Opinion | The Consequences of the Capitol Attack

To the Editor:

President Trump and the Republicans have raised millions of dollars since the election, peddling their false narrative about voter fraud. Now that their supporters have ransacked the Capitol, they say that the time has come for national healing and reconciliation. An excellent first step in that process would be for Mr. Trump and the Republicans to voluntarily reimburse American taxpayers for the damage done to the Capitol by their supporters.

Such a gesture would, of course, not recompense for the deaths and the harm done to our democratic institutions. But at least it would demonstrate that Mr. Trump and Republicans have some sense of responsibility.

Dana Gumb
Bayside, Queens

To the Editor:

So who should be blamed most for the wild assault on the nation’s Capitol?

Let’s go down the list: President Trump and his tweeting, Ted Cruz and his band of apologists for Mr. Trump’s attempted coup d’état, the Capitol Police, the many Republicans who did not dare to stand up to Mr. Trump’s provocations?

None of these factors — except possibly Mr. Trump’s Twitter account, which has been suspended — comes close to playing as much of a role as the trio of bomb throwers at Fox News: Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham. This irresponsible trio of Trump backers has done more to divide this country and stir up the animals within us than any other force.

And they have done it with impunity by acting as legitimate members of the press, which is protected in this country by the First Amendment. They know they can say almost anything they want and they won’t be punished.

Journalists have wide latitudes of power. And that power can be used in some pretty damaging ways, such as rousing pliable people to commit crimes they would not otherwise commit.

Arthur E. Rowse
Chevy Chase, Md.
The writer is a retired journalist.

To the Editor:

While I think a full and unrestrained independent inquiry needs to be carried out, I also believe that we need to give some credit where it is due. It is remarkable that only a couple died at the hands of others during the attack on the Capitol.

New video evidence shows brave Capitol Police officers guarding most entryways with all their might, and being overwhelmed by a mob. I saw one officer gasping for air, screaming and retching as he was pressed between thugs and his own colleagues.

While there very well may have been malfeasance among the Capitol Police, a very large number of the officers performed with great honor, in service to our country and democracy, and indeed one made the ultimate sacrifice. May he rest in peace.

Philip Duguay
Montreal

To the Editor:

Re “This Is When the Fever Breaks,” by David Brooks (column, Jan. 8):

Of course, the U.S. Capitol must be restored after the sickening damage inflicted by a presidentially inspired melee. But please, some artifacts of the damage ought to be left right there, in place. Permanently.

Like David Brooks, I first visited this awe-inspiring temple of democracy in my teens. I then spent my career as a lobbyist for nonprofit organizations, often working with members of Congress in the Capitol Hill complex.

For the benefit of future generations of visitors who tour this sacred place, seeing examples of the damage inflicted by the mindless fury of the Trump mob — with appropriate explanatory materials typical of America’s historical monuments — will be highly educational.

Just as we preserve the wreck of the bombed U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor, we must not so thoroughly clean up the Capitol that memories of the outrage that occurred here at the instigation of a president of the United States do not also “live in infamy.”

Doug Scott
Palm Springs, Calif.

To the Editor:

Should I point out that criminals should not do selfies while in the midst of their criminal activities? That’s almost as stupid as having a video recording of someone encouraging them to commit insurrection. Maybe I just don’t understand Republican politics!

C.K. Roberts
Austin, Texas

To the Editor:

The members of the mob who were arrested for storming the Capitol should face maximum legal consequences. In their need to pay for legal counsel, these rioters would do well to consider asking for financing help from the president they supported, and to whose “Stop the Steal” legal fund they and their ilk contributed.

Mr. Trump has an opportunity — and perhaps an obligation — to take care of his supporters as they face legal jeopardy. And should the president decline to do so, perhaps his base will understand how things actually work for this man.

Hovey Clark
San Francisco

To the Editor:

President Trump has raised over $200 million under the false bugle call “Stop the Steal.” The funds were raised, and continue to be raised, by false and fraudulent representations. The funds will ensure that Mr. Trump has political clout long after he leaves office.

To protect their citizens, attorneys general should bring actions to enjoin Mr. Trump from continuing to solicit funds, restrain him from using the funds pending the outcome of the case, and seek the return of the funds as the ultimate remedy.

Sidney B. Silverman
Key Biscayne, Fla.

To the Editor:

We must not allow images of the Capitol marauders to perpetuate the myth that President Trump’s followers are predominantly poor, uneducated white folks.

Mr. Trump’s campaigns and his presidency were fueled by wealthy individuals and corporations. Media billionaires amplified his smallest twitch. Soirees at Mar-a-Lago and elsewhere fed Trump’s coffers. While he reportedly cheered on the Capitol insurrection Wednesday, he is said to have quickly lost enthusiasm, calling the horde “low-class.”

There were hooligans in the halls of our Capitol for a few hours Wednesday, and their misguided convictions are dangerous. But corporate hooligans and sycophant lawmakers who walk those halls every day are more dangerous. To repair the damage the Trump presidency has dealt our country, we must understand its source. The real mob wears bespoke suits. Don’t say otherwise.

Laurie Morse
Glencoe, Ill.

To the Editor:

In the midst of the massive news coverage of the assault on the Capitol, and the mental health of our current president, there has been almost no mention of the mental health of our members of Congress and their staffs, and the psychological aftereffects of the ordeal they experienced.

They have endured what many of our schoolchildren have unfortunately had to incorporate into everyday life. Shelter in place. Hide under desks. Block doorways. Contact loved ones. Hope that help is on the way.

The aftermath of trauma is powerful. We witnessed that these brave men and women walked back into the scene of the crime within hours. They had business to do and they did it. Their strength and resilience were remarkable.

I hope and pray that these people will now take time to process the enormity of the trauma they have endured and attend to their own psychological needs.

Carol Merle-Fishman
Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.
The writer is president of the International Integrative Psychotherapy Association.

To the Editor:

In view of the disgraceful and illegal actions of Jan. 6, the new Congress should ban all government support for a prospective Trump Presidential Library and Museum. Let the National Archives store what must be stored in its suburban Maryland warehouse.

Only presidents who obey the Constitution should get the honor of a taxpayer-supported library.

Alex Eisenberg
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

To the Editor:

Somebody should tell the MAGA folks that even if they think they don’t need masks for Covid, they should probably still wear them when committing crimes.

Alan Rutkowski
Victoria, British Columbia

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