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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The day after Donald Trump was elected president, the stock market soared — and it almost never stopped. Since he took office, the S&P 500 rose more than 50% and the technology sector has skyrocketed more than 150%.

In his four years as president, Mr. Trump oversaw one of the greatest economic explosions in decades. Millions of jobs have been created and, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, employment and wages surged.


Mr. Trump expanded production of oil, and the U.S. surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of crude oil. He reformed the criminal justice system, cut taxes and helped manufacturing expand at home.

Abroad, he took out dangerous terrorists, got a dozen American hostages released, advanced peace in the Middle East, moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, rode herd on China, and replaced the North America Free Trade Agreement.

But all that disappeared — irrevocably — on Jan. 6, 2021.

On the day after Republicans lost both Senate races in Georgia (again, that was all Mr. Trump), he incited amped-up protesters outside the White House to march to the Capitol as lawmakers were certifying the Electoral College vote of Joseph R. Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

Make no mistake, Mr. Trump and his minions incited the violent riot that left at least five dead.

But first he sent out his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani to the “Save America” rally on the Ellipse, a patch of land between the Washington Monument and the White House. The former New York City mayor fired up tens of thousands of Trump supporters by saying he was “willing to stake my reputation” that election fraud handed the race to Mr. Biden.

“If we’re wrong, we will be made fools of,” Mr. Giuliani said. “But if we’re right, a lot of them will go to jail. So let’s have trial by combat.”

Combat indeed.

Then Mr. Trump appeared. In an hourlong stemwinder, he said the “emboldened radical-left Democrats” and the media had conspired against him.

“We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore,” he declared.

Near the end of his speech, pointing toward the Capitol down Constitution Avenue, Mr. Trump said: “After this, we’re going to walk down there, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down … to the Capitol and we are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women.”

And that’s just what his supporters did, though the president stayed home. They joined thousands more protesters outside the Capitol, where they clashed with heavily outnumbered members of the Capitol Police. Within minutes, the protesters-turned-rioters had swept up the West Front of the Capitol; they hit from the other side of the building, too.

Then Mr. Trump stoked the flames, blasting Vice President Mike Pence for (rightly) saying he had no constitutional authority to reject electors and overturn the election.

“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!” he wrote on Twitter.

Then he went silent. More than an hour passed as the violent rioters ran amok inside the Capitol — while Mr. Trump said nothing. He didn’t go live from the White House or even fall back on his favorite pastime — Twitter. He went, suddenly and coldly, silent.

Nearly two hours passed before he released a video statement — where he once again claimed robbery.

“I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side,” he said. “We love you, you’re very special … But go home and go home in peace.”

It was too little, too late.

On Tuesday, just before Mr. Trump flew to Texas to again tout the wall he never built, he again proved that he just doesn’t get it.

“If you read my speech — and many people have done it, and I’ve seen it both in the papers and in the media, on television — it’s been analyzed, and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate,” he said.

Mr. Trump the crybaby has already announced he won’t attend his successor’s inauguration, the first president to willfully do so since 1869. Democrats, meanwhile, plan to impeach him (again) or oust him via the 25th Amendment, which says the president can be removed if he “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

All of Mr. Trump’s achievements — and they were real and significant — have gone up in a puff of smoke. Not only has he crushed his own supposed plan to run again in 2024 (he’s done for good), his entire legacy will now simply be this: He incited an insurrection in America’s Capitol and stood by while it happened.

• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on Twitter @josephcurl.


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