Last Wednesday, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf was a world away, on an international junket with stops in Qatar, Cyprus and Bahrain. That morning, the same day thousands of Trump supporters came to Washington, DC for a "Save America Rally," Wolf took to Twitter to share photos of a meet-and-greet with Bahraini officials to discuss, among other things. : "counter-terrorism" and Infrastructure security.
Two hours later, President Trump told his supporters to march to the Capitol. Five hours later, an assistant interrupted a speech Senator James Lankford made on the Senate floor to say that "protesters are in the building."
Wolf would later condemn the attacks as "Tragic and Sickening", as almost every Republican official did. Wolf also publicly called on the president to "strongly condemn the violence that took place yesterday."
But now Wolf is gone, the last member of Trump's cabinet to step down since the attack.
Unlike Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Wolf didn't mention the chaos at the Capitol when he announced his departure on Monday. In a letter obtained by RealClearPolitics, he instead cited "recent events, including the ongoing and meritorious court decisions regarding the validity of my authority as acting secretary." (Wolf succeeded Kevin McAleenan, whose status as acting DHS chief was also disputed when he took over from Kirstjen Nielsen in April 2019.)
And here's another distinction: Wolf and the rest of the Trump administration had been quick to condemn violence when it was perpetrated by leftists. In fact, the head of the DHS flew to Portland, Oregon in July to gather law enforcement officers in defense of a beleaguered federal courthouse.
"If local leaders don't step up and have the political will to stop this," he told RCP an exclusive interview before addressing officers dressed in body armor and uniforms, "the president was clear: the federal government will do it."
An attack on a federal building was like an attack on America, he added: "We are not going to leave this seat of justice here in downtown Portland and it will be overrun by violent anarchists."
What about the hooligans outside the courthouse walls that summer night and so many others, the ones throwing fireworks at the police and throwing stones at the police? Did Wolf, asked RCP, regard their violent protests as an act of insurrection? "I think you could certainly do that at some point," he said. "I'm not talking about it that way right now – what I'm focusing on is making sure we protect our officers first."
Talking about rebellion is now in vogue. Majority leader Steny Hoyer indicated late Monday that Democrats would impeach the president on Wednesday on charges of instigating an uprising. But before the November election, it was the Republicans who pointed to charred city blocks as an ominous warning sign. It was Trump vs. Biden in the era of mob politics, with both sides seeking to distance themselves from the violent constituency that no one wanted.
"They will make any city look like Democrat-run Portland, Oregon," Trump tweeted. "No one will be safe in Biden & # 39; s America."
The president has now been banned from Twitter, and the dystopian future has come to the nation's capital, not from those who burned Kenosha or Minneapolis or Seattle, but from those who thought they were storming Congress in the service of Trump.
Many who are right now are staring at what they believe is a double standard. They complain that politicians said that antifa "Is a myth" and experts who insisted that the crowd was burning Minneapolis convenience stores "Mostly Peaceful" now loudly condemn the Trump mob that stormed and occupied the halls of government. This does not include Ken Cuccinelli. Instead, the acting DHS deputy director sees the political violence as a continuum.
When assessing Capitol security on the night of the attack, Cuccinelli told RCP he could see the floor of the house through the shattered windows. "This is not the way we should govern ourselves in this country," he said. "We've been saying that at DHS for six months and we condemn violence no matter who does it."
But Cuccinelli believes that bad actors on the right learned from bad actors on the left after seeing the chaos go unpunished. “I clearly remember Speaker Pelosi, instead of condemning violent protesters, but condemning the police by calling them storm troops,” he said. The result: "If it's effectively encouraged by the powers that be, and allowed to go all over the country, well, expect it to continue, and expect other people who perceive that to say," Well, hey, if they can do it, we can. & # 39; & # 39;
While Wolf stepped down on Monday, Trump declared a state of emergency in Washington, D.C., and ordered federal authorities to supplement local efforts to keep the peace ahead of Biden's inauguration. Much of that work, the president said in a statement, will be done by the Federal Emergency Management Agency – a division of DHS.
. (tagsToTranslate) Capitol riots (t) DHS (t) Chad Wolf