On Tuesday, Donald Trump spoke to an audience of Republican lawmakers and former Trump administration officials in his first public appearance in Washington D.C. since leaving office on January 20, 2021.
In the course of a 90-minute fascist diatribe, the ex-president laid out his agenda for a police state, to be imposed by a Republican Congress and Republican White House elected in the 2022 midterm and 2024 presidential elections.
Talk about “elections,” however, has to be qualified by Trump’s denunciations in his speech of the House January 6 Committee as an “unselect committee of hacks and political thugs” and his defense of the attempted coup, including the armed mob he summoned to storm the Capitol on January 6, 2021 to block certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
That Trump was even free to return to the nation’s capital and address an organization set up by his accomplices is an indictment of the Biden administration and the Democratic Party, who have refused to prosecute and jail government officials in all branches—executive, legislative, judicial—and in the military, police and intelligence who were complicit in the attempt to keep Trump in power as president-dictator.
Trump delivered the keynote address to the first public conference held by the America First Policy Institute (AFPI), which was founded in March of 2021 by a group of former Trump officials, including Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner. Speakers included House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senator Ted Cruz. According to the organization’s website, the event was attended by eight former cabinet-level officials, nine former top White House officials, 10 US senators, 13 US House members, three former Republican governors and other prominent Trump supporters.
It shattered the attempts of the Democrats and the House January 6 Committee, whose own hearings have revealed indisputable evidence of the vast scale of the coup and the complicity of the Republican Party, to nevertheless portray the attempt to overthrow the election and the Constitution as the work of Trump and just a handful of cronies, and thereby insulate his co-conspirators from criminal prosecution.
They are perpetrating a massive cover-up in the interests of concealing the ongoing conspiracy against the working class and its democratic rights and maintaining the two-party system on which the stability of the capitalist system depends.
The Democrats choose to downplay the fact that even after the violent storming of the Capitol had petered out, despite the refusal of President-elect Joe Biden to call for popular action to stop it and the refusal of police and military leaders to dispatch forces to clear out the mob, eight Republican senators and 139 Republican House members (65 percent of the Republican delegation) voted against the certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory. At least three of these senators (Cruz, Cynthia Lummis and Rick Scott) and eight of these House members, including McCarthy, attended Tuesday’s event and cheered on Trump.
The January 6 Committee hearings have lauded Trump officials, such as former Vice President Mike Pence, former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, former Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger and others as heroes for opposing the January 6 insurrection, even though they had backed the lie of a “stolen election” that was used to organize the coup attempt. The Committee has presented the false narrative that the vast majority of White House aides remained “loyal” to the Constitution.
But Trump’s former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Brooke Rollins, now president and CEO of the AFPI, moderated the event, and one of the speakers was Linda McMahon, head of Trump’s Small Business Administration and now AFPI board chairwoman.
AFPI board vice chair is Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic adviser, and Chad Wolf is executive director. As acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Wolf authored Trump’s sadistic policy of separating children from their parents at the border and oversaw the deployment of immigration paramilitary units and other federal police to terrorize anti-police violence protesters in Portland, Oregon, in July 2020.
Top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway is one of the AFPI chairs and presided over a panel discussion featuring Cruz at the conference.
They were among the crowd shouting “Four more years!” when Trump declared: “Our biggest threat remains sick and evil people from within,” singling out “crazy Nancy Pelosi” for attack by pro-Trump fascists.
Trump was announced by a video declaring him “the greatest president of the modern era.” His speech was billed in advance as his “America First” agenda for securing law and order.
Reprising his “American carnage” inaugural address, Trump claimed that the “radical left” Biden administration had turned the US into a “war zone” by opening the borders to an “invasion” of criminal “aliens” and drug-trafficking gangs and “dismantling and destroying the police.”
In order to end what he presented as a “violent crime” catastrophe, he elaborated these policies:
- Stop-and-frisk policies. Strengthen qualified immunity for police officers. A squad car on every corner.
- Quick trials followed by the execution of drug dealers.
- Unilateral power for the president to deploy the National Guard to cities without the approval of governors. “The next president will send the National Guard to dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago,” Trump pledged.
- Closed borders, increased restrictions on asylum, enhanced deportation powers, use of the National Guard to remove “illegal aliens” from the US, massive expansion of funding for the ICE Gestapo.
- Forced removal of the homeless to tent city camps on the outskirts of cities.
- Presidential power to unilaterally fire federal employees.
- Work requirements for welfare and other social benefits.
- Universal voter ID requirement. Same day voting with paper ballots only.
In the course of his diatribe he accused China not only of deliberately spreading COVID-19 (the “China virus”) but also of importing fentanyl into the US via the “open border” with Mexico. He demanded the lifting of all COVID-19 restrictions.
Alarmed by Trump’s continued domination of the Republican Party reflected in the victory of many Trump-endorsed election deniers in Republican primary contests and the growth of pro-Trump fascist police organizations such as the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, Biden roused himself from his COVID sick bed Monday and broke his silence on the January 6 hearings.
In a taped statement to an organization of black police officials, Biden denounced Trump personally for doing nothing to stop his mob’s attacks on police guarding the Capitol on January 6. He did so in order to cast Trump as “anti-police” and present the Democrats as the true supporters of the cops, whom he declared the heroes of January 6.
The working class must take these developments as a warning: Not a shred of confidence can be placed in the Democratic Party or any institution of the capitalist state to counter the danger of fascism and dictatorship. Behind the fascistic transformation of the Republican Party and the hurtling of the Democrats ever further to the right is the growth of the class struggle, fueled by record inflation, the bipartisan policy of mass infection and death in response to COVID-19, war and ever greater levels of social inequality.
All of the repressive measures being implemented and planned are directed against the working class. The police and fascist paramilitaries promoted by Trump are to be thrown against the rising tide of working class struggle.
The immense social power of the working class, mobilized independently on the basis of a socialist perspective, is the only means of defending democratic rights.