U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher sent an emphatic message Wednesday to President Donald Trump that our nation’s irrational leader must hear and finally accept.
As violent rioters stormed the Capitol building, trying to stop the ceremonial counting of electoral votes that will make Joe Biden the next president, Gallagher posted a video on social media while sheltering in his Capitol office. The Secret Service had evacuated Vice President Mike Pence from the Senate chambers. A woman was shot inside the Capitol and later died. Capitol police were in armed standoffs and struggled to control the pro-Trump rioters for hours.
“This is banana republic crap that we’re watching happen,” Gallagher said.
He was absolutely right. Wednesday’s chaos — incited by Trump at a rally that preceded the Capitol melee — was an embarrassment and disgrace for our country.
“We have got to stop this,” said Gallagher, R-Green Bay, a former U.S. Marine and intelligence officer. “Mr. President, you have got to stop this. You are the only person who can call this off. Call it off. The election is over. Call it off. This is bigger than you. This is bigger than any member of Congress. It’s about the United States of America, which is more important than any politician. Call it off! It’s over.”
Trump subsequently released a video urging his supporters to be peaceful and disperse — but not before repeating his false claims that the election was stolen from him.
No, it wasn’t. And it doesn’t matter how many times Trump says he won, he definitively lost — fair and square.
Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., long a Trump apologist, finally had enough of his own Republican president’s rantings about fraud. Before Trump’s mob arrived, McConnell declared on the Senate floor that the race for president wasn’t “unusually close” and that Biden had prevailed.
“If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral,” McConnell said.
Gallagher was sharper in correctly faulting those in his party who continued to play along with Trump’s dangerous ruse. Though Gallagher didn’t mention them by name, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, and U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Minocqua, were part of the reckless band of congressmen who planned to object to certifying Biden’s win Wednesday.
As it turned out, Tiffany and Rep. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, objected to certifying votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania. Johnson ultimately voted against it.
Gallagher said the objectors had assured him nothing bad would happen by debating the legitimacy of the election. They were wrong, as Wednesday’s deadly tumult showed.
“This is the cost of countenancing an effort, by Congress, to overturn the election and telling thousands of people that there is a legitimate shot of overturning the election today — even though you know that is not true,” Gallagher said to the objectors.