People shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. Credit: Andrew Harnik / AP

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Gabriel Karam of Bangor was the University of Maine’s Outstanding 2020 Graduate within the College of Business. He is currently working towards his MBA.

The mob of Trump extremists who stormed the U.S. Capitol should be unanimously condemned. Like President Donald Trump’s presidency, this conclusion to his administration was divisive. Coming from a lifelong conservative, Trump doesn’t espouse true conservatism and is a constitutional threat.

The First Amendment grants us rights to assemble and peacefully petition the government. This doesn’t permit damaging government property, trespassing, and searching senators’ desks. This mob fought with law enforcement, resulting in four deaths, and five weapons being recovered.

NBC News reports that these rioters could be charged with several federal charges. The First Amendment does not protect against such serious crimes that desecrate our democracy and endanger our elected officials.

The Black Lives Matter protests, while mostly peaceful, also did entail property damage, unwarranted violence, looting, and the destruction of livelihoods. Some have criticized a perceived faster law enforcement response to the BLM protests over the Capitol intrusion. Regardless, both instances of protests were unnecessarily violent and damaging.

This unprecedented takeover of the Capitol was based on Trump’s unjustified claims of voter fraud. USA Today states that Trump warned of voter fraud “before a single vote was cast.” Unless Trump can predict the future, the president has been using these baseless claims simply to cling to power.

The Associated Press reports that even William Barr denounced any evidence of widespread voter fraud. Similarly, the Washington Post states that at least nine of Trump’s own appointed judges have ruled against or dismissed his frivolous election fraud lawsuits. Since even Trump’s own appointees have found no significant evidence to support his baseless claims, it is clear that there should be no partisan division over whether Americans should accept the results of the election.

The mob that violently broke into the Capitol, only to support Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud, should be universally denounced. Even traditional Trump loyalists, such as Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senator Lindsey Graham, have announced that they would not continue to support the incorrect notion of a fraudulent election, or the criminal actions of the Trump supporting mob. Senators and congressmen on both sides of the aisle, for the most part, came together to denounce the rioters’ actions, and to certify that Biden had won the election.

Despite pressure from Trump, Pence stated that he did not have the constitutional power to change the election. Furthermore, Pence had more responsibility for deploying the National Guard to the Capitol than Trump. Although Pence has mostly sided with Trump during his term, his actions on Wednesday show that he, in addition to other prominent Republican politicians, is finally standing up to Trump.

Trump is not a true conservative. The Washington Times states that he has changed parties at least five times. Our national debt has increased by 36 percent in four years. Trump’s tariffs are the antithesis of free-trade capitalism, and have resulted in higher costs for American businesses. Trump infamously criticized war hero John McCain, and has seen declining popularity throughout military polls.

Trump is a constitutional threat. Trump attempted to end birthright citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment with an executive order, has stated that the Constitution’s Article II gives him “unlimited power,” and was the third president to be impeached. Trump lies to his constituents, such as refusing to denounce QAnon conspiracies. Now, Trump refuses to peacefully transfer power.

Trump is toxic to our democracy, and does not represent the small government, family values of the Republican Party for which I registered. His claims of election fraud are baseless, and he incited the criminal mob that invaded our Capitol. This coup is something seen in third-world countries, not in the superpower and democratic beacon that is the USA.

Trump supporters need to acknowledge that Trump lost the election in order to restore faith in our elections and democratic institutions. The Senate failed in removing Trump from office, so we the people voted him out instead. This mob takeover was unacceptable; it’s time that Republicans leave Trump behind to heal our nation.