US media houses tore into President Donald Trump, calling him a “menace” and “unfit to remain in office” following the attack on the Capitol by Trump’s supporters on Wednesday. Both print and electronic media held Trump directly responsible for inciting the mob and demanded that he be held accountable through impeachment proceedings or criminal prosecution.
Thousands of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol and clashed with police on Wednesday, resulting in the death of at least four persons and interrupting a constitutional process to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the election. The protests were allegedly triggered by Trump’s speech at a rally of his supporters on Wednesday afternoon in Washington where he had asked them to “never give up” the fight.
The New York Times carried the headline ‘Trump incites mob’ on its front page. In an editorial titled ‘Trump is to blame for Capitol attack’, the newspaper said, “President Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress incited a violent attack Wednesday against the government they lead and the nation they profess to love. This cannot be allowed to stand.”
The NYT editorial said Trump’s “seditious rhetoric” prompted a mob of thousands of people to storm the US Capitol building, some breaking onto the House and Senate floors, where the elected representatives had gathered to perform their constitutional duty of counting electoral votes and confirming the election of Joe Biden as President.
“The president needs to be held accountable — through impeachment proceedings or criminal prosecution — and the same goes for his supporters who carried out the violence. In time, there should be an investigation of the failure of the Capitol Police to prepare for an attack that was announced and planned in public,” the editorial said.
“This is not just an attack on the results of the 2020 election. It is a precedent — a permission slip for similar opposition to the outcomes of future elections. It must be clearly rejected, and placed beyond the pale of permissible conduct. The leaders of the Republican Party also bear a measure of responsibility for the attack on the Capitol,” it added.
The Washington Post carried the headline ‘Trump mob storms Capitol’ on its front page, calling out the president for inciting the crowd to ‘act of insurrection, violence’. In an editorial titled ‘Trump caused the assault on the Capitol. He must be removed’, the Post said the president’s “refusal to accept his election defeat and his relentless incitement of his supporters led Wednesday to the unthinkable: an assault on the US Capitol by a violent mob that overwhelmed police and drove Congress from its chambers as it was debating the counting of electoral votes”.
“Responsibility for this act of sedition lies squarely with the president, who has shown that his continued tenure in office poses a grave threat to US democracy. He should be removed,” the editorial said.
Trump is “unfit” to remain in office for the next 14 days, when on January 20 President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn-in as the next leader of America, it said, adding “Every second he retains the vast powers of the presidency is a threat to public order and national security.”
“Vice President Mike Pence, who had to be whisked off the Senate floor for his own protection, should immediately gather the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, declaring that Trump is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” it said.
“Americans put on their seat belts, follow traffic laws, pay taxes and vote because of faith in a system — and that faith makes it work. The highest voice in the land incited people to break that faith, not just in tweets, but by inciting them to action. Trump is a menace, and as long as he remains in the White House, the country will be in danger,” the editorial said.
The Los Angeles Times and The Seattle Times also called out Trump for inciting the mob which attacked the Capitol on Wednesday.
The Wall Street Journal carried the headline ‘Mob storms Capitol’ on its front page. In its analysis, the Journal said that “never in the recent memory have the events of a single 24-hour period so shaken two presidencies, the very Capitol of the United States and the nation itself as they did on Wednesday”.