While campaigning in Iowa in early 2016, Donald Trump proclaimed, "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, okay. Trump essentially did that in the last days of his presidency. He promoted a January 6 rally for what he called a "wild" day in Washington. After an incendiary speech from Trump at that event, the crowd that he had assembled--which was full of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, QAnoners, Christian insurrectionists, and other extremists--turned into a murderous mob that followed Trump's instruction to march on the Capitol to "fight like hell" and "stop the steal." There his marauders attacked the citadel of American democracy, killing one police officer and seriously harming scores of others, with some trying to hunt down the vice president and House speaker, possibly to assassinate them. For hours, while the violent mayhem ensued, Trump did nothing to stop it or protect the lawmakers and cops targeted by his brownshirts.
North Charleston, South Carolina – An epic political battle is cresting in South Carolina, where Sen. Lindsey Graham, a presidential ally, is neck-and-neck with a Black challenger two decades his junior, raising Democratic hopes of snatching a Senate seat in Trump country. Outfundraised by Democrat Jaime Harrison, and glued to Donald Trump's hip on issues like immigration and Supreme Court nominations, Graham is under threat like never before in a state where his Republican Party has controlled the local legislature, governor's mansion and both U.S. Senate seats for at least the last 15 years. With Trump's fortunes sinking along with his poll numbers, Democrats are eyeing potential flips in several other states as they seek to reclaim control of the Senate. But suddenly South Carolina -- a traditionally conservative bastion that Harrison describes as a legacy of the slave-holding "old South" -- is in play, despite Graham's repeated claims that both he and Trump will win re-election in 17 days. "Lindsey Graham's scared," Harrison told a crowd Saturday in North Charleston, where supporters honked their approval at a drive-in campaign event to allow social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
Nearly a month after objecting to electoral votes cast for President Biden, Rep. Mike Garcia wanted to clear the air. In a lengthy Jan. 30 op-ed in a local newspaper, the Santa Clarita Republican and former Navy fighter jet pilot denounced the blowback on social media that branded him "a seditionist, a traitor, or even worse." Roughly 150 miles to the north, Rep. David Valadao also had some explaining to do after voting to impeach President Trump for his part in inciting the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol. He, like Garcia, was disparaged by some constituents as a traitor. Two votes in Congress in successive weeks -- one to certify Biden's election and another to impeach the president -- snared the two California Republicans into the pitched battle over the future of their party: whether the GOP will demand allegiance to Trump or break from his influence.
Erika Geiss felt a tinge of déjà vu on January 6. She watched in horror and disbelief as thousands of rioters--driven by Trump's lie that the 2020 election was fraudulent--scaled the outer walls of the US Capitol and violently forced their way inside the building and into the Senate chambers. But the "ire and vitriol" that Geiss says she saw watching live coverage of the Capitol insurrectionists on TV at her home didn't surprise her. It was all too familiar. "We saw that here," says Geiss, a state senator in Michigan representing a district just south of Detroit.
A political appointee hired by the Trump administration for a significant State Department role was accused of multiple sexual assaults as a student several years ago at The Citadel military college. Steven Munoz was hired by the Trump administration as assistant chief of visits, running an office of up to 10 staffers charged with the sensitive work of organizing visits of foreign heads of state to the U.S. That includes arranging meetings with the president. At The Citadel, five male freshmen alleged that Munoz used his positions as an upperclassman, class president and head of the campus Republican Society to grope them. In one incident, a student reported waking up with Munoz on top of him, kissing him and grabbing his genitals.