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Port: How could anyone watch the Jan. 6 committee's presentation and still support Donald Trump?

I cannot fathom why so many Trump supporters, who wave American flags in the air, call themselves patriots and cloak themselves in the rhetoric of the American Revolution, would continue to support Donald Trump after the horrific events of Jan. 6, 2021.

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in Washington
Tear gas is released into a crowd of protesters, with one wielding a Confederate battle flag that reads "Come and Take It," during clashes with Capitol police at a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, on January 6, 2021.
Shannon Stapleton/REUTERS
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MINOT, N.D. — I will never love a politician as much as I love my country.

My loyalty is to the American system of government, and the ideas it was designed to pursue. Our republic, though flawed, though often falling short of its aspirations, is one of the great innovations of humanity, and anyone who would seek to tear it apart for the sake of personal gain is my enemy.

Which is why I cannot fathom why so many Trump supporters, who wave American flags in the air, call themselves patriots and cloak themselves in the rhetoric of the American Revolution, would continue to support Donald Trump after the horrific events of Jan. 6, 2021.

All the more so as more facts of that awful day are laid bare.

Thursday night, the U.S. House select committee to investigate the events of Jan. 6 produced a stark presentation, much of it a preview of future hearings, illustrating that Donald Trump is an enemy of the American republic.

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We saw Trump's own daughter, Ivanka, say that she doesn't believe the election conspiracy theories.

Trump's own attorney general, William Barr, called his “rigged election” claims "b-------."

Trump's own lawyers advised him and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that the claims of a stolen election were empty.

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We know that Trump's security and intelligence personnel were warning him about the potential for violence.

We know that a member of Vice President Mike Pence's staff war warning the Secret Service about Trump fomenting violence.

Despite these things, Trump still stood in front of a crowd on Jan. 6, 2021, and riled them with nonsense claims before siccing them on Congress and Vice President Pence.

Since Jan. 6, Trump has not once expressed remorse for, or even disapproval of, what happened, including the threats made against Pence.

Trump approved of it. He said so, at the time, on Twitter : "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Remember this day forever!"

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During last night's hearing, Rep. Liz Cheney said the committee has testimony from Trump staffers who quote the disgraced former president as saying the rioters "were doing what they should be doing."

Trump's own staff testified that, while the rioters were calling for Pence to be lynched, Trump was saying they maybe "have the right idea." He also said that Pence "deserved" what he was getting.

Pence, in many ways, is the hero of this story . A man who, despite his political affinities for Trump, held his oath to the U.S. Constitution in higher regard than his personal loyalty to the president he served under.

Love Pence or hate him based on his policies, give him credit for taking his oath of office seriously. America might look like a very different place right now if he hadn't held is ground.

But if Pence is the hero, or, at least, a hero, then Trump is unequivocally the villain. The malefactor. The man with so little regard for the history of our country, for the sanctity of the ideas it was founded on, that he would sacrifice it all, that he would aim cruise missiles at the foundations of our republic, in a fit of self-serving, ego-driven pique.

Donald Trump lost the 2020 election.

The people he appointed to his administration know it.

His lawyers know it.

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His own family knows it.

Let's be honest, he knows it too, and we know all these things are true not because of what any Democrat said, or any Trump enemy like Liz Cheney (another hero of this saga), but because we have the videos of them saying it.

We have the evidence.

Yet, despite this reality, Trump pandered to a crowd he knew was on the edge of violence. He cultivated their anger and their hatred, and then he pointed them at Congress, and at Pence, and at the beating heart of the American experiment.

And the only position an American can take on that, and still call themselves a patriot, is disdain and outrage.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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