The images of armed rioters storming the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to support President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of election fraud were shocking – but far from surprising.

The violence unleashed in Washington, D.C., was the culmination of more than four years of rhetoric from Trump – including a rally earlier Wednesday near the White House, where he encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol and disrupt the process of confirming the results of the Nov. 3 election, which Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden.

The crowd members evolved from legal protesters to criminals when they moved from chants and shouts of allegations to storming the Capitol building.

The president was guilty of inciting a riot – with hundreds of armed terrorists overwhelming Capitol police and running amok in the halls of Congress – and his actions to overthrow the Democratic process were nothing short of sedition.

Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, was testifying against a GOP attempt to undo the Electoral College voting when rioters broke through security and entered the seat of government.

Toomey later confirmed to The Tribune-Democrat that he was safe – even as police were making numerous arrests and confiscating explosives and firearms from pro-Trump rioters.

Toomey called the violent actions of the lame-duck president’s backers “an absolute disgrace.”

Late Wednesday, rather than condemning the anarchists, the president reiterated his claims that the election had been fraudulent, with no proof, and urged his backers to simply “go home” – as if they could just regroup another day.

His calls for insurrection echoed his campaign stops last fall in Johnstown and in Blair County, when he claimed the only way he could lose was if his opponent “stole” the election – then doubled down with at least 50 post-election lawsuits that were shut down in state and federal courts.

This man should be removed from office immediately and then tried for treason – along with every single person who breached the Capitol and who can be identified on the U.S. government’s surveillance video.

That shouldn’t be difficult, as most of the rioters were not wearing masks.

This incident was an embarrassment to our country, and an assault on the ideals of this republic – with all who have backed Trump’s tactics, including members of Congress who have stood with him in recent weeks, sharing in the blame for the stunning outcome.

But the rioters did not win.

When the smoke had cleared late Wednesday, both the Capitol and our nation stood tall – fearful, less naive, but ultimately undaunted.

A would-be tyrant had been thwarted, and the process of anointing his successor resumed.

That is the silver lining on one of the darkest days in American history.

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