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Trump’s white supremacist insurrection overtakes the Capitol

A stunned nation faces the most serious attempt in its history to overthrow the government, and the enemy is the president.

Supporters of President Trump swarmed scaffolding prepared for the inauguration at Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.HENNY HOLSTON/NYT

Do not call what’s happening in Washington a protest.

It’s a white supremacist insurrection, a seditious attack on democracy. This riot is yet another battle in a Civil War that has never ended, one that generations of white people have waged through lynchings, murder, intimidation, oppression, odious policies, and systemic racism.

This is what President Trump — who should be arrested for inciting violence, never mind impeached again — wanted. He’s never cared about America, and he’d rather watch this nation burn than see it led by anyone else. Of course, the blame for this riot cannot end at the Oval Office. May it forever stain every Republican who refused to acknowledge Joe Biden as the president-elect. Let it shroud every GOP legislator who turned Trump’s loser pity party into a pointless effort to thwart the will of 81 million voters. Speak with shame the names of the men and women who fought against democracy and tried to pervert voter engagement into voter fraud. They own this horror, each and every one of them.

These sickening images of a nation unmoored should haunt Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell for the rest of his days — every night as he closes his eyes, and as a shrill greeting with the morning light. He can save his sanctimonious, too-damn-late speeches admonishing the criminal president for whom he has been an ally and accomplice. McConnell has worn his hypocrisy like a chestful of medals. The monster he helped create, coddle, and feed is devouring America, live on television.


Let him remember this day none of us will ever forget.

Before the Capitol had to be evacuated and lawmakers barricaded themselves in their offices after security had been breached, GOP legislators applauded the first objection to the Electoral College certification. They cheered an attempted coup within our borders, one they allowed to fester for months with blatant lies about an election Trump soundly lost.


And what of the police as this madness ensued? Early on, they were mostly observers, displaying the kind of extraordinary restraint missing every time Black people stand up for their constitutional rights. Hell, it’s absent when a Black woman sleeps in her home, or a Black man walks down a street.

If you don’t douse the spark, it explodes into an uncontrollable fire. This is where centuries of accommodating irrational white grievances have left us, staring at a potential future of ash and desolation. Now a stunned nation is facing the most serious attempt to overthrow its democracy. Yet the enemy does not hail from a distant land. The violent perpetrators carry American flags, and the terrorist is a white supremacist in the White House.

Renée Graham is a Globe columnist. She can be reached at Follow her @reneeygraham.