The Siege of the Capitol

Today's Capitol siege is a national tragedy.

This is what Josh Hawley wanted.

Come together with us tonight.

This is the moment that we’ve been warning you about for two years. Today. January 6th. We didn’t know that it would be today, necessarily, but it was on our radar as a possibility.

Most of you have never been to a Trump rally. We have. If you thought today was a surprise, I could have told you six years ago that if the Bad Orange Pied Piper wanted to lead a parade from the Prince William County Fairgrounds to the seat of county government to complain about something, it would have happened.

Those of us who attended the rallies, who covered Trump’s race at The Weekly Standard, and his race this time at The Bulwark, all could have told you that once the audience that shows up and is in a Trumpian trance, anything can happen.

And on the national mall, that precisely happened today, where President Trump showed up at a MAGA rally and led a “march” to the Capitol where the predictable happened.

There is little difference between the people inside the Capitol and those at its steps, waving MAGA flags, knowing what is going on. They have phones. They’re extremely online. They know. And they love it, and they support it.

We tried to warn the GOP.

While people were donning QAnon and MAGA merch today, they should have really been wearing t-shirts for all of America to see on national TV that read: “Well, Well, Well, If It Isn't The Predictable Consequences of My Own Actions.”

That’s what happened today. Trumpism, GOP complacency and silence, and even encouragement of this manifested itself in entirely predictable fashion. Crimes were committed, people got shot, and we don’t even know what the status of our constitutional government is going forward because of this chaos.

This was predictable. It was preventable. We warned against it. Yet, here we are.

We’re going to do a livestream here tonight at 9 pm ET to break it all down. Members of Bulwark+ will get a notification an hour before, but you can join as a member before then and join us tonight, too. There’s a lot to discuss.

🎧 On the Pods… 🎧

Tom Nichols: Burn It All Down?

On today’s Bulwark podcast, Tom Nichols joins Charlie Sykes to discuss his recent item on the GOP’s sedition caucus, and what that means for the future of the GOP in a time where Trump is no longer President.

For Bulwark+ Members… 🔐

Trumpageddon 🔓


He will not only leave office in ignominy, but also leave behind a deeply wounded and divided GOP that has done so much to enable his mendacity and idiocy.

The Big Day

JONATHAN V. LAST on Georgia, the rally, and the coup attempt.

From The Bulwark Aggregator…

In Today’s Bulwark….

The Trump Supernova: Lies, Damned Lies, and the End of the GOP

BRENT ORRELL: Today’s MAGA rally, electoral vote cosplay, and violent protests threaten to destroy the Republican party.

Pennsylvania GOP’s Anti-Democratic Maneuver Is a Warning

ROBERT DAVIS EDELMAN: The nakedly cynical—and perfectly Trumpian—ploy in the state senate.

January 6: The Fire Rises

CHRIS TRUAX: Today is the most dangerous moment our democracy has faced since the Civil War.

A Big Winner in Georgia: Joe Biden

WILLIAM KRISTOL: Fewer obstacles and more momentum for the president-elect after tonight’s results.


In 2007, I got my first post-college job as an aide to a U.S. Senator. Due to the antics of Congressional Republicans, one of the first things I had to do was take ethics training. How quaint.

After that, you have to be trained on a lot of other things. Counter terrorism preparedness is another. The Hill was attacked after 9/11 with Anthrax, and now throughout the Capitol complex there are “escape hoods” which are meant to protect you from biological or chemical weapons. In theory. At least the respiratory ones.

My phone blew up today as the Capitol went under seige from #WeThePeople™ and a one thing my friends and former colleagues reflected on was: can you imagine a day where we’d ever have to use these things?

Not hardly.

Some of the shock and surprise came from similarly disillusioned friends who have become ardent #NeverTrumpers. Others came from people who work (or worked) for people who are either pushing the current sedition or those suggested it would never happen.

Donald Trump has even ruined the pleasure of saying “I told you so.” Because there is no pleasure in what transpired today for me. None.

It was a horrifying day where I was just…sad. I thought about how the U.S. Capitol Police, a few of whom are still dear friends of mine, trained me and my 20-something colleagues on what to do if X, Y, or Z happened. We played softball together, exchange Christmas cards and texts about things, and, in the before times, hang out from time to time. When I saw what transpired after Trump came to the rally on the mall today, something a former colleague of mine warned me about as a hill rumor that I was inclined to believe, I immediately thought of the front line USCP folks who would have to deal with this.

These protesters are deplorable. They are not patriots. They are seditious traitors. And I hope that our justice system prosecutes every single one who is identifiable to the fullest extent of the law if they broke the law.

And the yokels in Right Wing Nut Job media who somehow draw a paycheck to draw equivocation to Antifa can, pardon my french, fuck right off.

I’ll tell you a little secret: Do you want to know why Joe Biden beat Donald Trump? And Raphael (I hear he’s going to go by “Ted” as a Senator…) Warnock and likely Jon Ossoff all won their elections? 100% shit like this.

And in the intervening days since Trump clearly lost? That has only solidified people who weren’t as hardcore as the #NeverTrump GOP base which, while not a huge coalition, obviously matters. One Bulwark reader I spoke to a few weeks ago told me why she switched her general vote from Perdue to Ossoff, despite not like Ossoff. It was shit like this.

Donald Trump, his allies, and the much-vaunted base have basically thrown a thermite grenade on the center right. So good luck with that boys.

If you’re not a member of Bulwark+, join us, and we’ll break this all down tonight on our livecast at 9 pm ET. Login details go out at 8pm ET.

Before I get to some other matters, I have some questions and observations.

QUESTION: How is it that the National Association of Manufacturers has taken a stronger stance than 99.9% of federally elected Republicans?

“Armed violent protestors who support the baseless claim by outgoing president Trump that he somehow won an election that he overwhelmingly lost have stormed the U.S. Capitol today, attacking police officers and first responders, because Trump refused to accept defeat in a free and fair election. Throughout this whole disgusting episode, Trump has been cheered on by members of his own party, adding fuel to the distrust that has enflamed violent anger. This is not law and order. This is chaos. It is mob rule. It is dangerous. This is sedition and should be treated as such. The outgoing president incited violence in an attempt to retain power, and any elected leader defending him is violating their oath to the Constitution and rejecting democracy in favor of anarchy. Anyone indulging conspiracy theories to raise campaign dollars is complicit. Vice President Pence, who was evacuated from the Capitol, should seriously consider working with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to preserve democracy.”

Good for NAM, but shame on Republicans.

What about impeachment? If Mother doesn’t approve of the 25th and Mike Pence doesn’t go along with it, perhaps impeachment is in order. After all, Republicans lost at least one of two Senate seats in Georgia, and are likely to lose both.

Were both Georgia elections certified in short order, Democrats could very quickly impeach, remove, and prevent Trump from holding future office. Before the inauguration. And Mitch couldn’t run out the clock. Will that happen? Probably not.

The leopards would eat MY face? What did you expect?

Time to talk about the Congressional Review Act… Because we’re gonna be dealing with a lot of regulatory law in the coming weeks. An interesting and insightful thread from Jonathan Adler:

In Lieu of Fun! The boss joins Benjamin Wittes for his fun vlog. Take a respite from today’s madness and enjoy.

When corporate speech steps in it… A Dallas pizza restaurant weighed in on the elections and… hoo boy.

“What Hath God wrought?” In the basement of the small Senate rotunda, there’s a plaque to the first telegraph, sent from the Capitol to Baltimore asking: What Hath God Wrought?

Today, Sen. Mitt Romney had a similar question for his colleagues.

Hope it was worth it. We’ll see you tonight at 9 ET. Bulwark+ members will get a link (other than the one in this email) at 8 ET. Remember, if you miss it, we’ll post an archive on the Bulwark+ page shortly after.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? (You’d have those after today?) Drop me a line at If you’re not a member yet, you can join.

If you’re already a member… Thank You! If you’re looking for a gift to give, consider giving the gift of Bulwark+.

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