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Foster: The scene of the crime

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John Foster

John Foster

Joe Biden is our new president, and I’ve taken his words to heart about the need to unify the deep division of our country. The violent assault and insurrection at the nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6 is merely the latest manifestation of the “Trump derangement disorder” inflicted on millions of his followers by his never-ending lies.

It’s a daunting task, but I’m willing to do my part. I promise to “tone down” my rhetoric about Donald Trump despite the fact he truly deserves the harshest criticism as a person as well as president.

I won’t rehash the endless list of personal failings as a faithless husband or harp on the bungling of the coronavirus pandemic that has now killed more than 420,000 Americans, more than the total war dead in World War II. How many of those lives could have been saved if Trump had taken the pandemic seriously from the get-go?

But those are President Biden’s concerns now, and I’m encouraged by his emergency response by issuing several executive orders designed to combat the pandemic.

I’ve been writing about Trump and his unconventional tenure in the White House for the past five years. Early on, I knew he was little more than an immoral huckster trying to enrich himself at the public expenses, but I had no idea he would be an existential threat to our democracy that recent events have proven.

To keep his hold on the White House, Trump urged a mob of well-armed and coordinated traitors to storm the Capitol and “fight like hell.” As Mitt Romney noted, if that isn’t impeachable, he doesn’t know what is. And if he’s not convicted by the Senate, he surely should face criminal charges.

Before the armed insurrection, all 10 living former secretaries of defense signed a letter published in the Washington Post warning the U.S. military to not get involved in the election. They declared the results were clear — Biden was the winner. Just writing that letter is one of the most extraordinary warnings ever issued ahead of a presidential inauguration.

In his desperate attempt to stay in office, Trump solicited advise from a few crackpot cronies like admitted felon Michael Lewis, Trump’s former national security adviser, who wanted to invoke martial law to keep Biden from taking oath of office.

Lewis was among a handful of insiders who attended a meeting in the White House with Trump a week before Christmas. Other harebrained ideas were floated at the meeting, but fortunately, several clear-minded advisers spoke out against these schemes.

If you think that “Save America” rally that resulted in the storming of the Capitol that resulted in five deaths was spontaneous, consider the following report by the Associated Press.

While the Trump campaign has denied any connection to the rally, a review of the official paperwork by the AP, the Washington Post and ABC News shows that former Trump campaign staffers helped secure the permit for the rally and were listed as official event organizers. These officials are named in the paperwork:

Megan Powers, listed as one of two operations managers for the rally, worked as the Trump campaign’s director of operations as recently as this month.

Caroline Wren, listed as a VIP adviser on the rally’s permit, was paid $20,000 by Trump’s campaign between March and mid-November. She is one of several organizers who have deleted numerous tweets about the rally after the riot.

Maggie Mulvaney, listed as a VIP lead, is the niece of former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. She worked as the director of finance operations for the Trump campaign.

Justin Caporale, a former top aide to Melania Trump, was listed as the event’s project manager. FEC filings show he was on the Trump campaign payroll for most of 2020.

Hannah Salem, who spent three years as a senior White House press aide, was one of the rally’s operations managers.

Tim Unes, listed as the rally’s stage manager, was paid regularly by the Trump campaign with the most recent payment of more than $6,000 in November.

The “Women for Trump” group, which is not officially connected to the Trump campaign, technically hosted the rally. But the campaign’s fingerprints are all over the scene of the crime and may bear ultimate liability for the riot and damages.

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— John D. Foster is a Carthage resident and regular contributor to the Saturday Forum. Email

Today's Bible verse

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

Hebrews 10:36

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