What happened in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday was anarchy.

It was sedition.

It was as close to a coup d’etat as we have ever seen in this nation.

Make no mistake. President Donald Trump was responsible. He incited the storming of the capitol building with his irresponsible comments during an hour-long invective to thousands of his fervent followers, who responded to his words by marching to the Capitol, where a joint session of Congress was meeting to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.

He even put a target on the back of his vice president, Michael Pence, by lying to the crowd that Pence had the constitutional authority to overturn the Electoral College results and declare Trump the winner. Pence immediately issued a statement saying he had no such authority and would not do so.

This disgraceful, frightening spectacle was sown from the seeds of Trump’s erratic and dangerous rhetoric over the past four years and in particular over the last two months.

Trump’s inability to accept the vote of the electorate, his ignorance of the foundational elements of American democracy and his continued stoking of the fire of those who support him no matter what led to this awful moment.

The shame of what happened in our nation’s capital at our seat of government, the Capitol building, on Wednesday is unprecedented. It is shameful. It will never be forgotten.

It shouldn’t be. Every American should be embarrassed and frightened.

All of the lawmakers who continued to object to the electors — when the election is clearly over and litigated — are no less culpable than Trump. They abetted his false narrative about a rigged election.

That includes our own Rep. Fred Keller and Rep. Dan Meuser. Each one of them helped give these terrorists legitimacy.

They put lives at risk, most especially those of law enforcement officials who tried to restore calm from chaos.

When the almost inevitable insurrection unfolded at the Capitol, Trump was for much of the time nowhere to be found.

He was the spectator-in-chief, likely still surrounded by sycophant enablers who helped bring us to this awful day. And when he did speak briefly on a video, he only made matters worse.

President-elect Joe Biden, who will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, Wednesday’s events not-withstanding, had called on Trump to go on national television “to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege.”

While Trump did urge supporters to “go home,” he also continued to claim election fraud and called the rioters “very special.”

There have been many terrible days in our nation’s history.

Wednesday may have been the worst — mostly because it was a self-inflicted wound from a leader who campaigned on a promise to make America great again.

America was not great on Wednesday. Not even close.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Editor Dennis Lyons and Managing Editor Bill Bowman.

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