A senior official in Donald Trump’s administration said they can no longer defend him against the accusations of critics after the violence that took place at the U.S. Capitol this week, the latest instance of the president losing the backing of a longtime ally.
Trump has come under intense scrutiny in the days after the storming of the Capitol, when crowds of his supporters surrounded the building and forced their way inside in an attack that is now connected to the deaths of six people. Prior to the siege, Trump spoke to his supporters and falsely claimed that the election had been stolen from him, advising them to be strong and telling them he would go to the Capitol with them. Trump instead returned to the White House, where reports indicate he watched with excitement as his supporters besieged the building while Congress was tallying Electoral College votes and finalizing Joe Biden’s win.
Many have spoken out against his actions and rhetoric leading up to the attack, including many close allies and members of his own party. As NYMag’s Intelligencer reported, one unnamed senior official said they could no longer dispute the accusations from critics who called him a fascist.
“This is confirmation of so much that everyone has said for years now — things that a lot of us thought were hyperbolic,” the White House aide said. “We’d say, ‘Trump’s not a fascist,’ or ‘He’s not a wannabe dictator.’ Now, it’s like, ‘Well, what do you even say in response to that now?’ ”
The report noted that many other lifelong Republican operatives who had previously tolerated Trump’s faults in order to achieve their own policy goals are learning that it was “always a delusion” to believe the benefits outweighed the risks. The Trump administration official said they are now left feeling depressed at having supported him for so long, through controversies like the Access Hollywood tape and deadly violence in Charlottesville.
“For people who devoted years of their lives to dealing with the insanity in an attempt to advance a policy agenda that you believe in, all of that has been wiped out,” the person said, adding that the legacy of the Trump administration will now be that of a president sparking an insurrection that left many people dead.
There are likely more consequences to come for Trump. Democrats have announced they have plans to move forward with an impeachment that already has significant support, though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has first called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to have him taken out of power.