Thursday, June 20Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Trump Turns to Endorsing ‘Domestic Terrorism’

Within a short matter of days, as we grew closer to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, Trump was successful to secure his adamant position of abstinence against conceding the presidential election. 

This was first cited in The Washington Post on January 4th, which leaked private-call transcripts ‘berating Georgia secretary of state, [urging] him to ‘find’ votes’. And again, later re-confirmed in the Washington rally January 6 where he refused to admit defeat. Arguably leading to instigating and enthusing rioters that continued to descend on to Capitol Hill after he claimed, ‘we love you’, in what was supposed to be an appeal to ‘go home’. 

This was all before turning to signal there would be an ‘orderly transition’  of power to the Biden presidency, after Congress formally confirmed the election of Joe Biden as president on 7 January – although this was perhaps a weaker admittance of loss, as Trump signalled his defeat to be ‘‘only the beginning of our fight’ to his remaining supporters.  

Above events were inspired by Georgia’s Election as Democrats were seen to be ‘on course for Senate control’ in election re-run being held due to Georgia’s rule that a candidate must take 50% of the vote in order to win – which none of the candidates in November’s general election had met. 

This coupled with reactionary events following this timeline including Trump targeting Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in ‘flailing attempts to steal the 2020 election’, which stated he ‘just [wanted] to find 11,780 votes… because [they] won the state’ , as well as his rally speech in Washington, claiming that they ‘will never give up’ ‘we will stop the steal!’. It therefore came as no surprise that leaders began accusing Trump of inciting what is being labelled as the ‘domestic terrorism’ that took place at Capitol Hill. 

It is with alarming concern that the President did not condemn the violent behaviour, which has caused reason for America’s current democratic values, ahead of the new Biden presidency, to be put into question over previous refused election concession and this promotion of violence. 

As the global community has been left to watch in disbelief, this act leaves future international relations to be questioned, as Biden is posed with a task to remodel America, even more so than when he won the election last year, in facing this ‘unprecedented assault on democracy’.

In amidst Trump’s reactions, or lack thereof, in response to Capitol Hill, that came to be a ‘riotous mob’ which has left four people dead, President-elect Joe Biden called for a national appearance from President Trump ‘to fulfil his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to [the] siege’, as opposed to contradictory statements he had previously given.

The President-elect in a further press conference reinforced that: 

“It was not dissent. It was not disorder. It was not protest… Don’t call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists.”

While proposed democratic instability, particularly within the United States of America, is a shock globally in our modern era – analysts have rightly pointed to how this recent timeline holds a longer history, with a set trajectory, and one that was a ‘long time coming’.

‘A diet of misinformation’ had been ‘fed’ to Trump supporters in the build-up to November, in how a loss would be the result of a rigged election. Some have called this an even longer developing process across Trump’s entire presidency. 

Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP civil rights organisation in a statement said that:

“What we are witnessing at this moment is the manifestation and culmination of reckless leadership, a pervasive misuse of power, and anarchy,”.

But with warning signs side-lined, possibly unnoticed, or noticed without previous possible solutions, what is now being portrayed as an immediate security threat sees actions of social media blockage from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, talks of a second impeachment and even a presidential request for pardon. 

This culmination of events has shown the delicate nature of democracy, the capability for it to be upturned, and the challenge for it to be upheld, despite assurance of what will hopefully be a peaceful transfer of power. 

These are difficulties that will face the new Presidency. Where a typical presidential turnover reaffirms the continuation of democracy, this time it will perhaps show faith in its reinstatement.