The Remarkable Silence From The White House

By Claire Hardwick

On Wednesday, Americans were glued to their TV screens as they watched a Trump rally move towards the Capitol, break through barricades, and then storm the building. We saw glasses broken and police officers overtaken. Reports that representatives and senators were hiding under desks and in their closets were reported in real time or just afterwards. The insurrection happened as Senator Lankford was giving his reasoning for objecting to the electoral college confirmation vote. On live TV, the we saw the senators escorted from the chamber, and then saw Trump supporters destroy the room. The Trump supporters interrupted a crucial part of our democratic process, and mostly because they were told by the president that the election was stolen for them, and they had to fight to, “Save America.”

In the following days, Americans waited for Trump to come out with a strong statement condemning the protestors and what transpired in the building that holds our nation’s democratic process. But instead, hours later, we saw a half-hearted message where Trump asked them to “go home,” but stopped short of criticizing their actions. In what has been a  very vocal White House, there was surprising silence from the most vocal members. Ivanka Trump sent one tweet she then had to delete, followed by another retweet where she tried to cover up she called the rioters “patriots.” There is little comments from Trump allies about the American civilians who died, and instead, there are comments about the police officer who died. These Americans died on revered grounds, and instead, the moment was used to show a commitment to “backing the blue.”

Kayleigh McEnany, another strong voice for Trump and an antagonizer in every possible way, retweeted some bible versus and and used the opportunity to say, “We are the party of law and order and we must ALWAYS support our police officers. They are HEROES and embody the best of America. There was no personal condemnation of what had just happened following a Trump rally. She retweeted President Trump’s video that asked the rioters to go home, but did not personally give her opinion on the days events. The next day, she retweeted Mike Pence, who the mob the day before called to be hanged. She then retweeted another bible verse, and a tweet from Ben Carson about Twitter. 

On McEnany’s personal account, she tweeted, “At President @realdonaldtrump’s direction, the National Guard is on the way along with other federal protective services. We reiterate President Trump’s call against violence and to remain peaceful.” Reports, of course, are now circulating that it was Vice President Pence, who was sheltering in place in Congress, that called on the National Guard. Reports also say while this was happening, President Trump was hoping the chaos was a clue that the electoral process would move in his favor instead of President Trump’s. 

In a time of severe national crisis, as the nation reached an absolute boiling point that resulted in the storming of our nation’s Capitol. The president, his press secretary, and his family were all but silent. From a group who never shied away from overly expressing their opinions, at a time when Trump supporters needed their direction, they muttered some whispers. There was no strong, cohesive message about the historic day. And in the days that followed, there was relatively still silent. And by the way, this is the same president and almost his same administration who used tear gas on protestors who set fire to St. John’s church. The action was admired by almost all conservatives for his bravery to stand up against rioters.

And now, the silence has been broken because Twitter has done what Republican lawmakers have failed to do. As a private company, they are able to determine their terms of practice. Because of Section 230, the government cannot force them to bend to their will. This self-determination is a crucial part of conservative values. While conservative have called this “censorship,” they are failing to understand that the government’s involvement for Twitter to do as they say is the communist practice. 

So what we have seen is everything we need to know about the Trump administration in these horrific few days. With an intense focus on likes and retweets, there seems to be little care to the results of their actions, and only a focus on maintaining folders. President Trump, and Kayleigh McEnany, could come out at any point and deliver a message to the press. McEnany came out and spoke less that three minutes, refusing to take questions. As she has gained fame as a press secretary through choosing to show videos behind her while delivering a point, we know that she has the setup to deliver a strong message condemning the violence to the American people. Reports have also circulated that Trump’s second video message was only because he was pressured and scared with the notion that if did not distance himself from the events, he could face legal trouble. Social media is not their only means of communication.

And Twitter, as a private company, has decided Trump’s use Twitter as a tool to spread false hope, false facts, and fiery messages to make Trump supporters believe he somehow had a chance to actually stay in office was a crucial factor that led to the seditious acts on Wednesday. The Trump supporters took their leader as any person who should take their leader: they believed him. Twitter has taken responsibility for their role in the events and acted on it.  What makes this even worse is that in comparison, it appears Trump, McEnany, and the first family still want his supporters to believe them that the election was rigged, and their outrage is understandable. The only thing that they want them to change is to be the party of “law and order.” Avoiding commenting on the actions that resulted from their false charges, however, do not gloss over what happened. It does not address how they played a role, and offers no solution to preventing them in the future. A private company has done that, our public servants have not. 

Twitter has done what conservatives needed to do a long time ago. After suspending his account for a day, Trump could not help himself and again tweeted a divisive message to his followers. When that didn’t work, and his account was permanently deleted, he then went to the campaign account to present another divisive message. He will refuses to accept he lost, because if he does, he admits he lied to his followers, lost the House and the Senate, and lost as an incumbent during a national crisis. 

Conservatives have to look at history, look at the events on Wednesday, and look at the aftermath. If you want to continue to spread hateful rhetoric, division, and a call to arms over an election that was fair and secure, then you may want to look in the mirror and see who the real threat to our democratic republic may be. You may want to look at the actions from the administration, and wonder who is doing the lying. And you may want to sit down and decide the type of America you want, and what it takes to keep the peace and move forward. 

If you are a true conservative, the current leader of the Republican Party has rightfully lose his ability to influence elections and hold power. He has been a false bearer of what we hold dear, and all politicians who continue to make excuses for him, his administration, and his family, must be seen for what they are: those who will usurp our electoral process because they couldn’t win an election, and those who are more concerned with likes a retweets than the sanctity of our United States Capitol.