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Gazette opinion: Daines, Rosendale owe state and country an apology

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Electoral College Protests

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud.(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Words matter.

Gestures matter. Political ploys matter.

A woman is dead and the dignity of our government is in shreds as this is written on Wednesday evening.

By enabling the Trump “I won by a lot” fiction — by refusing from the start to call out the President on his abominable post-election behavior and instead echoing and reinforcing it — the Trump-sycophant wing of the Republican Party has done the Republic for which it is named a grave disservice.

Invading morons – we won’t dignify them with the word “protesters” — hanging from the walls, upending cabinets, posing for selfies at the Senate dais and in the Speaker’s office, stealing lecterns and smashing windows inside our Capitol is well outside the American tradition of peaceful protest. It is repulsive mob behavior, recorded in real time for the world to see.

So much for American exceptionalism. So much for these Republican leaders as upholders of the rule of law.

And so much for the enabling actions of our newly reelected senator, Steve Daines, and our newly elected U.S. Representative, Matt Rosendale.

They didn’t storm the Capitol today. But they went along with protesting a perfectly valid election – and make no mistake, they know the election result was legitimate – in order to please the President’s misguided supporters.

That is now exposed for the destructive act it was. We said in this space earlier this week that Daines’ action supporting the electoral protest was extreme, unjustified and dangerous. Now, we know just how dangerous.

These men (and the politicians who joined with them) owe this democracy a great debt – one that unfortunately they are probably unable to repay.

They need to apologize to Montanans and recognize the lawful election of President-elect Biden immediately.

Anything less is — to use a word that Sen. Ted Cruz actually mocked earlier Wednesday — sedition, which is defined as “inciting revolt or violence against a lawful authority with the goal of destroying or overthrowing it.”

What a shameful and completely self-inflicted political legacy they have earned.

Make it right with Montanans, or live with wearing this low-rent insurrection around your necks from this point forward.

Editor's note: This editorial has been modified to eliminate reference to Gov. Greg Gianforte, who did ultimately recognize President-elect Biden's victory.

This editorial represents the views of the Billings Gazette Editorial Board: President Dave Worstell, Regional Editor David McCumber and Chief Photographer Larry Mayer. 


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