SPONSORED:

When will Americans — all Americans — declare that enough is enough?

When will Americans — all Americans — declare that enough is enough?
© Getty Images

On June 4, during a demonstration in Niagara Square in Buffalo, N.Y., protesting the death of George Floyd, a video recorded by a bystander revealed Martin Gugino approaching several police officers. Ordered to move on, Gugino was then pushed and fell to the ground; seconds later, blood began gushing from his head. Gugino was hospitalized in “fair condition.” The Erie County District Attorney subsequently charged two of the officers with second-degree criminal assault.

On June 9, President Trump tweeted a baseless conspiracy theory: “Buffalo protestor shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment… I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”

At his daily coronavirus briefing, Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoThree National Guardsmen killed after military helicopter crash in New York New York City reschedules 23,000 vaccination appointments due to supply issues Pence delivers coronavirus task force report to Biden MORE, the Democratic governor of New York, denounced the tweet: “How reckless, how irresponsible, how mean, how crude… You think the blood coming out of his head was staged? Is that what you are saying?”

ADVERTISEMENT

The silence from Republican office holders in Washington, however, has been deafening. The White House and chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Inauguration Day Trump leaves White House, promises to be back in 'some form' LIVE INAUGURATION COVERAGE: Biden signs executive orders; press secretary holds first briefing MORE declined to comment.

To her credit, Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump impeachment trial to begin week of Feb. 8 Murkowski didn't vote for Trump, won't join Democrats Trump impeachment article being sent to Senate Monday MORE (R-Alaska) told reporters: “I just saw that this second. It just makes no sense that we’re fanning the flames right at this moment.” The responses of many of her colleagues, however, were cringeworthy. Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerOvernight Defense: Joint Chiefs denounce Capitol attack | Contractors halt donations after siege | 'QAnon Shaman' at Capitol is Navy vet Lobbying world Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (R-Colo.) and Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrump impeachment trial to begin week of Feb. 8 Limbaugh falsely says Biden didn't win legitimately while reacting to inauguration Top Texas Democratic Party staffers to step down after underwhelming election results MORE (R-Texas) indicated they had not read Trump’s tweet. Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio: Biden 'talking like a centrist' but governing 'from the radical left' The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds Limbaugh falsely says Biden didn't win legitimately while reacting to inauguration MORE (R-Fla.) said he had “no information about that man or who he is.” Sen. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerGroup of GOP senators seeks to block Biden moves on Paris, Keystone McConnell faces conservative backlash over Trump criticism McConnell keeps GOP guessing on Trump impeachment MORE (R-N.D.) claimed he knew “nothing of the episode.” Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds GOP senators say only a few Republicans will vote to convict Trump For Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief MORE (R-Maine), who had predicted that Trump had learned from his impeachment and “will be much more cautious in the future,” seemed to shrug yet again, opining that “It would be best if the president did not comment on issues that are before the courts.” Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzEthics complaint filed against Biggs, Cawthorn and Gosar over Capitol riot Hawley, Cruz see approval ratings dip in wake of Capitol riot: poll For Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief MORE (R-Texas), who had had quite a lot to say when Donald Trump retweeted an accusation that Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, declared “I don’t comment on the tweets.” Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said, “I haven’t read the damn thing. I don’t want to hear it.”

A masked Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump impeachment trial to begin week of Feb. 8 Democrats float 14th Amendment to bar Trump from office Biden signals he's willing to delay Trump trial MORE (R-Ky.), the Senate majority leader, marched resolutely past reporters without responding to their questions.

Trump’s baseless smear of a private citizen, of course, is scarcely the only time in the last four years — or even in June 2020 — that Republicans on the Hill have suddenly become mute.

When peaceful protestors near the White House were forcibly dispersed (perhaps on orders by Attorney General William BarrBill BarrBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Two-thirds say the election was fair: poll The Hill's Morning Report - An inauguration like no other MORE) on June 1, to clear the way for the president to walk to St. John’s Church for a photo op, only Sens. Murkowski and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds GOP senators say only a few Republicans will vote to convict Trump For Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief MORE (R-Utah) condemned the action. The irredeemably wishy-washy Sen. Collins indicated that she had “a lot of respect for” for Gen. Jim Mattis, former secretary of Defense who blasted Trump for misusing the military, but Collins would not say whether she agreed with Mattis’s criticism of the president.

ADVERTISEMENT

The lambs were silent as well a few days later when Trump celebrated a decline in unemployment by hoping that “George [Floyd] is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that is happening for our country. There’s a great day for him… It’s the greatest thing that can happen for race relations, for the African American community… for everything.”

When will Americans — all Americans — declare that enough is enough?

When will they stop excusing, enabling, or defending words  and behavior they would reject in any other public official, or — for that matter — in any other human being?

Glenn C. Altschuler is the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies at Cornell University. He is the co-author (with Stuart Blumin) of Rude Republic: Americans and Their Politics in the Nineteenth Century.