Opinion

Florida Republicans Fail to Choose Democracy over Trumpism

Treasonous Traitors. That is the title for those who staged an insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6. That is the title for the Floridian legislators who refuse to acknowledge President Trump, shamelessly trying to overthrow democracy. That is, more than anything, the title for Trump himself.

He is a man—admittedly more so a force of evil and chaos—who has tainted the position known as the Leader of the Free World. For four years, Trump has brought nothing but hatred, division and destruction to this country.

In a culmination of four years of Trump’s despicable behavior, Trump supporters descended on the Capitol with military-style weapons, dress and death threats. Under direct orders from the president, they attempted to destroy the system they claim to fight fervently for. Even among endless hypocrisy ingrained in Trumpism, this was the icing on the cake.

If any questions remain regarding Trump’s role in causing this riot, the chart below contains not one, not two, but nine invitations to attack the Capitol, straight from Trump and his cronies. A first-grader with basic reading comprehension skills would not dismiss this.

Dec. 19Trump’s tweet at 1:42 a.m. alludes to a “big protest in DC’’ on Jan. 6. “Be there, will be wild!” he types.
Dec. 19Kylie Jane Kremer, founder of Stop the Steal Facebook group, replied to Trump’s tweet: “The calvary (sic) is coming, Mr. President!” to which he said, “A great honor!”
Jan. 1Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) tells the news outlet Newsmax that “you got to go to the streets and be as violent as Antifa.”
Jan. 3Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) says at a rally in Georgia: “We will not go quietly into the night. We will defend liberty.”
Jan. 5Eric Trump threatens Republicans in Congress who certify Biden’s electoral college victory: “I will personally work to defeat every single Republican Senator / Congressman who doesn’t stand up against this fraud – they will be primaried in their next election and they will lose.”
Jan. 6Donald Trump Jr. joined Trump supporters at the National Mall at the beginning of the insurrection, stating, “The people who did nothing to stop the steal… This isn’t their Republican Party anymore. This is Donald Trump’s.”   Then he said, “…We’re coming for you and we’re going to have a good time doing it!”
Jan. 6Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, says: “…let’s have trial by combat.”
Jan. 6Trump addressed the crowd from outside the White House, saying “You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong … I know everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building… to peacefully, patriotically make your voices heard.” Protestors proceeded to begin marching toward the Capitol.
Jan. 6Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) greets a growing crowd of Trump supporters on the Capitol’s east side with a raised left fist.

A civil protest does not breach a nation’s Capital. A sane president does not encourage an attack on his government. The violence on Jan. 6 was a clear and direct act of war against the United States government. Under Article III Section 3 of the Constitution, this is treason, not a protest.

Proving that they are irreparably brainwashed by Trumpism, Florida’s Republican congressmen did not dare to toe party lines when they voted against impeachment.

Conversely, Florida’s Democrats voted unanimously for impeachment, and many delivered messages condemning Trump for inciting violence.

Florida Representatives’ Votes on Impeachment
DistrictNamePartyVote
FL-1Matt GaetzRNO
FL-2Neal DunnRNO
FL-3Kat CammackRNO
FL-4John RutherfordRNO
FL-6Michael WaltzRNO
FL-8Bill PoseyRNO
FL-11Daniel WebsterRNOT VOTING
FL-12Gus M. BilirakisRNO
FL-15C. Scott FranklinRNO
FL-16Vern BuchananRNO
FL-17W. Gregory SteubeRNO
FL-18Brian MastRNO
FL-19Byron DonaldsRNO
FL-25Mario Diaz-BalartRNO
FL-26Carlos A. GiménezRNO
FL-27Maria Elvira SalazarRNO
FL-5Al LawsonDYES
FL-7Stephanie MurphyDYES
FL-9Darren SotoDYES
FL-10Val DemingsDYES
FL-13Charlie CristDYES
FL-14Kathy CastorDYES
FL-20Alcee L. HastingsDYES
FL-21Lois FrankelDYES
FL-22Ted DeutchDYES
FL-23Debbie Wasserman ShultzDYES
FL-24Frederica WilsonDYES

When commenting on their decision not to impeach Trump, Republicans used gaslighting tactics and lies.

Rep. Steube claimed that Trump’s speech did not incite violence.

Rep. Mast said, “There was no crime committed,” alleging instead that the protest was merely a response to “fraud being perpetrated… by the radical left.” He asked whether anyone at the riot had been questioned as to whether they stormed the Capitol because of the president. What else would they be storming the Capitol for, a tour?

 Rep. Gaetz dubbed impeachment “…an itch that doesn’t go away with just one scratch” and proceeded to accuse the political left of inciting far more violence when protesting systemic racism and police brutality.

 Rep. Posey openly sympathized with Trump, saying his opposition has “harassed, harangued and otherwise denigrated the president since the second he became the nominee.”

These legislators who continue encouraging Trump’s spiteful and divisive behavior are likely trying to protect their positions, donors and favor among constituents. In doing so, they utterly failed to protect America’s democracy.

To the Floridian legislators who are consciously disregarding the core tenets of the same democracy that got you elected: you can never undo such betrayal. You had a decision to make between Trump or America, and you chose Trump.

Voting against Trump’s impeachment is a vote against our democratic system; if it holds so little significance to Floridian legislators, then they should not partake in it. It is now abundantly clear that they would rather see their government burn before standing up to protect it.

A group of Trump supporters at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Unmodified photo by TapTheForwardAssist used under a Creative Commons license. (https://bit.ly/3sIoSPr)

Check out other recent articles from the Florida Political Review here.      

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