters in Washington, Trump called for a march to the Capitol. When Congress was already occupied, Trump asked his followers in a Twitter video to go home. Most importantly, he repeated his lie that the election had been “stolen” from him and his followers. Trump’s absurd attempt to turn the result of the presidential election on November 3 was less political and more psychological from the start: With Trump, the madness sits in the White House. This does not excuse the protesters or the Republicans who submitted to this man and surrendered. Some protesters are believed to be punished for storming the Capitol, the center of the world’s oldest democracy. The sentence Republicans will have to live with is the shame of having put this president in office and, with a few exceptions, supported him for over four years.
Reports that Vice President Mike Pence unfollowed Trump on Twitter are incorrect. Something completely different would also be necessary. The 25th Amendment to the US Constitution provides that the Vice President, together with a majority in the Cabinet, can declare the President incapacitated and replace him. This is the Republicans’ last chance at least halfway to rehabilitate themselves. This is unlikely to happen. And yet there is reason to be optimistic. President-elect Joe Biden, speaking in his hometown of Wilmington, said the scenes from the Capitol do not reflect what the United States is. You can also see it differently. But Biden also said the work for the next four years will be “rebuilding” democracy in the US. After January 6th, after the failed coup attempt against democracy, hopefully a clear majority of Republican voters and politicians will have understood what they have done.