By Patrick Martin
Jan. 5, 2021
US President Donald Trump doubled down on his efforts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in a speech in Georgia Tuesday, pledging, “They are not taking this White House, we are going to fight like hell.”
He explicitly rejected conceding to Joe Biden, who won the election, declaring that the presidential veto is the “last line of defense” against the “left-wing socialists, communists, Marxists.”
He demanded that Vice President Pence intervene to stop the certification of the vote, saying, “I hope that our great vice president comes through for us.”
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Trump supporters, many of them armed, will descend on Washington D.C. in a series of protests against the certification of the election results.
Muriel Bowser, Washington’s Democratic mayor, has requested the deployment of the National Guard this week.
Commenting on these developments, the Financial Times noted:
“Some figures in the defense establishment fear Mr. Trump will use violence at protests this week as a pretext to invoke the Insurrection Act, as he has proposed in the past, which would allow him to order the military to quell any unrest. Those concerns prompted all 10 living former US secretaries of defense—including Republicans Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld—to caution against invoking the military to resolve electoral conflicts.”
In response to the revelation of President Donald Trump’s hour-long phone call Saturday with Georgia election officials, in which he sought to bully and threaten them into overturning Joe Biden’s election victory in the state, President-elect Biden and leaders of the Democratic Party in Congress have adopted a posture of cowardly and duplicitous silence.
They have maintained a similar silence on warnings of possible military intervention in the US political crisis.
Biden campaigned in the state of Georgia Monday, addressing a rally on behalf of the two Democratic candidates for US Senate seats in Tuesday’s runoff election. He did not mention Trump’s threats of political reprisals, criminal prosecution and outright violence unless Georgia officials “found” the necessary votes from November 3 to make him the election victor.
The Democratic president-elect made only an oblique reference to the political crisis triggered by Trump’s refusal to concede defeat in the presidential election, which he lost by 7 million votes and by a margin of 306-232 in the Electoral College. In America, Biden claimed, “Politicians cannot assert, take or seize power. Power is given, granted by the American people alone. And we can never give that up.”
He softened even this weak-kneed comment by referring to “our opposition friends.” This was under conditions where a majority of Republicans in Congress plan to support a completely illegal and unconstitutional challenge to the Democratic victory in the Electoral College when Congress convenes in joint session Wednesday to count the electoral votes.
Biden said nothing at all about the extraordinary public statement published Sunday by the Washington Post, in which all 10 living secretaries of defense, Republicans and Democrats alike, declared that Pentagon officials, both civilian and military, had no role to play in determining the outcome of the US presidential election.
The 10 included two of Trump’s own Pentagon chiefs, among them Mark Esper, whom Trump fired after the election because of his opposition to using US military forces for the purposes of domestic political repression. The obvious question posed by this remarkable document is what is going on behind the scenes in Washington that would make figures as reactionary as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld sign an appeal in favor of keeping the military out of American politics.
Biden and the congressional Democratic leadership are well aware of the implications of the letter from the defense secretaries (six of whom worked in Democratic administrations). Their silence is simply another manifestation of the ongoing struggle within the US ruling elite, whose ground rules include keeping the American population, and particularly the working class, completely in the dark about the coup plots and counterplots that are raging within official Washington.
Trump is backing demonstrations by armed fascist gangs set for Washington D.C. during the January 6 Electoral College certification, a transparent effort to intimidate his political opponents. He has denounced as the “surrender caucus” those Republican congressmen and senators who have acknowledged the results of the 2020 election and are not supporting efforts to challenge the counting of the electoral votes.
The revelations published in the press, to say nothing of Trump’s own tweets, provide ample evidence to charge the president of the United States with the brazen violation of his oath of office to defend and uphold the Constitution. But the Democrats, who impeached Trump for withholding military aid from Ukraine—and thus undermining the anti-Russian foreign policy of American imperialism—are completely unwilling to impeach Trump for threatening to overthrow American democracy.
For the next two weeks, the full powers of the American presidency remain in the hands of a political gangster who has made it clear a thousand times over that he is concerned only with maintaining his own grip on power, no matter what laws and democratic principles have to be trampled on in the process.
Never before in American history has an incumbent president denied his electoral defeat, condemned as treasonous anyone in his own party who accepted the democratic will of the American voters, and openly plotted to overthrow his duly elected successor.
On Sunday, Trump addressed a Zoom call of more than 300 state legislators from Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, brought together by the ultra-right “Got Freedom?” organization, and urged them to use the Republican majority in their state legislatures to overrule the decision of the voters.
Joining the Democratic Party in the coverup of this enormous threat to democratic rights is the corporate-controlled mass media. While the Washington Post first made public the tape of Trump’s phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and this particular revelation has been widely publicized in the press and on television, the most sinister details of this call have been largely suppressed.
As the WSWS reported yesterday, at one point during the call, Trump railed against a female election worker in Fulton County (Atlanta) who has become a target for social media death threats because of completely false allegations that she ran a batch of ballots through a counting machine several times, tripling the vote total in the heavily Democratic area. Trump mentioned this worker by name several dozen times in the course of the hour-long call, but it has been blipped out for her own safety. At one point he said:
“So what are we going to do here folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break. You know, we have that in spades already. Or we can keep it going but that’s not fair to the voters of Georgia because they’re going to see what happened and they’re going to see what happened. I mean, I’ll, I’ll take on to anybody you want with regard to [name of election worker] and her lovely daughter, a very lovely young lady, I’m sure.”
The last sentence, uttered in the style of a mob boss, was nothing less than a death threat against the election worker and her child. While reproduced in the transcripts published in newspapers, no other attention has been drawn to this particularly thuggish declaration. Nor has any Georgia Democratic leader, or Biden himself, taken up her defense, or condemned Trump’s open incitement of violence.
Instead, the message from the Democratic leadership is one of utter complacency. A top deputy to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Caucus leader Hakeem Jeffries, told a press conference Monday morning that he had not even read the transcript of Trump’s phone call with the Georgia election officials. Asked whether Trump had committed a crime for which he should be held accountable, Jeffries replied, “We are not looking backward. We are looking forward to the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer maintained, “On January 20, Joe Biden will be president and Kamala Harris will be vice president no matter what they try to do.” He and other top congressional Democrats, as well as Biden, continue to profess their desire to make policy and enact legislation in collaboration with their “Republican colleagues.”
While the Democrats systematically downplay the seriousness of the threat to democratic rights represented by Trump’s continuing coup efforts and his incitement of fascist forces, a number of anti-Trump Republicans have been blunter about the political trajectory of the Republican Party. Steve Schmidt, a former campaign adviser to John McCain, described the Trump-controlled party Sunday as “an American autocratic movement with fascistic markers.”
Republican Representative Chip Roy of Texas moved to challenge the seating of all representatives from the six states whose electoral votes are being threatened, pointing to the hypocrisy of Republican congressmen claiming their own election from Arizona or Pennsylvania was legitimate, while Biden’s victory in the same state was due to fraud. Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer immediately objected to Roy’s challenge, and it was quickly voted down.
Published at www.wsws.org