Former President Donald Trump addresses a rally attended by thousands at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines on Saturday, October 9, 2021. Photo by Erin Murphy.
Donald Trump has repeatedly shown that he is unfit to hold public office and is a danger to our democracy. My review of several of his actions will contain no surprises for you, Sen. Chuck Grassley.
1. After Joe Biden was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the winner of the 2020 election, Trump on countless occasions declared that he won the election by a landslide. That assertion, despite the failure of all of his campaign’s legal challenges and the absence of evidence of voter irregularities, has spread to numerous Republican candidates in several states. One sure way to undermine confidence in our democracy is to cast doubt on the legitimacy of elections, and millions of Americans have bought into his “big lie.”
2. While we await more details on the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, we know that, despite pleas from high-ranking White House officials and Trump family members, President Trump waited several hours before taking any action. At a morning rally, he urged followers to march to the Capitol. He pressured Vice President Mike Pence to take unconstitutional action by refusing to certify the election results. Legal culpability of Trump is not determined, but Trump’s behavior surrounding Jan. 6 was unprecedented for a U.S. President and intended to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power, another basic tenet of our democracy.
3. The recorded appeal of Trump to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to find 11,780 votes was inappropriate and may lead to the indictment of Trump or others. The “fake electors scheme” developed by the Trump team and launched in several states could lead to further indictments.
4. Then there is the matter of U. S. Government documents that Trump took from the White House to Mar-a- Lago. A warning by White House counsel Eric Herschmann that taking government documents created legal liability did not dissuade Trump taking the documents and ignoring subpoenas. Legal action is under consideration.
5. At a Sept. 17 Trump rally in Ohio, music played over the loudspeakers sounded remarkably close to WWG1WGA, the theme song of QAnon, and many of the rally attendees raised their index fingers as an apparent reference to the “1” in the motto/song. QAnon is based on the conspiracy theory that there is a powerful cabal of pedophiles and cannibals including prominent Democrats and cultural elites. And there have been other signals that Trump is moving closer to QAnon.
So, Sen. Grassley, is this really the person whom you want leading the Grand Old Party? You have the opportunity to put Iowa in a leadership role far more important than which state holds the first caucuses. You can repudiate the Trump cult and defend democracy.
The Republican Party, which originated in the 1850s to oppose the expansion of slavery and which nominated Abraham Lincoln for President in 1860, is surely much bigger than one man’s lust for power. You, Sen. Grassley, have the seniority and respect to lead the way.
Ralph Plagman, Ph.D. is a retired Cedar Rapids Community Schools teacher and administrator.