WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump left plenty of clues he’d try to burn the place down on his way out the door.
The clues spread over a lifetime of refusing to acknowledge defeat. They spanned a presidency marked by raw, angry rhetoric, puffed-up conspiracy theories and a kind of fellowship with “patriots” drawn from the seething ranks of right-wing extremists. The clues piled on at light speed when Trump lost the election and wouldn’t admit it.
The culmination of all that came Wednesday when Trump supporters, exhorted by the president to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell” against a “stolen” election, overran and occupied the building in an explosive confrontation that left a Capitol Police officer and four others dead.
The mob went there so emboldened by Trump’s send-off at a rally that his partisans live-streamed themselves trashing the place. Trump, they figured, had their back.
This was, after all, the president who had responded to a right-wing plot to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic governor last year with the comment: “Maybe it was a problem. Maybe it wasn’t.”