Really, you're surprised by what happened in D.C.?

click to enlarge President Donald Trump talks reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Sept. 24, 2020. - OLIVER CONTRERAS/THE NEW YORK TIMES
Oliver Contreras/The New York Times
President Donald Trump talks reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Sept. 24, 2020.

Are you surprised? Sorry, trick question.

Wednesday’s events in Washington, D.C., could come as a surprise only to those who have been truly living under a rock the last four years.

We elected a flame-throwing demagogue to the highest office in the land, to a position once described as the most powerful in the world.

He built his administration around division, chaos, fraud and deceit. No president in modern political history has so divided the nation, and with deliberation.

Of course, Trump is not solely to blame. From the outset he has been enabled by Republican politicians more intent on their pursuit of power than on defending the rule of law and the Constitution.

We can only hope district voters will remember her treacherous duplicity when she shamelessly stands for re-election in two years.

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They traded honor for judges. They traded honor for de-regulation. They traded honor for coal. They traded honor for avoidance of a national pandemic strategy. And too many in both houses of Congress traded honor for a futile effort to thwart the will of American voters in an election they knew to be fair and honest.

None of this is surprising.

Wait for it now. Having sown violent discord, the president may finally do what his insane QAnon advisers have suggested and declare martial law. It is the only recourse left to him and those who believe he will now stand down are living under those rocks.

No surprise.

And no surprise that one of Trump’s most shameful enablers is our Fifth District Congresswoman, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers. In an open letter I wrote for the Inlander’s Nov. 26 issue, I wondered how low she would go after signing on to a Republican brief in support of an unsupportable Texas appeal to the Supreme Court. But she went lower. 

In Wednesday’s Spokesman-Review, columnist Shawn Vestal eloquently indicts McMorris-Rodgers for her support of sedition. By late today we can properly argue she and other lawmakers who refused to accept the election results are guilty of inciting insurrection.

Wednesday afternoon, McMorris-Rodgers attempted to backtrack, saying she would now vote to uphold the Electoral College results. Too little, too late and an effort to have it both ways. We can only hope district voters will remember her treacherous duplicity when she shamelessly stands for re-election in two years.

How will this all play out?

We have 14 more days of President Trump. These will be the most dangerous days for the Republic since 1861. No one can predict what additional horrors the president and his enablers will unleash. He still holds total control of the Justice Department and the Pentagon. He has cold-cocked the vice-president and neutered the few in his party who have stood in his way.

And he has unleashed the Proud Boys, an avowed racist group that calls for genocide against Jews and people of color. 

Are you surprised? Show me your rock.

Steven A. Smith is a former editor of the Spokesman-Review. He is now clinical associate professor emeritus in the School of Journalism and Mass Media at the University of Idaho, having retired from full-time teaching at the end of May 2020.

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