A coup d'état was always possible as the Presidency of Donald Trump reached its nemesis. A strong contender for the title is contained in the following extraordinary facts.
Adam Smith, elected Democratic Representative and chair of the House Armed Services Committee, who called Donald Trump a “narcissistic psychopath”, told CNN that as Wednesday's riot unfolded, the Mayor of Washington DC talked directly to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense with the Vice President's approval, who was in contact with the Pentagon, the FBI and the Justice Department and who consulted leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives, including himself.
Without reference to the President, they agreed to release the Washington DC National Guard to secure the Capitol and the capital city from rioters. That they did. But Mike Pence, as Vice President, has no authority whatever over the United States armed forces. He is not the Commander in Chief nor deputy Commander in Chief, a role that does not exist. He had in effect usurped the Presidency and assumed its powers under the Constitution. That is surely a coup. And the riot itself was in effect an insurrection.
It can be deduced from this that each of these illustrious institutions instinctively recognised, when approached by Mr Pence at a moment of extreme national emergency, that Donald Trump could no longer be regarded, de facto, as President. The Constitution they had sworn to defend was under attack. By him.
The riot was convened by him, and then egged on by him as it developed. It was a palpable attempt to stop the constitutional process dead in its tracks, ending the formal recognition of Joe Biden as the next President. To incite insurrection is sedition probably bordering on treason. To try by violence to prevent a rightfully elected president taking office certainly is. Donald Trump deserves to spend the rest of his days in prison.
So the last 24 hours in the United States saw: (a) the election of two Democratic senators from Georgia, thereby handing control of the Senate to the same party of government that will, from January 20, control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives; (b) the due process of confirming Joe Biden as the next President, who will be Chief Executive and Commander in Chief for four more years, (c) an egregious act of treason by a serving President and (d) a coup d'état that took place in the United States for the first, and let us earnestly hope, the last time.
What an epiphany! What a day!