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Three Years After the January 6 Insurrection, Donald Trump is Still a Threat to Our Democracy

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By Chrissy Houlahan

Three years ago today, Donald Trump stoked an angry mob and encouraged them to storm the U.S. Capitol. Fueled by lies, fringe conspiracy theories, and inflammatory rhetoric from the 45th president of the United States, the rioters overwhelmed and assaulted police officers, vandalized the Capitol, including smearing feces on the walls, and damaging and stealing property. Pipe bombs were also placed in multiple locations nearby. All in an attempt to prevent the certification of a free and fair election. 

That was a dark day. I was barricaded in my office alone for hours, sending messages to my loved ones and to my team to let them know I was okay — all while anxiously watching the violence and horror unfold, unsure of the extent of the damage to the Capitol and the safety of those inside, and equally uncertain of the future of our nation. 

The depravity ended in the early hours of January 7 when we returned to the House floor, literally picked up the pieces, and certified the election. Thus, the just and proper transfer of power would occur once again in this great nation. Some of my fellow Pennsylvanian members and I spoke around two in the morning in defense of the election results for our state. My speech evoked the lessons of Valley Forge, located in my district, and reminded us of the parallels of that bleak winter when George Washington and his fractured troops remained united. As true leaders do, General Washington led by putting service above self.

The reckless and dangerous actions carried out by the violent mob on January 6 were inexcusable, and it is important to say again that they were done at the urging of one man and one man alone: Donald Trump. Although Trump’s attempts to overthrow the results of the 2020 election and to prevent the peaceful transfer of power did not succeed, January 6 will forever be a stain on our country — it will be remembered as one of the darkest days in American history. It will also forever be an example of what can happen if leaders do not lead with humility and servant hearts but rather choose their self-aggrandizement and disregard the very people they serve.

Trump’s thirst for absolute power is as potent and dangerous today as it was three years ago, and no one has spoken more clearly about the existential threat that MAGA extremism poses to the future of our country than President Biden. Yesterday, at a local community college in the shadow of Valley Forge National Park, the President reminded the American people that, just like in 2020, the very soul and future of our nation is on the line this year. He reminded us that he and Vice President Harris are the leaders who can continue to responsibly guide us all into our next 250 years.

Americans have already been forced to live through the devastating consequences of Donald Trump’s first term in office. 

Donald Trump has shown us who he is -  evoking Hitler, praising dictators, casting doubt on our democratic institutions, and rolling back our freedoms. Trump has laid out a clear and dark vision for how he intends to further undermine our democracy should he be elected again, and has said he’ll use the power of the presidency and the federal government to take revenge on those who oppose him. We should take him at his word. 

As an elected official and a third-generation veteran, I swore an oath to serve and defend this country. I’ve seen firsthand that democracy is not guaranteed — not here and not around the world. The values of justice, liberty, and equality that we hold today were won with immense sacrifice. The freedoms we enjoy were fought and died for in hallowed places like Valley Forge. 

In our lifetimes, we have seen how fragile the American experiment is and how crucial this great nation is to the peace, stability, and security of the larger world.

What I have seen during the first three years of President Biden and Vice President Harris’s administration gives me hope. They have led, with strength and integrity, the continuing work necessary to protect our democracy and safeguard the values that we hold most dear. 

The stakes could not be higher. But if there’s one thing I know about Pennsylvanians, it’s that we will work relentlessly together to protect and defend these hard-earned freedoms. 

Chrissy Houlahan is continuing a career of service now in her third term in Congress and represents the 6th Congressional District of Pennsylvania in Congress, which includes all of Chester County and the southern part of Berks County. She is a veteran, entrepreneur and former educator and serves on the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees.