History may be kinder to Donald Trump as president of the United States than we can today imagine but that’s a long way away. Today, nothing is more unbecoming about the way he has conducted himself in office than his leaving of it.
Or trying not to leave it, when he lost the last election.
Look at the scenes at the Capitol: A mob incited to riot by the president of the United States.
The fiasco Wednesday at the Capitol was a Trump-inspired protest of the usually mundane task of counting electoral votes for the presidency.
The result of that task is preordained because many Republicans refuse to go along with the literally trumped-up objections to the votes in several states. More honor to them, leading with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
McConnell said the voters have spoken. “If we overrule them we will damage our republic forever,” he said.
With his speech, McConnell spoke for a disgruntled party that almost blindly followed Trump as president but today stands repudiated at the polls in Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoffs. Georgia. Where the Electoral College fiasco, brewing for days, doubtless turned off voters.
Vice President Mike Pence, the endlessly loyal backer of the president, rejected the utterly bogus notion from Trump that he has authority to reject the Electoral College votes of the states.
If the Republicans putting country before party deserve honor — including, we note with pride, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge — the bulk of Louisiana’s GOP delegation deserve condemnation. U.S. Sen. John N. Kennedy, R-Madisonville, showed himself unworthy of the moment.
Condemnation is not too harsh a word.
That Wednesday's riot is disgraceful is obvious. What should also be clear is that congressional Republicans loyal to Trump are culpable.
The first refuge of political scoundrels is the law books, and U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson from north Louisiana was among the lawyers spinning out the notion that changes in election laws in the states — every one, that we are aware of, approved by courts, governors or legislatures — somehow contravened the constitutional authority of state lawmakers to oversee elections.
McConnell disposed of this immediately. Congress as “a national board of elections on steroids” would be a farce, and he’s right.
The president’s fantasy is that he was robbed. Because of his political influence, members of the Congress — right up to the No. 2 House Republican, Louisiana’s Steve Scalise — pretzeled their honor into backing a spurious legal claim.
Even more obvious is the fact that Johnson, Scalise and others try to ignore, crystal clear to five-year-olds, that 2020 was not a normal year. States had to make pandemic-inspired adjustments to elections — Louisiana did, and they were controversial, but our returns for president were not contestable in any way. Our elections in the United States are not perfect, but in this world, our republic and its democratic process are a light, today sullied by the president for his own ends.
That Donald Trump takes this loss badly is one thing. That our constitutional processes are attacked out of rage and blindness is something that history will truly remember.