There is one man responsible for what happened in Washington on Wednesday, as America watched the heart of the republic under the assault of an angry mob:

Donald Trump.

It was nauseating. He owns this.

He egged on his supporters. He whipped them into a frenzy. He called them there to rally, to use their love of country as leverage to force his will upon the republic and against its laws.

Soon they breached the Capitol and climbed the walls. It was indeed shameful.

All that was missing were dying horses struggling in the street, and cannon balls and groups of men drunk on cheap rum.

But this isn’t the late 1700s. It’s 2021.

This was no different from the looters in Democratic cities all summer long who destroyed peaceful protest for the sake of satisfying their appetite for violence. There is nothing remotely conservative about mob rule.

Yet there was Trump, like some pied piper leading his followers into dangerous fantasy, a story in which he was the hero denied his just due by scoundrels who stole the election from him.

He had no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Even conservative judges he appointed noted he had no evidence to back his claim of widespread fraud. He’d all but called his own vice president, Mike Pence, a coward for not supporting his claims.

Pence did the right thing by his country, refusing to play along with Trump and announcing his intention to not oppose the certification of the Electoral College vote.

But Republican senators such as Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri wanted to use their objections as political platforms for possible future presidential runs, getting in front of the herd, promising to question the certification, to put their mark on things.

Outside, Trump whipped up the crowd. They’d been ridiculed by corporate media, by Big Tech that sought to silence them, by the establishment crowd, Republican and Democrat, who feared them yet sought to herd them.

There is nothing like a mob full of anger, the resentment in them building year after year, finally lathered up and ready to jump.

That was Washington on Wednesday.

“We’ve got to get rid of the weak Congress people, the ones that aren’t any good,” Trump said. “Today we will see whether Republicans stand strong for integrity of our elections, but whether or not they stand strong for our country.”

He added that “our country has been under siege for a long time.”

If that’s not inciting a riot, what is?

And so the chaos in Washington belongs to Trump: The woman shot in the chest, who died. The Capitol stormed by an angry crowd. Guns drawn by police. Pro-Trump protesters running through offices.

And the emergency evacuation of senators who, in keeping with our nation’s sacred traditions, were certifying electoral votes to make Joe Biden the next president of the United States.

Trump, who styles himself as a stand-up guy, was silent as his supporters stormed the Capitol. Later, shamed, he put out a video on Twitter, saying he understood their anger, yet repeated that the election had been stolen from him and from them.

“But you have to go home now ... we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.”

Go in peace? Too late for that Mr. President. Those who stormed the Capitol should be prosecuted and sent to prison. They can thank you for it.

Predictably, and swiftly, President-elect Biden grabbed a microphone to press his political advantage.

“All of you have been watching,” Biden said. “At this hour, our democracy is under assault. Assault in the citadel of liberty. The Capitol itself. ... The words of a president matter. At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite.”

Exactly.

As the National Guard headed into Washington, it became clear that the Democrats had won both U.S. Senate seats in Georgia, which had once been a reliably red Republican state.

Now the Democrats hold the White House, the House of Representatives, and there will be a 50-50 split in the Senate.

It was Sen. Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat and Senate minority leader, who shouted out after the November elections victory:

“Now we take Georgia, then we change the world!”

Be careful what you wish for Mr. Schumer. Because now you and the Democrats own the next round.

If those Georgia votes hold through any recount challenges, and Democrats keep that 50-50 Senate split, who can change the world by holding it in her hands?

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who will be there to break the tie.

And she’ll use it to launch her own campaign for president, to exert leverage of her own upon the republic.

As I watched the mob breaking the law, climbing the walls, I thought about the roots of their anger. They’re the forgotten. They feel as if their voice has been taken from them. They’re hated by those who control the culture — the media, the academics, Big Tech, Big Business — and their resentment will only grow.

But Biden is correct. The words of a president do matter.

Trump’s words failed his nation and his own passionate supporters, as the mob stormed our Capitol.

It’s all on him.

John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of The Argus Observer.

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