Trump’s legacy: the invasion of the Capitol

Credit:Illustration: John Shakespeare

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Trump’s legacy: the invasion of the Capitol

Donald Trump has sought to foment a civil war for many months. He told the Proud Boys to be ready for action. He said the election would be fixed before even one vote was cast. He sought to dodge the constitution at every turn and ignored standards of decency. He lied many times, with claims that were repeatedly proven to be false and yet the lickspittles lined up behind him. They are now part of the masses who believe the election was ‘‘stolen’’.

The reality is that the Democrats mobilised their voter base better than the Republicans did, and people saw Trump as the incompetent failure he always has been on COVID-19. The best thing to come out of this is that the Democrats will control the legislative agenda following their Senate wins and America can work at the desperate rebuilding it needs. Trump will be best remembered for the invasion of the Capitol and the support that this footage gives to despots around the globe.
Douglas Potter, Surrey Hills

Why the Republicans deserve to be out of office

As the story reached its finale, Donald Trump dialled up the rhetoric another notch and pushed a few more Republican-voting Georgians to turn against the party. With each coming day, the Republicans will realise, in vain, that backing Trump all the way to the gutter had to have severe ramifications. Now they have lost the Senate majority as well as the presidency to the Democrats. They deserve to be in the political wilderness for a very long time for the way they have left Americans down during the pandemic, allowed Trump to play silly games and failed internationally.
Zafer Ilbahar, Bentleigh

The President still doesn’t understand democracy

It appears that someone on Donald Trump’s team has finally explained what being charged with inciting insurrection might actually mean for him. Sadly for the country, explaining the principles of democracy to him has proven to be far more difficult.
Erica Grebler, Caulfield North

Trump’s promises united the right-wing groups

Not even Pandora could have predicted the level of harm that unleashing Donald Trump on the world has achieved. Of great concern is the simplistic way this narcissistic character has been able to unite disparate and predominantly white, right-wing groups into an obedient quasi-militia. The strategy was simple in terms of message and manner. Promise a golden era of wealth and power though extreme nationalism, and control perceptions of reality through vitriolic attacks on critics. The problem with this sort of approach is that failure is not an option.
Jaroslaw Kotiw, Strathfieldsaye

A lesson for conservative politicians in Australia

The extraordinary scenes from the US Capitol confirm the degeneracy of the American political system, the tyrannical instincts of Donald Trump and the unfitness of the US to lead the free world. While the riot has been brought under control, it has revealed the failure of US democracy rather than its victory.

Many world leaders, including our own, supported Donald Trump and the Republican Party without condemning their worst excesses. In doing so, they illustrated their own bankrupt standards and encouraged the malfeasance, factual denial and demagoguery that enabled the violence. Conservative politicians in Australia need to learn a lesson from it. Their own positions are threatened when fearful voters witness the corrosive effects of populism and bitter division.
Terry Hastings, Hawthorn East

A monster that proved impossible to control

Fox, Twitter and the Republicans cheered, amplified and enabled Donald Trump. Together they created a monster to serve their own self-interest. No one should be surprised that the President salved his ego and incited the mobs.
Jenny Bone, Surrey Hills


The full horror of Trump

Now we see the man who, in 2016, said, ‘‘I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters” in full flight, seeking, as always and by whatever means, to bend the moment to his vulgar greater glory.
Ben Witham, Warrnambool

Republicans pay the price

Note from the Democratic Party to Donald Trump: thank you so much for handing us the presidency. Special gratitude for your efforts in getting us across the line in the Senate run-off elections. Your ineptitude is appreciated. Well done and adieu.
Geoff Wigg, Surrey Hills

NRA’s cold, dead hands

The major insurrection in Washington was no spontaneous eruption in response to Donald Trump’s fulminations. Given the historic grip of the National Rifle Association on the composition of Congress, it is likely that the lobby’s national, grassroots network provided a ready-made vehicle through which to stage a phoney revolution to protect its threatened interests.
Angela Munro, Carlton North

The barbarity of the US…

In 1975 our democratically elected government was arbitrarily dismissed by the then governor-general. There were protests and demonstrations in the streets, but no actual violence and certainly no invasion of Parliament House. The behaviour of Australians was relatively civilised.

Contrast that with 2021 and the violence in Washington when a president is legitimately voted out. The violence and invasion of the Capitol shows how barbaric the US has become over the past four years under Donald Trump. What next, the assassination of Joe Biden on Inauguration Day because he beat Trump? Has the US descended into absolute and irredeemable chaos?
Robyn Westwood, Heidelberg Heights

… but it’s still a democracy

Coverage of the turmoil in Washington at least demonstrates that the American system may be flawed but it is still a democracy. If such demonstrations had occurred in Russia, China or North Korea, such coverage would have been suppressed totally.
Peter Roche, Carlton

Let’s find a new role model

Let us hope that the abhorrent behaviour at the US Capitol is sufficient to shake our leaders out of the blind, ideological following of the US as the model democracy. There are far better examples in Europe and Scandinavia that we would be well advised to be guided by. Health, education and wealth distribution would be cases in point where better outcomes could be expected.
Robert Brown, Camberwell

Fooled by The Donald

How could I have been such a fool? I thought Donald Trump had his country’s interest at heart and was just displaying clever negotiation by his heavy-handed trade tactics, bullying harangues and lies.
Merryn Boan, Brighton

Lessons from history

I am 88 years old and what we witnessed yesterday reminded me of the influence another leader had over a great nation, and who, in 1939, plunged its people and the world into unparalleled suffering and a destructive war.
Taki Stanton, Ormond

Just made for television

I have just watched season four of the Coen brothers’ Fargo – crime, violence, betrayal and fear. I think the next series should be called Trump the Traitor.
Vivienne Martin, Coburg

The media’s responsibility

The federal government needs to move quickly to prevent foreign interference in Australian politics by any overseas-based media company with management that has been supporting the individuals disrupting the democratic process in the US.
Gerry O’Reilly, Camberwell

For the good of Australia

Can someone help me understand why we are letting any returning travellers back into Australia? With a virulent new strain of coronavirus in the UK and elsewhere, we should be forbidding entry into this country until both stages of the vaccine have been rolled out. Returning Australians have waited this long; let them wait a little longer for the health of our nation.
Sally Holt, Balwyn

PM, bring them home

Tennis players can come here. Cricket players can come here. Mathias Cormann gets a Royal Australian Air Force jet to fly around Europe in his bid for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s top job, yet we leave our Australians who are stranded overseas. Step up, Scott Morrison. Send planes for these people. You are letting our families down.
Teresa Mcintosh, Keysborough

What is COVID-proof plan?

What evidence is there to satisfy Victorians that when the Australian Open players go for their five-hour practice sessions, their drivers and the drivers’ families and other contacts will be protected from potential infection acquired through contact with anyone contagious among the players and their entourages?
Terry Bourke, Newtown

A well-deserved thank you

Bravo Victoria Police for safeguarding our borders as we worked towards zero transmissions. You gave up time with your families over Christmas and New Year to keep us safe. We are in your debt.
Mary Keating, Flemington

The crazy, mad rush

The sudden closure of Victoria’s border with NSW was an ill-thought-out exercise. My husband and I (both 79) left Queensland at 3am on January 1 and crossed the Victorian border at 10pm – a long drive. Queueing for compulsory COVID-19 testing within 24 hours of arrival home was the last straw.

How much better would it have been to allow at least three or four days for the final border closure. Only travellers in red zones were a threat to Victoria’s safety, yet the majority were in green zones. Now we are paying the penalty of a truncated holiday and 14 days of self-isolation for our pains. And what of travellers who failed to reach the Victorian border? They are still in no man’s land.
Ann Pang, Bulleen

Why didn’t people listen?

Two weeks ago Victoria’s Health Minister, Martin Foley, pleaded with Victorians not to travel to New South Wales. A estimated 90,000 people ignored that advice and had to scramble back over the border when a outbreak of COVID-19 swept through that state. Some of the vast number of citizens who ignored that advice are now stranded and unable to return. The lesson? Follow the advice of qualified health professionals. They know best.
Denis Evans, Coburg

Respectful barristers

The thrust of Louise Milligan’s article – ‘‘Savage cost of seeking justice’’ (Comment, 7/1) – is ‘‘the cross-examination style of the typically older, male barristers who defend the accused’’ (ageism anyone?). What is more, it is an argument that is often trotted out without substantiation.

In my 35 years as a criminal barrister, I have noted a steady, unremitting erosion of the rights of the defendant. Resorting to hearsay, as Ms Milligan likes to do, I have often heard practitioners describe the ever-tightening Jury (Directions) Act as a directions manual for the jury to convict.

Ms Milligan refutes Magistrate Belinda Wallington’s statement that ‘‘times have changed’’ when it comes to the standards applied to cross-examination. Of course, she would, it was most inconvenient of the magistrate to have said so, particularly in light of Ms Milligan’s tendentious thesis.

The facts are that protection of a complainant’s dignity is of a paramount importance of the conduct of a trial, and both judges and prosecutors are vigilant in guarding such. Barristers in turn are overwhelmingly respectful and mindful, of course, that invoking judicial anger hardly furthers their case to a jury.
Shane Kennedy, barrister-at-law, Malmsbury

Girting and dogs

In reply to your correspondent, Andrew Raivars’ concern about his ‘‘gnome girt by pee’’ (Letters, 7/1), I note that ‘‘our land abounds in nature strips where dogs can find a lair’’.
Neil Tolliday, Werribee

Girting and bees

Our friends keep bees in their backyard. A neighbour was testing out a drone he got for Christmas and lost control of it as it flew over the fence and crashed right into their hive. On investigation, he was unfortunately unable to retrieve it, as ‘‘his drone was girt by bees’’.
Fiona Mahony, Brighton

We need a fresh approach

Rob Morgan’s observations regarding the government’s failed strategies to reduce the road toll (Comment, 5/1) are worthy of thorough consideration. His reference to an ‘‘expertise-light bureaucracy’’ is highly relevant to a reduction of road trauma.

Reducing this is a multi-faceted task but the Transport Accident Commission seems to have lost its way with regard to roadside awareness campaigns. Campaigns such as ‘‘No one deserves to die on our roads’’ cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to implement and probably did not prevent a single fatality. All we did was read it, agree and drive on. I understand the need to avoid offence to families who have lost loved ones but most would say they would not want others to experience similar loss and grief. Policing and fines can only achieve so much. A fresh approach is needed.
Jim Pilmer, former chaplain to the Victoria Police major collision investigation unit

Beautiful, mature women

Monica Dux (Spectrum, 2/1), I think you were too harsh on Nicole Kidman’s appearance in The Undoing – ‘‘Looking like an ethereal alien. A 35-year-old alien’’. At times, with barely any make-up, Nicole looked her age (53). I have friends her age who have never used Botox etc who look just as good. At her age, I did not have a wrinkle, and my beauty regime is as hers – sunscreen, moisturiser and a healthy lifestyle.
Elaine Hargreaves, Aspendale


The US

Are we watching the end of the first American republic?
Giuseppe Corda, Aspendale

In its Faustian deal with Trump, the GOP has lost far more than just its soul.
Peter Voice, Deep Lead

Cry the beloved country. RIP US democracy.
Kay Moulton, Surrey Hills

Mary Trump’s book on her uncle was subtitled How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man. She was spot on.
Jon Smith, Leongatha

Trump vowed to ‘‘drain the swamp’’ in Washington. Four years later, he is the swamp.
Francis Bainbridge, Fitzroy North

The scenes in Washington were reminiscent of a banana republic.
Reg Murray, Glen Iris

It looks like The Devil Went Down to Georgia … looking for an election to steal.
Sue Peterken, Berwick

Someone needs to change the light bulb in the “beacon of democracy”.
Angus McLeod, Cremorne

These events have been decades in the making. A violent, greedy culture can’t go anywhere that is good.
Margaret Callinan, Hawthorn

Now I know what America exceptionalism is.
Dennis Richards, Cockatoo

Trump must have done something right to have so many supporters.
Diana Goetz, Mornington

Sweet Georgia Blue.
Michael Petit, Brunswick

It seems the American education curriculum lacks a focus on critical thinking skills.
Marcia Roche, Mill Park

‘‘I am your President of insurrection and sedition.’’
Tony Lenten, Glen Waverley

The last desperate thrashings of Trumpists as they watch their Senate majority disappear.
Tim Durbridge, Brunswick

God save America because no one can save Donald Trump.
Merv Wilson, Mitcham

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