coup d’é·tat: a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government. Typically, an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a political faction, the military, or a dictator.
At the risk of stepping into an ongoing conspiracy, I must question why everyone from President Biden to the House Impeachment Managers to the New York Times have worked so assiduously to avoid the use of a simple and totally appropriate designation for the events of January 6th?
Is it so far from reality to accept what happened as the final act in a failed COUP D’ETAT? Not an insurrection, or a riot gone wild, or even an accidental act of treason, but Donald J. Trump’s final desperate effort to nullify the results of his election loss by overthrowing our government and usurping its powers?
The fact that it was so dismal a failure—so poorly planned and ineffectually executed—does not erase the fact that a failed coup d’etat is as much an act of treason as one that succeeds.
The amazing thing to me is that the elements of the coup were never hidden. Trump in his delusional quest for a second term, began his campaign to undermine the election results by declaring them rigged and illegitimate far in advance of November 3, 2020.
The fact that Trump fired the Secretary of Defense and installed a crew of loyalists atop the Defense Department less than two weeks after the election was a coup-warning red flag to ten former Secretaries of Defense, as well as to anyone with a sense of how delusional Trump had become.
And how dangerous.
Trump bootlickers and pardoneers General Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon were seen everywhere after the election calling for military action, martial law and fighting in the streets to “Stop The Steal,” the battle cry for Trump’s coup-focused insurrection.
Even Trump’s clumsy attempts to overturn Georgia’s electoral outcome can be seen as a desperate attempt to secure even the flimsiest shred of evidence that a rigged election had occurred. Evidence that might be seen as justification for some sort of military action.
There was no other discernible reason for attempting to change Georgia’s certified election results. There weren’t enough electors at stake to justify the risk to Trump for coercing a fraudulent outcome.
Without intending a coup, there would have been no justification on January 6th for Trump to organize, incite and direct a mob to violently storm the capital and prevent Biden’s certification as President, and maybe, perhaps, eliminate top leaders in American government while they were there.
So, with all the transparency surrounding Trump’s failed coup d’etat, why the refusal to acknowledge what anyone can plainly figure out for themselves? Why would President Biden denounce the coup in Myanmar yet remain silent about our own homegrown infamy?
The answer remains something of a secret. One can surmise all sorts of reasons why the Powers That Be, and their media allies, would want to sanitize the events of January 6th, to downplay the instability and uncertainty that scarily surrounded America and its vaunted democratic ideals and institutions on that day. Not to mention its position as the world’s bedrock of financial stability.
This question of Trump’s failed coup becomes very much like the conundrum about the tree falling unseen and unheard in the forest.
If a coup happens and everyone pretends not to have noticed, will a coup actually have happened?
Only if we pull our heads out of the sand.