President Donald Trump should be removed from office, either by the 25th Amendment, impeachment, or resignation. He was already a destructive force to our republic long before Wednesday’s insurrection inside the U.S. Capitol, but his words inciting that riot and then delaying a response by the National Guard to restore order are disgusting and despicable. He and his close allies — Rudy Guiliani, Donald Trump Jr., Ted Cruz, and Josh Hawley — need to be held responsible for their actions as well.
Let’s call it what it was — domestic terrorism.
Many of you have questioned our decision to publish an interview with Steve Gallas, an Oak Bluffs man who traveled to Washington, D.C., and was an eyewitness to some of what happened that day.
We pushed back repeatedly during our hourlong interview with Gallas about what occurred on Wednesday, Jan. 6, at the Capitol. But we can’t put words in his mouth. Yes, we published his skewed vision of what happened, but it wasn’t without the context of the horror we all saw live on television. Listening to the feedback we received — and appreciate — we have rewritten the headline and subhead so it better reflects that this is one person’s view, and certainly not the opinion of this newspaper.
The interview with Gallas includes the important information that despite what he says he saw, there were five deaths, scores of people did breach and storm the Capitol, and that leaders like Congressman Keating, who was inside the building that day, are referring to it as an insurrection.
But to ignore that people like Gallas live in our community would be a disservice to our readers. And if you think he’s alone, you’re not paying attention. Nearly 20 percent of Vineyard voters supported Trump in the Nov. 3 election.
Gallas claimed to us that he is not a Trump supporter, though his fervent defense of those gathered in Washington that day belies his comments. We can say that here, on our opinion pages, but it doesn’t have a place in our news reporting.
Gallas told us he remained outside the building, though he does acknowledge going through the barricades without any pushback from Capitol Police. That’s another important point. We’ve heard and seen that police did not arrest many of the people who stormed the Capitol. We’ve also seen the photographs and footage of police taking selfies with the insurgents. That’s not OK, and it needs to be an important part of the ongoing investigation into what happened that day.
We also need answers as to why there wasn’t heightened security in the nation’s capital that day. We did and could see this coming. More should have been done ahead of time to protect the U.S. senators, representatives, and their staffs who were doing important work that day in certifying the election of Joe Biden as the next president of the United States. Not to mention the journalists who courageously shifted gears from covering the certification process to covering an attack on the U.S. Capitol. Video footage shows a long line of the criminals walking past a door with a handwritten message, “Murder the media.” We were disgusted to see other footage of Trump supporters destroying the equipment of journalists.
Many people, including Michelle Obama, have pointed out the discrepancy in how the mostly white rioters were treated juxtaposed with how police have treated Black Lives Matter supporters. In her statement after the riot, she pointed out that the criminals were allowed to walk out “not in handcuffs, but free to carry on with their days.
“It left me with so many questions — questions about the future, questions about security, extremism, propaganda, and more. But there’s one more question I just can’t shake: What if these rioters had looked like the folks who go to Ebenezer Baptist Church every Sunday? What would have been different?”
“I was watching these police handle this mob with kid gloves,” Dana Nunes, who organized daily Black Lives Matter vigils at Beetlebung Corner, told us. “Did you see one baton raised there? Yes, they used them to push back, but they were pushing back nicely,” Nunes said. “If this was a mob of Black people, they would have run out of bullets, and they would have run out early.”
We agree, and that may be one of the lasting images of this dreadful assault. We need to do much better, and we have a long way to go to find the answers.
Back to Gallas. Shooting the messenger is as old as history itself. Emissaries sent back and forth between warring countries faced the wrath of their king if they returned with bad news. In “Antony and Cleopatra,” Cleopatra is incensed when a messenger tells her that Antony has married someone else. “Gracious madam, I that do bring the news made not the match,” the envoy tells her.
We understand people don’t like the message Gallas brought back from Washington. We understand that it’s a twisted perspective of what happened that day and who is responsible for the violence.
We shared it with you, but that doesn’t mean we agree with it. We don’t.