To the editor,

Former President Donald Trump and his enablers in the Republican Party committed treason on Jan. 6, 2021. The groundwork for the violent assault on our government that day was begun by Mr. Trump long before in 2016 as candidate Trump. He built on the myths, long promoted by some in the Republican Party, of rampant voting fraud. These claims had been disproven many times over by exhaustive studies, yet he kept repeating them without evidence. After winning the 2016 election, he continued to make false claims of election fraud, claims he made more often and vigorously as the fall election of 2020 closed in and it was evident he was lagging behind Mr. Biden. 

After Mr. Trump lost the election, he doubled down on false allegations, filing nearly 60 lawsuits (all of which he lost) in states around the country while repeatedly complaining on friendly news media outlets the election had been stolen. At rallies he stirred anger and resentment time and again as he worked to convince his followers to ignore the truth. Trump attacked local state and county election officials (Democrat and Republican) who had across the country uniformly stood up to his intimidation and told the truth, that elections under their watch had been secure, free, and fair. As a result many election officials received death threats.

Finally, during the days leading up to Jan. 6, 2021, Mr. Trump scheduled a rally near Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. where, along with others, he worked to further stoke the anger of those desperate followers who’d bought into his lies. When he sent them to march on the Capitol Building, he sent an angry, violent mob to assault the senators and representatives who were about to continue the centuries long peaceful transfer of power, resulting from a free, fair, and secure election, a hallmark of our democracy.

We saw the results. Windows and doors smashed to gain entrance, the nation’s capital vandalized, more than 140 police officers injured as they were assaulted by rioters, five people killed, and the lives of our duly elected officials threatened (witness the mock scaffolding and signs calling for the hanging of Vice President Pence). The aim was to forcibly discard the results of a free and fair election, to overturn the will of the American people. The aim was treason. 

Ken Vaselaar


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