Right-wing extremist groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, who played a major role in the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection as they sought to keep former President Donald Trump in the White House, also are exerting a harmful influence on American politics and standing in the way of progress on climate change and other important societal issues.
That's the opinion of Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) in an interview with the Guardian, Reuters news agency and the Climate One radio program. Raskin led the House effort to impeach Trump for the second time and is a prominent member of the House Select Committee that is investigating the role of Trump and his allies in inciting the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol.
The Maryland congressman has vowed to develop a complete picture of what happened that fateful day - and why - as rioters attempted to stop certification of the 2020 presidential election. Public hearings by the committee, chaired by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), are expected to resume next month.
“This was a coup organized by the president against the vice-president and against the Congress in order to overturn the 2020 presidential election,” Raskin said.
The congressman added: “We don’t have a lot of experience with coups in our own country and we think of a coup as something that takes place against a president.” Jan. 6, however, was not what is typically regarded as a coup because it did not involve the military or another faction in society attacking the head of the government.
If the attack on the Capitol were to have succeeded, Raskin believes that “Trump was prepared to seize the presidency and likely to invoke the Insurrection Act and declare martial law. It’s what the political scientists call a self-coup … It’s a president fearful of defeat, overthrowing the constitutional process,” Raskin said.
He also believes that the extremist groups who support Trump are endangering the planet.
Raskin said: “We’re never going to be able to successfully deal with climate change if we’re spending all our time fighting the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers and Ku Klux Klan, and the Aryan nations and all of Steve Bannon’s alt-right nonsense.”
“We’ve got to save the democracy in order to save the climate and save our species,” he told the Guardian, Reuters and Climate One in the interview, as part of the Covering Climate Now media collaboration.