BROOKE GLADSTONEFrom WNYC in New York, this is On the Media, I'm Brooke Gladstone.
BOB GARFIELDAnd I'm Bob Garfield. A shocking week and a shocking presidency have finally come to an end. But there is shock and there is surprise and come on, we're not warned by Trump himself? Even at the very dawn of this administration?
TRUMPWe assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. [END CLIP]
BOB GARFIELDMany such decrees issued forth, often in the form of unlawful executive orders, unlawful because no president may flout federal statute or the Constitution merely by declaring his will. That he was unaware or indifferent to those relatively few constraints on presidential power was clear even earlier in his July 2016 acceptance speech for the Republican nomination.
TRUMPNobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it. [END CLIP]
BOB GARFIELDAnd thus, he envisioned his presidency with the ‘see no evil’ backing of Republicans in Congress, but ultimately, one might say at long last, the courts and the majority of voters and even finally, his congressional lapdogs tired of it. Trump was not vanquished by any deep state or socialist agenda or rigged voting machines or Antifa or even fake news. He and he alone was done in, ironically enough, by his very own weapon of mass obstruction: fear. Not fear of the various others whom he has vilified as threats to our democracy, but fear of what his own demagoguery now has unleashed.
TRUMPAll of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by a bold and radical left Democrats, which is what they're doing and stolen by the fake news media. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONEThat was Wednesday morning.
TRUMPWe will never give up. We will never concede it doesn't happen. You don't concede when these steps, while our country has had enough, we will not take it anymore. And that's what this is all about. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONEAnd he sent the followers he'd been summoning for weeks down Pennsylvania Avenue with a final blast of invigorating bitterness.
TRUMPBut just remember this. You're stronger, you're smarter, you've got more going than anybody, and they try and demean everybody having to do with us, and you're the real people. You're the people that built this nation. [END CLIP]
RIOTERThe government did this to us. We were normal, good, law abiding citizens. And you guys did this to us. We want our country back. We are protesting for our freedom right now.
BROOKE GLADSTONECable news hosts struggled over what to call them.
WOLF BLITZERYeah, a lot of these I don't want to call them protesters anymore. I want to call them rioters or mobsters. They are--they're going to be arrested. They have video of these rioters, these mobsters. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONEWolf, I don't think that means what you think it means.
DON LEMONDomestic terrorists, insurrectionists. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONEDon Lemon started to zero in while Anderson Cooper went with the whole set.
ANDERSON COOPERWhy were protesters, rioters, insurrectionists domestic terrorists able to penetrate the Capitol like this? [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONEFox's Bret Baier thought it out.
BAIERWe said protesters earlier, but that's not accurate for the folks who went inside and did damage inside the Capitol. Those are extremists. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONEOn this, standing with Joe Biden.
BIDENThis is not dissent, it's disorder. It's chaos. It borders on sedition. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONEWas all this intended to inspire terror or to obstruct – even overthrow the government, or was it just a protest gone off the rails? We know some of the actors, white nationalists, QAnon believers and dead enders seen at other showdowns. We also know there's no evidence pointing to Antifa. We know, too, that much of the capital police were overwhelmed by the speed of the attack and the distribution of the breach points evidence of some coordination and training. So it wasn't just a mob. And that's why the choice of words is so crucial. Unless we can describe it, we won't be ready next time. And there is a next time, January 17th, noon at the Washington Memorial, and at every state capital. These people talk to each other online. Meanwhile, the chief of the Capitol Police and House and Senate sergeant at arms resigned under pressure for what may be rank incompetence or worse. The newly minted acting secretary of defense denied resources requested by the mayor of Washington despite ample warning of mayhem. And as lawmakers cowered behind barricades after the breach, he reportedly went AWOL for at least 90 minutes while Maryland's governor was trying to get him on the phone for authorization to send in reinforcements. It's a puzzle missing many pieces, but the picture so far isn't good.
CALLERI just have one question. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONEC-SPAN doesn't screen its calls, so we can't know if this caller is authentic.
CALLERI want to know if my president lied to me today and if he did – I want him to tell me, and more importantly, I want him to tell the family of the woman that got shot and killed today. I voted for him [CHOKES UP] I voted for him. I'm sorry. [END CLIP]
ROMNEYNo congressional audit is ever going to convince these voters, particularly when the president will continue to say that the election was stolen. The best way we could show respect for the voters who were upset is by telling them the truth. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONEMitt Romney earned himself a bipartisan round of applause on the Senate floor because he hit on the central dilemma and served up a high minded illusion of a solution. If only it were so simple. We can't just stem the flow of lies. We also have to send truth flooding over innumerable dams, and we just haven't been able to do it. We still do have the ability, though, to hold lawbreakers accountable, if we choose. Maybe that's how we start – consequences, at least for law breaking lies. From the bottom to the very top. Cuff him and take him downtown.
BOB GARFIELDComing up, the romance and revisionism in the lost cause.
New York Public Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline, often by contractors. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of programming is the audio record.