Trump visits Capitol Hill for first time since January 6, 2021 coup

Former President Donald Trump met with House and Senate Republicans Thursday, visiting Capitol Hill for the first time since he instigated the fascistic coup on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives to speak with reporters at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Washington. [AP Photo/Evan Vucci]

Trump did not return to the Capitol to face charges for the attempted insurrection. The Democrats have avoided any serious investigation, let alone prosecution, for the coup, in order to reach bipartisan deals with congressional Republicans, particularly over the escalation of the war against Russia in Ukraine.

Biden’s attorney general, Merrick Garland, only named a special prosecutor for the January 6 attack last year, and the case brought by Jack Smith has been delayed by repeated appeals by Trump. These legal challenges include the current case pending before the US Supreme Court.

Trump’s meetings with House Republicans were displays of fawning adulation, with House members singing “Happy Birthday,” since he turns 78 on Friday.

House Speaker Mike Johnson and other Republican leaders spoke as cheerleaders for his presidential campaign and denounced the Manhattan court case in which he was recently convicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

The ex-president responded in kind, praising Johnson and urging fascist Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene to drop her efforts to oust him through motions to declare the speaker’s chair vacant.

Trump gloated over the removal of most of the 10 House Republicans who voted for his impeachment after the January 6 attack. Eight have since left Congress, either defeated in primaries or retiring because defeat was inevitable.

While the meeting was closed to the press, Republican representatives who were present told the media afterwards that Trump’s remarks were very similar to his campaign rallies, with a heavy emphasis on his personal grievances and ranting about people he despises.

When Trump visited the Senate for a luncheon meeting, he sat between Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and McConnell’s deputy, John Thune. It was the first meeting between Trump and McConnell since December 2020, when the Republican senator acknowledged Biden’s victory in the presidential election.

Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, a fascist who notoriously saluted the Capitol Hill attacks with a raised fist on January 6, gushed of Trump, “He is the choice of our voters overwhelmingly. It shows that he is absolutely the leader of the party.”

Senator Josh Hawley raises his fist in support of insurrectionists who attacked the US Capitol on January 6 [Photo: January 6 Committee]

In terms of the policies discussed at the congressional meetings with Trump, participants said there was a clear focus on two areas, renewing the massive Trump tax cuts for the wealthy, which expire next year, and pushing through an enormous increase in military spending, perhaps reaching as high as 5 percent of US GDP. That would boost war funding to nearly $1.3 trillion, up from the present level of just over $1 trillion.

The combined effect of renewing the tax cuts, increasing military spending, and paying the much higher costs of interest on federal debt, because of rising interest rates, would require the evisceration of federal domestic social spending.

Republican Senator John Cornyn, a likely candidate to succeed McConnell when he steps down as leader after the election, said that it was necessary to cut far more widely than discretionary social spending. This would include mandatory entitlement spending other than Social Security and Medicare (which Trump, for electoral purposes, has ruled out cutting).

The biggest such program is Medicaid, which subsidizes health care for the poor, which would be targeted for effective destruction. Cornyn said, “There’s about $700 billion in non-Social Security, non-Medicare mandatory spending that I think we should look at it.”

One other legislative priority, offered by House Speaker Johnson, was to pass legislation allowing a president or former president to transfer any civil or criminal case against him from state courts to federal courts. This would have quickly ended the Manhattan criminal case against Trump, as well as several civil lawsuits, since they were filed while Trump was still in the White House. He could have shifted the cases to federal jurisdiction, then ordered the Justice Department to drop them.

In addition to the House and Senate Republicans, Trump also met with the Business Roundtable, a grouping of more than 200 CEOs of the largest US banks and corporations, to discuss economic policy. A Trump campaign spokeswoman said that Trump was proposing tax cuts, deregulation and increased oil and gas production, and that “business leaders and working families alike are eager for the return of these common-sense policies.”

One of the few Democrats who issued a public statement on Trump’s visit, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said:

Today, the instigator of an insurrection is returning to the scene of the crime. January 6th was a crime against the Capitol... With his pledges to be a dictator on day one and seek revenge against his political opponents, Donald Trump comes to Capitol Hill today with the same mission of dismantling our democracy.

But Pelosi offered no accounting for why neither the House Democrats nor the Biden administration took any serious action against Trump during or after the coup, leaving him empowered to renew his bid for dictatorial power this year.

The Biden White House issued no comment on the event. Biden himself was in Italy, meeting with the leaders of the G7, the main imperialist powers, at an affair hosted by Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni, the first fascistic government leader to preside over such a summit. The main purpose of the meeting is to mobilize all-out imperialist support for the war in Ukraine against Russia.

The side-by-side meetings—Biden at a war summit planning escalation of a conflict that could trigger a nuclear war, and Trump preening as the undisputed strongman of an increasingly fascist Republican Party—show the absolute dead end of the capitalist two-party system. There is no “lesser evil” between the Democrats and Republicans, between world war and fascist dictatorship.

Responding to Trump’s visit to Capitol Hill, Socialist Equality Party candidate Joseph Kishore posted a statement on X, saying the January 6 coup was “a political turning point—a coordinated and planned attempt by the president of the United States to overthrow the election in order to remain in power and establish a personalist dictatorship.”

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The Democratic Party, Kishore continued, does not represent a “democratic” alternative to Trump:

The crisis of American democracy does not arise out of the head of Donald Trump. Trump and his band of fascistic conspirators are a product of a diseased social and political system. As for the Democrats, they are another expression of the same disease. Both parties represent reactionary factions of the corporate and financial oligarchy.