Hillary Clinton said Monday that last week’s violent insurrection by Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol was the “tragically predictable result” of “white-supremacist grievances fueled by” the president.
In an op-ed for The Washington Post, the former secretary of state wrote that while she supports Democratic-led efforts to impeach President Trump a second time, the president’s departure from office will not solve the “deeper problems” that plague this country, such as the spread of “violent speech and conspiracy theories.”
“What happened is cause for grief and outrage,” Mrs. Clinton wrote. “It should not be cause for shock. What were too often passed off as the rantings of an unfortunate but temporary figure in public life are, in reality, part of something much bigger. That is the challenge that confronts us all.”
“Trump ran for president on a vision of America where whiteness is valued at the expense of everything else,” she continued. “In the White House, he gave white supremacists, members of the extreme right and conspiracy theorists their most powerful platforms, even claiming that there were ‘very fine people’ among the torch-wielding militia members who converged on Charlottesville in 2017.
“By the time he lost in 2020, he had whipped a dangerous element of our country into a frenzy,” she added. “His supporters began planning their insurrection, making plans to march on the Capitol and ‘stop the steal.’ Members of Congress, including Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), encouraged them, in Brooks’s words, to ‘start taking down names and kicking ass.’ Trump left no doubt about his wishes, in the lead-up to Jan. 6 and with his incendiary words before his mob descended.”
Mrs. Clinton went on to argue that the attack on the Capitol, which resulted in five deaths and temporarily halted the certification of the Electoral College vote for President-elect Joseph R. Biden, further solidified the “ugly truth” that some Americans, “more than many want to admit,” would choose “whiteness” over democracy. She also wrote that “fanatical ideas” can lead to deadly results and that Americans have to do some “soul-searching” on how the spread of those ideas led to Wednesday’s violence.
“Removing Trump from office is essential, and I believe he should be impeached,” Mrs. Clinton wrote. “Members of Congress who joined him in subverting our democracy should resign, and those who conspired with the domestic terrorists should be expelled immediately.
But that alone won’t remove white supremacy and extremism from America. There are changes elected leaders should pursue immediately, including advocating new criminal laws at the state and federal levels that hold white supremacists accountable and tracking the activities of extremists such as those who breached the Capitol. Twitter and other companies made the right decision to stop Trump from using their platforms, but they will have to do more to stop the spread of violent speech and conspiracy theories.
“The Biden administration will need to address this crisis in all its complexity and breadth, including holding technology platforms accountable, prosecuting all who broke our laws, and making public more intelligence and analysis about domestic terrorism,” she concluded. “Despite the horror of what we saw happen, in the weeks and months ahead the news cycle will move on. We owe it to ourselves not to do the same. We have the strength, the ability and — yes — the imagination to confront what happened and ensure that nothing like it ever happens again. That’s what real patriotism looks like.”
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