187 minutes that tell us everything we need to know about Trump

187 minutes that tell us everything we need to know about Trump

Over the next short months as we approach the start of early voting for the 2024 presidential election, Americans will be deluged by a cascade of spurious narratives from Donald Trump and the Republicans who support him. Already, voters in swing states are being exposed to deceptively edited film clips mocking Biden as suffering from dementia or suggesting that the churning U.S. economy is actually disastrous. He’ll associate Biden with a nonexistent “invasion” of undocumented immigrants supposedly rampaging through our suburbs and transforming our cities into gray and grainy-lensed hellish war zones. 

None of these things are true, of course, but they’re not intended to be true. They’re intended to inflame, to create a false narrative and (above all) to preempt anyone from making a clear-eyed comparison between this country under President Biden’s oversight versus that of Trump. They’re designed to recast Trump—despite his glaring felony convictions, unbalanced, violence-stoking utterances, and abysmal record of botching the response to the COVID-19 pandemic—as someone possessing the requisite character needed to effectively lead this nation, while distracting and muddying peoples’ memories about things Trump actually did while in office.

But Trump already provided Americans with a singular and indelible impression for Americans to  recall everything they need to know about his presidency. He displayed it over a period lasting exactly 187 minutes on Jan. 6, 2021, while Americans watched its result play out in living color across their TV screens.

While the U.S. Capitol and the Congress fell under a deadly and unprecedented mob assault that day from thousands of his supporters, some armed with pistols and rifles, some wielding clubs, rebar, baseball bats, tasers, flagpoles and pepper spray, Trump sat for three hours in the Oval Office, watching the events unfold on Fox News, and did … nothing.

It was a nauseating dereliction of responsibility unparalleled in American history. Everyone in the nation saw its consequences, whether they wanted to or not. And while multiple courts are now occupied with the question of what Trump did to bring that day about, Trump doubtlessly would like Americans to forget all about what he didn’t do. They shouldn’t.

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