Fintan O’Toole: At 2.23am, the US president launched an attempted coup
Trumpism is alive and kicking – and openly contemptuous of democracy
People colour in an electoral map during a US presidential election watch party at the US embassy in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, today. Photograph: Byambasuren Byamba-Ochir/AFP/Getty
Neighbours watch election results from Vaughan’s Lounge in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Tuesday night. Photograph: Emily Kask/AFP/AFP/Getty
President Donald Trump speaking this morning from the White House: “Trump behaved like an autocrat even when it was quite possible that he could still win by being a democrat. This is the great crisis of the American republic: elective authoritarianism is now an official and equal rival to democracy.” Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP Photo
At 2.23am Washington time this morning, the president of the United States launched an attempted coup. It was not a secret plot. He did it openly and followed a script he had pretty much published in advance of the show. Close to half of Americans voted for him in the full knowledge that he was going to do it.
And the great irony is that it may not have been necessary. At that moment, the outcome of the election was still entirely in play. Trump behaved like an autocrat even when it was quite possible that he could still win by being a democrat.