BY ED FELIEN
How to stage a coup: send wackos in to disrupt the government, then send in the military to restore order, then promise new elections.
Trump got the first part right, but he couldn’t follow through. Once his loonies established chaos in Congress, Trump should have sent in the military.
He probably had a plan.
He had just organized (with the help of Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater) the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force, a group made up of people from the U.S. Marshals Service, the Lakewood Police Department, the Pierce County Sheriff’s
Department and the Washington State Department of Corrections, to protect the federal courthouse in Portland. They marched around the courthouse in a show of force, and then, when Michael Reinoehl shot and killed Aaron Danielson, a member of the violent right-wing group Patriot Prayer, they went after him. They followed him to his home in Lacey, Washington, and killed him.
Trump bragged about it in his first debate with Biden. He called it “retribution.”
He thought he had a good thing going. He threatened to use federal force to put down demonstrations in other major cities that resulted from the George Floyd killing.
In December of 2020, as a special favor to Erik Prince, he pardoned four Blackwater employees who had killed 17 unarmed civilians in Nisour Square, Baghdad.
Did Trump ask Prince to organize a military group loyal to Trump to go into the Capitol on Jan. 6 and restore order?
Did Erik Prince refuse because of loyalty to the Constitution or because it was a dumb and doomed idea?
It’s a shame Jack Smith didn’t call on Erik Prince to talk about whether he was offered an important role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
It is curious that Betsy DeVos, Erik Prince’s sister, had an articulate resignation letter ready to send to Trump on Jan. 7:
“We should be highlighting and celebrating your Administration’s many accomplishments on behalf of the American people. Instead, we are left to clean up the mess caused by violent protestors overrunning the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to undermine the people’s business. That behavior was unconscionable for our country. There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me.”