What happened in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday was anarchy.

It was sedition.

It was as close to a coup d'etat as we have ever seen in this nation.

Make no mistake. President Donald Trump was responsible.

He incited the storming of the capitol building with his irresponsible comments during an hour-long invective to thousands of his fervent followers. They responded to his words by marching to the Capitol, where a joint session of Congress was meeting to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.

Trump even put a target on the back of his vice president, Michael Pence, by lying to the crowd that Pence had the constitutional authority to overturn the Electoral College results and declare Trump the winner. Pence immediately issued a statement saying he had no such authority and would not do so.

This disgraceful frightening spectacle was sown from the seeds of Trump's erratic and dangerous rhetoric over the past four years and in particular over the last two months.

Trump’s inability to accept the vote of the electorate, his disregard for the foundational elements of American democracy and his continued stoking of the fire of those who support him no matter what led to this awful moment.

The shame of what happened in our nation's capital at our seat of government, the Capitol building, on Wednesday is unprecedented. It is shameful. It will never be forgotten.

It shouldn't be. Every American should be embarrassed and frightened.

All of the lawmakers who have continued to object to the electors — when the election was clearly over and litigated — are no less culpable than Trump. They abetted his false narrative about a rigged election.

Each one of them helped give these terrorists legitimacy.

Each one helped put lives at risk, most especially those of law enforcement officials who tried to restore calm from chaos.

When the almost inevitable insurrection unfolded at the Capitol, Trump was for much of the time nowhere to be found.

He was the spectator-in-chief, likely still surrounded by sycophant enablers who helped bring us to this awful day. And when he did speak briefly on a video, he only made matters worse.

President-elect Joe Biden, who will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, Wednesday's events not-withstanding, called on Trump to go on national television now “to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege.”

While Trump did urge his supporters to "go home,” he also continued to claim election fraud and called the rioters “very special.”

There have been many terrible days in our nation’s history.

Wednesday may have been the worst — mostly because it was a self-inflicted wound from a leader who campaigned on a promise to make America great again.

America was not great on Wednesday. Not even close.

This editorial is being jointly published with many CNHI newspapers across America following Wednesday's events at the U.S. Capitol.

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