June 12, 2021

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Assault on the federal Capitol: “If they had been black or any other ethnic minority, the stretchers would not have enough to count the dead”

The violent act carried out yesterday by followers of President Donald Trump, who entered the Capitol by force and managed for a few hours to paralyze the confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden, could be repeated between now and January 20. This, unless Vice President Michael Pence activates the 25th amendment to the United States Constitution to separate Trump from power, which would be a double-edged sword as it would further ignite the ire of his supporters, experts said.

In the opinion of Professor Melody Fonseca Santos, professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras, this path, although risky, is one of the alternatives that are being discussed after yesterday’s “insurrection”, well there is enough time to start a residency process as proposed by Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar.

“At this time, the activation of the 25th amendment to the United States Constitution has not yet materialized, which implies that, if the president is disqualified from exercising his position, he is not resident, but power is automatically transferred to the vice president. This has only been used recently for the Ronald Reagan government when it was operated on, and although there is a precedent, it is not a similar case, it should be argued that the actions of Donald Trump yesterday show that he is emotionally disabled and mentally to be able to continue in the presidency between now and January 20 ”, explained the UPR professor.

“For this to happen, it would have to be an initiative of the vice president and the current Donald Trump cabinet, it would have to have the approval of two thirds of each of the houses, Trump could resist, but if he has enough support from the vice president , this could take over the country until January 20. That part of activating the 25th amendment could be more viable because once it is activated, even if there is a refutation process by Trump, that would take more than January 20 … that is to say that Mike Pence would automatically assume power and at the January 20 I would continue assuming it, even if the situation had not been resolved, ”he argued.

However, he maintained that this should be the questioning of the Republicans since, in effect, it could cause “an even more violent reaction because they are going to assume or are going to say that a coup was carried out on Donald Trump.”

On the other hand, Fonseca Santos confessed that yesterday’s revolt did not take him by surprise.

“This is something that has been coming for a few months, if not from the same Trump campaign in 2016 and that is that Trump’s attitude and the way in which he organizes his political speech is one of challenging the very institutions of the US government, to challenge the political processes that have their deficiencies of course, but that are the processes that have been in force for more than two centuries, “he said.

“Although there were quite a lot of people, it does not seem to me that it was a completely decisive mass, although they could even dominate the Capitol police, which reflected the little preparation that the security forces had to protect the chamber and, on the other hand, the difference of How do you protect these buildings, these institutions, when there are demonstrations by other groups ”, he added.

This in reference to the response of the police apparatus to the “Black Life Matter” demonstrations in 2020.

“It is important to point out that, if before the entry of these groups that could be called domestic terrorists, before they entered Congress, if it is true that there was already opposition from certain representatives and senators; both Houses were meeting at the same time to certify Biden, especially with disputes in relation to the election in the state of Arizona ”, he said.

“The result of this is that having given voice and having fostered these conspiracy theories and this idea that there was fraud in the elections, even if they were finally going to certify Biden, but setting fire to that speech which is what he has been doing Trump and that also senators and Republican representatives have supported because it led to this, “he added.

For the professor of Social Sciences of the Río Piedras Campus of the UPR, Miguel Rivera Quiñones, the violent situation on Sunday was the product of a “self-coup”, which is when the executive power mobilizes the sectors that support it to try to invalidate the legitimate power of the Legislature and thus, perpetuate its presence in the Government or the Executive.

“It’s interesting, because in the end what Donald Trump was trying to do yesterday was to try to use the social forces that he has accumulated in this part of the American population to put pressure on Republican legislators, especially Vice President Mike Pence, so that they would ignore the result of the election and that in this way he would continue to be the president of the United States ”, he stated.

“It is also important to note that, to a large extent, the call for a self-coup was undermined by the fact that no faction of the US military supported Donald Trump. Usually these mobilizations, to be successful, have to have the support of a certain faction of the armed forces or the police forces and that was not what was reflected yesterday, “he said.

He coincided in the contradiction of the police response between yesterday’s demonstration and others that for decades have emerged in the vicinity of the US Capitol.

“This is possibly the most illustrative case that the United States is basically a state that is structurally racist, because if these people who had been protesting yesterday had been black or any other ethnic minority in the United States, they would not have enough stretchers to count. the dead. This same year we saw how the BLM protests, the response of the state in many places, included illegal kidnappings, beatings of protesters and brutal repression against the black community, ”he stressed.

“In the meantime, we saw yesterday that these people are directly attacking US power structures, and yet very little happened for the attempted aggression against US institutions. It seems to me that this is the most vulgar illustration of that unfortunate institutional racism that still permeates or is deeply embedded in the American state structure and especially the white privilege that many people like to deny, but that it seems to me that yesterday was totally left out. discovered ”, he highlighted.

He stressed that, in addition to Trump, yesterday’s chaos in Congress was also motivated by other figures of the Republican Party, including the president of the US Senate, Mitch McConell and even the Resident Commissioner in Washington, Jennifer González.

“It seems to me that figures like Mitch McConell and even Jennifer González in Puerto Rico and these figures who have supported Trump for four years are now trying to separate themselves from the figure of Trump and from what happened yesterday, when they have been active accomplices. of this, which was not the product of what Trump said yesterday or the day before, but rather this is the product of four years of polarizing rhetoric, of racist rhetoric, of xenophobic rhetoric that those people who were upset yesterday, supported by four years ”, he denounced.

“Now when we see the end result of where this xenophobic and polarizing rhetoric is leading, they intend to disengage and separate from it. It seems to me an act of hypocrisy on the part of Mitch McConell and other congressmen that after what happened yesterday, now and once Donald Trump has been defeated, they now decide to censor his words and actions, “he mentioned.

Finally, Fonseca Santos stressed that the assault on the Capitol that left the entire world perplexed can be repeated before the end of Trump’s presidency.

“This does not mean that between now and January 20, which is the day that Joe Biden must take office, we will not see situations similar to this again because it does not seem to me that neither Trump nor his followers are going to give up and that is what we could see yesterday with his message that, although he asked them to go home, he still insists that they were defending good against evil, from those who ‘had stolen his elections, “he concluded.

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