Why did it take the violent storming of the iconic US Capitol Building in Washington on Wednesday for 45th President Donald Trump to accept he lost the November 3 elections?
Why were protesters so riled that it led to the killing of one of them and the subsequent death of another four, including at last report a US Capitol Police officer?
Why did this all take place in the land of the free and the home of the brave in 2021?
Why did the armed forces take so long to respond to the mayhem, compared to their response time and readiness while at Black Lives Matters protests?
There are so many questions to be asked by all around the world who witnessed the worst display of human behaviour from citizens of the leading country in the globe.
For the past four years, Trump has been inciting, igniting and encouraging his army of supporters. No wonder then it ended bloodily.
Before the protest, he told supporters to come out and march down to Capitol Hill. He told them they mustn’t be weak and that the situation called for “strength”. He said repeatedly they must “fight” for the election that was “stolen” from him.
And even after all the rioting and chaos, when Trump should have been appealing for calm he again fuelled the already raging fire by again saying the election was stolen while urging them to go home in peace.
A video circulating today showed Trump and his camp watching the unrest on a big screen TV seemingly “enjoying” the moment. We cannot help but wonder if the President did not want the riots that occurred Wednesday to happen.
One thing is clear, he did very little to avert it or bring it to an end.
But he wasn’t the only one. Law enforcement was not out in its usual full force as is the case when there are Black Lives Matter protests. Police officers were not as forceful and militant as they are with BLM protests.
Many have also criticised the length of time it took for armed forces to arrive on the scene and bring the crowd under control. And even after a curfew was ordered, rowdy crowds could still be seen on the streets of Washington with little show of force from the law.
Conversely, members of the DC National Guard, armed and wearing camouflage uniforms, stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial last June as crowds of BLM demonstrators held a peaceful protest following several days of demonstrations.
Last June, protesters in Washington, DC, repeatedly faced tear gas. Many were detained. One protest led to 88 arrests. By comparison, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee said Wednesday evening that police had made 52 arrests – 26 of which were made on US Capitol grounds.
Americans and politicians alike should demand better from their law enforcement.
President-elect Joe Biden, who has called the violence an “insurrection”, also weighed in on the disparities as it relates to the two protests.
“No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday there wouldn’t have been treated differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol. We all know that it is true and unacceptable,” he said.
The unfortunate and regrettable events that occurred have been condemned by world leaders, even fellow Republican politicians, some of whom would have enabled Trump over the past four years.
We say too little too late to those who have only found their conscience on Wednesday. The damage has already been done.
Many of Trump’s political allies voted against him late Wednesday night when the appeals that were lodged, objecting to the election results that were in President-elect Joe Biden’s favour, were heard in Congress.
Some who had vowed to support him backed down when the time came to vote. They stated that after the upheaval that endangered their lives and those of their colleagues, they were not voting for Trump. The Congress count ended at 302 Biden, 232 Trump.
Most telling was that earlier in the day Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence publicly stated that he had accepted the election result.
After the riots, former US President and fellow Republican George W Bush Jr. did not mince his words.
“This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic – not our democratic republic. I am appalled by the reckless behaviour of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement.”
The evidence is there and shows that Trump has been the most divisive President in modern history. He has incited hate and racial tension. His arrogance and child-like behaviour has fractured the country’s relationships around the world.
Only on Thursday, a day after the ugly events, after four American lives were lost, and after Congress emphatically rejected the claim that the election was “stolen”, did Trump decide to concede.
“My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation,” he said.
Of course, nowhere in his brief speech did he congratulate or even call Joe Biden’s or Kamala Harris’ name.