the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
By Grace Yuan ‘23
When he promised to pardon US Capitol insurrectionists if he ran for president again and won, former president Donald Trump envisioned a second administration that would serve as a tool of personal retribution that would be even more authoritarian than his first.
To offer a brief summary of the situation until now: Trump's mob assaulted the Capitol in an attempt to prevent the certification of Biden's legitimate victory; they were incited at his Washington rally and entered the building. There, they beat up police officers and sent politicians fleeing. Trump utilized the executive's pardon authority to protect his political allies throughout his reign. Thirty-eight percent of the public thinks Trump is directly responsible for what happened on Jan. 6.
People who attempt to stage a coup based on false information about a rigged election were not indicted when brought into the criminal justice system. Moreover, 29% of Americans — including six in 10 Republicans (61%) — continue to believe Joe Biden only won the 2020 presidential election due to voter fraud. However, Trump's democracy-threatening style of politics is known for heightening feelings of resentment and victimhood. During the first four years of his presidency where he faced two impeachments, he worked to spread the idea that it was his rivals and subordinates who were abusing their positions of authority. Additionally, he tried to persuade the Justice Department to support his unconstitutional plans.
Trump uses language that he knows led to the violence. According to Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, one of the party's vehement critics, on Jan. 6, he threatened prosecutors. Trump said he would pardon the Jan. 6 defendants, some of whom have been charged with seditious conspiracy, and did admit he was trying to rig the election. If given a chance, he would repeat the entire process (Collinson, 2022). Overall, 40% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Trump, and 50% have an unfavorable opinion.
In conclusion, even after leaving office, Trump persuaded millions of people that there was a rigged election and that Biden is an illegally elected president. Because of his unfounded allegations of voter fraud, some Republican-run states have passed legislation that makes it more difficult to vote and simpler for political authorities to meddle with election outcomes. As the overwhelming favorite to win the GOP nominee in 2024, Trump is also traveling the nation, stirring up racial tension and polarization.