Republicans need to choose: Trump or America

Members of the GOP at every level, including in Washington state, are responsible for the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

treason flag lies on floor of capitol

A flag that reads "Treason" is visible on the ground in the early morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol in Washington, on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

It is critical now to be clear and use blunt language.

What happened in Washington, D.C., this week, on Jan. 6, was an attempt to overthrow the government of the United States. This insurrection was the direct result of five years of Republicans allowing or supporting Donald Trump’s white nationalist authoritarianism.

Every Republican at every level is responsible for this. Every Republican at every level chose to allow Donald Trump to become the leader of the Republican Party or chose to remain a member of a party led by a dangerous demagogue.

Every Republican either joined Trump or looked the other way as he committed clearly impeachable acts. Every Republican either joined Trump or looked the other way as he spread blatant lies about the 2020 election. And every Republican either joined Trump or remained silent as he repeatedly incited violence against the press, his opponents and ultimately the Congress of the United States.

So now every Republican — activists, state and local officials, members of Congress — now faces a choice: Will you continue to belong to a party that includes seditious, extremist traitors? 

Those traitors include not just those who stormed the Capitol, but also elected officials who abused the power granted them by “We the People” to try and overturn the choice made by the people in a free and fair election.

And it includes extreme Trumpist Washington state Republicans like former state Rep. Matt Shea, current Rep. Robert Sutherland, and, oh yeah, the 2020 Republican nominee for governor, Loren Culp.

If there are any responsible, patriotic Republican leaders left at the federal and state level they should move to expel extremists from their party, as past Republicans did, or they themselves should leave the party, as so many of us already have.

Yes, this will cause the Republican Party to split. And that is what should happen now.

For far too long, Republicans who know who Donald Trump is and what he represents have tried desperately, and disastrously, to hold the GOP together. That must end.

Donald Trump is a villain, a traitor who history will rank with Benedict Arnold, Aaron Burr and Jefferson Davis. The political movement he spawned is proto-fascist in nature. Many Republicans tried to make a deal with this devil, and it blew up in their face.

So now Republicans need to choose: America or Trump.

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About the Authors & Contributors

Chris Vance

Chris Vance

Chris Vance, a former Republican party chairman, is a senior fellow at the Niskanen Center.