By Charlie Deitch
Pittsburgh Current Editor
As this issue goes to press, the United States Congress just voted to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time.
Trump is the first President in history to be impeached twice. At this point, everyone is well aware of how we got to this place.
On Jan. 6, as Congress gathered to certify Joe Biden’s win for President of the United States, Donald Trump was down the street at the Washington Mall. Trump gave a speech that continued to feed his followers several false narratives that led to the Capitol insurrection:
The Election was stolen
“All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by bold and radical left Democrats, which is what they are doing, and stolen by the fake news media. That is what they have done and what they are doing. We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved,” Trump said.
Vice President Mike Pence had the power to reverse the results of a fair election.
“I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. … All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify, and we become president, and you are the happiest people. And I actually, I just spoke to Mike. I said, Mike, that doesn’t take courage, what takes courage is to do nothing. That takes courage, and then we are stuck with a president who lost the election by a lot, and we have to live with that for four more years. We’re just not going to let that happen. Mike Pence, I hope you’re going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country. (APPLAUSE) And if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you. I will tell you right now. I’m not hearing good stories.”
Trump wouldn’t be president for much longer unless something is done quickly.
“After this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to … walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness.”
Sadly, we all know what happened from there. Thousands of people, a crowd filled with QAnon conspiracy theorists, white supremacists, anti-semites, and, quite frankly, what you might consider somewhat “normal” people who have bought into Trump’s cult-inducing rhetoric, marched to the Capitol, into the Capitol and attempted to overthrow our Democracy.
Some were armed, some left bombs, others were looking to physically harm, if not assassinate, our leaders including Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a frequent target of Trump’s vitriol had a “close encounter” with the invaders and thought she was going to die, Insurrectionists murdered a Capitol Police officer with a fire extinguisher and beat and kicked others, one with an American flag on the steps of the Capitol. Other Capitol Police officers donned MAGA hats and took selfies with the insurgents.
And they probably weren’t alone. Reports come out daily about members of Congress and other officials who may have taken an active role in the planning and execution of the plan.
This was not a protest. It was at least, an act of sedition, and at most, treason against the United States. Jerry Dickinson, a constitutional law professor at the University of Pittsburgh says that many of the insurgents at the Capitol last week will claim they were just expressing their constitutional right to free speech. But Dickinson says the protections of the First Amendment “are not unlimited.” And those actions were of a seditious nature, an attempt to overthrow the government.
“It is likely that numerous protestors who stormed both the House and Senate floors violated federal law, as it is a federal crime to enter the floor of either House through the use of force and violence,” Dickinson said. “This was a seditious assault on American democracy and a historic attempt at insurrection incited by the President of the United States. As a constitutional law professor, I firmly believe it will take years to repair the damage to American democracy. [These] events have left an indelible, and perhaps irreparable, scar on our nation.”
It’s not a difficult theory to get behind for two reasons.
First, the ease at which the domestic terrorists breached the Capitol is frightening. There were not enough peace-keeping forces there to prevent the insurrection, despite ample warning about the major protest and chatter discovered by law enforcement agencies about an assault on the Capitol. Additional support was sought before the event and for a long duration at the beginning of the siege before additional forces finally arrived.
No doubt, as you followed the attack on the news, on social media, and in subsequent news reports, you saw someone you know at the Capitol that day.
Maybe it was your state Senator, like Doug Mastriano who was smiling and laughing like he didn’t have a care in the world. Or maybe it was your professor at Saint Vincent’s College, a former state representative and congressional candidate like Rick Saccone.
While there’s no evidence that either breached the Capitol, Saccone sent this video message out on Twitter: “We’re live in front of the U.S. Capitol with hundreds of thousands of people storming the Capitol. They broke down the gates … We’re trying to run out all the evil people and the RINOs (Republican in Name Only) who betrayed our president…We’re calling on Vice President Mike Pence to support our president.”
Or maybe you saw a patrolman from your hometown wearing a hat that said, “Trump 2020: Fuck your Feelings” in the crowd. For a lot of people, that’s the scariest thing. Finding out that someone who is supposed to protect you is enough of a Trump supporter to travel to D.C. and wear an offensive hat. That’s the case with Zelienople Police Officer Thomas Goldie, who was photographed there. The town’s chief told me that the city’s law department was investigating, but he also told KDKA that if Goldie was simply there and did not take part in the unrest, there wouldn’t be a problem.
But, for most people knowing their police officers support a man who has openly supported white supremacists and ordered troops to teargas a crowd of actual protesters so he could walk to a photo-op, is a frightening thing.
One Zelienople resident, who asked not to be identified, has their own questions about Goldie’s presence in D.C. The resident said they are legitimately worried about being pulled over by an officer who supports Trump so rabidly.
The Pittsburgh Current is looking for any information about local police officers who attended the rally. Especially in light of recent news that the Justice Department is investigating certain police officers and members of the military for any part they may have played in the planning or carrying out of the insurgency. Before everyone starts yelling about First Amendment rights and what people do on their own time, etc, etc., We’ll end on the questions/feelings sent to the Current of one person who lives in a small town where such an officer freely roams the street.
What was his level of involvement, support, and enthusiasm regarding the acts of domestic terrorism and coup attempt he traveled out of state to attend?
How is his “Fuck Your Feelings” slogan reflected in his policing?
3. Are the feelings being “fucked” those of the American voter, those who did not vote for Trump, or those of the terrorized individuals in the Capitol Building yesterday?
4. Does he have plans to attend or celebrate at any coup attempts in the future?
5. Were other members of Zelienople law enforcement in attendance yesterday?
6. If so, do they also wish for any particular groups’ feelings to be “fucked”?
7. Does he wear the “Fuck Your Feelings” hat with his uniform?
8. If not, how have you ascertained his ability to separate his desire to attend a planned coup attempt and his disregard for the feelings of others from his ability to police without bias?
9. Does the Zelienople Borough or Police Department support Officer Goldie’s attendance of the coup or his visible clothing statements?