Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s press conference yesterday afternoon in Wilmington, Delaware was devoted to a cover-up of those politically responsible for the fascistic coup on Wednesday aimed at blocking Congressional certification of Biden’s own victory.
Less than 48 hours after hundreds of people, incited by President Trump and backed by top officials in the Republican Party, stormed the Capitol, Biden called for “unity” with his “Republican colleagues” and made clear that he is opposed to holding anyone politically accountable.
Biden deliberately sidestepped a question as to whether he supported the immediate impeachment of Trump for inciting Wednesday’s insurrection, which has been proposed by some members of the House of Representatives. “What the Congress decides to do, that’s for them to decide,” Biden said.
Biden later stressed his opposition to any attempt to remove Trump immediately, saying, “If we were six months out, we should be doing everything to get him out of office,” but two weeks before Inauguration Day, “I am focused on us taking control as president and vice president on the 20th”—that is, at the end of Trump’s term.
The remainder of Biden’s remarks were focused on providing political cover for Republican officials who assisted Trump’s coup. Referring to Vice President Pence as “Mike,” he said that he would be “honored to have him” at the inauguration ceremony on January 20, which Trump declared on Friday he would boycott.
Asked if he thought Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz—two of the Republican senators who played leading roles in promoting the lie that the election was rigged—should resign, Biden only offered the hope that they would be beaten the next time they run for office, that is, in 2024. Cruz and Hawley were among seven Republican senators who voted to reject the electoral votes from the state of Pennsylvania early Thursday morning, after the attempted coup. Hawley was photographed raising his fist in salute to the fascist demonstrators.
Most significant was what Biden said of Mitch McConnell, who remains Senate majority leader until elections for officers are held in the new Democratic-controlled Senate. Biden said he was “so proud” of McConnell. “I thought what he said before the United States Senate was the right thing to do. He stood up; he was ashamed.”
Biden was referring to McConnell’s speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, as he tried to cover up his own role in providing political legitimacy for Trump’s efforts to nullify the elections.
All of the figures defended by Biden helped prepare the assault on the Capitol with weeks of lying claims that the election was stolen. McConnell, as leader of the Republicans in the Senate, rendered critical service to Trump by withholding Republican recognition of Biden’s election for weeks. He declared in the aftermath of the election that Trump was “100 percent within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options.”
McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, has served in Trump’s cabinet as transportation secretary throughout the entire four years of the administration. She announced yesterday that she is resigning effective this coming Monday, as part of an effort by top administration officials to distance themselves from Trump.
Biden’s principal concern yesterday was to uphold the stability of the Republican Party itself. “We need a Republican Party,” he said. “We need an opposition that is principled and strong.” He referred several times during his brief remarks to his “Republican friends,” and stressed that he would strive to “unify” Republicans and Democrats to accomplish “things we have to agree on and work together on.”
Within the framework of American bourgeois politics, Biden’s statement that the Democrats need a “strong” Republican Party means that the worst possible outcome would be a rout of the party of Trump, the incubator of fascism. Biden and the Democrats want to make sure that a political instrument essential to the defense of ruling class interests is not shattered by the at least temporary failure of the coup.
This is why the Democrats are opposed to an exposure of the criminal conspiracy, even though it was directed at their own electoral victory. If the truth were to come out, the radicalizing impact on masses of workers would threaten the stability of not only the Republican Party, but the entire state apparatus and the capitalist system it defends.
Whatever their tactical differences, centered primarily on foreign policy, the Democrats and Republicans represent the ruling class. They are far more worried about a revolutionary movement of the working class than they are about the overthrow of what remains of democratic forms of rule in the United States.
In his recently published memoir, former President Barack Obama remarks that he was “quietly angry” about protests against George W. Bush at the time of Obama’s inauguration. Never mind that Bush came to office through the theft of an election, or that he waged illegal wars that killed hundreds of thousands of people. The matter at hand was defense of the institutions of the capitalist state.
In November 2016, immediately after Trump’s election, the Democrats responded with pledges to work with the incoming administration. The election, Obama declared, is an “intramural scrimmage” between two sides of the same team.
Over the past year, as Trump attempted to overthrow the Constitution and establish a personalist dictatorship, the Democrats sought to cover up the far-reaching assault on democratic rights. Following Trump’s June 1 speech threatening to invoke the Insurrection Act against protests over police murder, the Democrats ceded all opposition to this effort to establish a military dictatorship to the military itself.
Just three months ago, when Trump came down with the coronavirus in early October, one month before the election and only days after Trump called on the fascistic Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” the Democrats responded by wishing for his “speedy and complete recovery.”
The New York Times published an editorial, “Get Well, Mr. President,” expressing its hope that Trump would recover swiftly “for the sake of the nation.” As the WSWS noted at the time, Trump’s quick return to the White House “was clearly motivated by deep concerns over the impact of his sickness on his position and political conspiracies.”
Only days after Trump’s return to the White House, the fascistic plot to kidnap and assassinate the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, was revealed. The Democrats suppressed the significance of this coup—a dress rehearsal for the events on Wednesday—and hardly defended Whitmer herself. No investigations were held of the many connections between the coup plotters and officials within the Republican Party and police forces.
Now, only days after an attempted fascistic insurrection, the line from the leader of the Democratic Party and the future president is “unity” and “bipartisanship.” It is necessary to “turn the page,” as Biden surrogate, Senator Tom Carper said Wednesday afternoon.
In other words, no one—aside from some participants in the right-wing mob—will be held accountable. These individuals will be celebrated as right-wing martyrs, and it will not be long before they are featured speakers at fundraising events for the fascists. Some of them, one can be certain, will be Republican candidates in future elections. As for the political organizers and abettors of the coup—Trump, his vicious sons Eric and Donald Jr., Rudy Giuliani, Stephen Miller and other fascist gangsters—they will live and thrive to fight another day.
It is worth recalling that Hitler benefited politically from his failed putsch of 1923. He was sentenced to prison, where he was kept in comfortable confinement, and used his free time to write Mein Kampf. Within 10 years, he was chancellor of Germany.
As for a future Biden administration, it will be a right-wing regime viciously hostile to the working class. Biden’s effort to strengthen the Republican Party is aimed at marginalizing and attacking the left. It is combined with the twin pillars of Democratic Party politics, the anti-Russia narrative of the military and intelligence agencies and the promotion of racialist conflict. The policy of a Democratic-run government will create the best conditions for the further growth of the far-right.
The effort to conceal the conspiracy must be opposed! The Socialist Equality Party demands the immediate removal and arrest of Trump and an open and public criminal investigation into all those who aided and abetted the fascistic putsch of January 6. Their emails, text messages and communications must be exposed. Everyone involved in directing, planning and providing political cover for this operation must be removed from office, arrested and sent to prison.
In raising this demand, the SEP does not give any credibility to the Democratic Party. Rather, it exposes both parties and the entire capitalist state.
Bringing the conspiracy to the full light of day is necessary to raise the consciousness of the working class about the nature of the forces it confronts, expose the connection between the fascist conspiracy and significant factions of the ruling class, and develop an independent movement of workers against the entire capitalist system.