The images from yesterday’s attack on our Capitol are now seared in the nation’s memory.
Angry mobs breaking windows to enter the building; Insurgents holding flags of the confederacy and wearing hateful, anti-semitic clothing; The American flag taken down and replaced with a Trump banner; A dying woman wheeled out in a gurney…
As these events replay in my mind, I am left with a sense of devastation and deep sadness.
But sometimes light can be found in the deepest darkness. After the Capitol was secured and members of Congress went back to the House and Senate chambers, I found a glimmer of hope.
Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican, delivered a powerful speech about the truth. He reminded us that the best leaders don’t tell people what they want to hear; they tell them what they need to hear.
Since the November election (and well before), we’ve had a failure of leadership from President Trump, Senators Ron Johnson, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, and many other far-right members of the Republican party.
They’ve spread lies and conspiracy theories about the free and fair presidential election. They’ve made false claims about stolen elections and voter fraud, sowing doubt and feeding fear into the minds of millions of Americans. All of which encouraged thousands of armed rioters to storm our nation’s Capitol and stop our democracy.
But while Ron Johnson and Josh Hawley tell tall tales, the numbers don’t lie. We had a vote in Wisconsin and two subsequent recounts. We’ve had numerous court decisions. The same process took place in Georgia and other states across the country. The results are clear: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election fairly and handily.
That’s the truth, and the American people deserve the truth.
I promised myself and Wisconsinites that I would always level with them and tell the truth. It may not always be the easiest thing to do, but it’s always the right thing to do. So here’s another truth: Donald Trump has to go — either through the invocation of the 25th amendment or impeachment. Yesterday proved he is too dangerous to stay in office one moment longer.
I believe profoundly in this country. I believe we can be better than what we saw yesterday. But I know that getting there will require a whole lot of truth telling.