My Turn — Donald Trump: Terrorist, traitor

  • Trump supporters participate in a rally Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington. As Congress prepared to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud.  AP PHOTO/JOHN MINCHILLO

Published: 1/10/2021 4:05:03 PM
Modified: 1/10/2021 4:04:44 PM

Donald Trump’s actions on Jan. 6 and in the days and weeks leading up to them have confirmed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what many have suspected and feared ever since his election: He is a terrorist and a traitor.

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines terrorism as “the calculated use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective.”

Donald Trump has never engaged in the art of persuasion to further his political objectives but relied on threats to both Republicans and Democrats to engender a climate of fear. For Republican representatives and senators, he has held out the threat of being “primaried” (opposed by a Trump supporter in a Republican primary with the full financial and institutional backing of Trump and the national party). This climate of fear has resulted in the disappearance of anything resembling principled opposition within the party and created a group of enablers who have refused to oppose even the most outrageous and cruel domestic and foreign policies, with only rare exceptions.

But his words to the angry crowd in Washington, D.C. changed the level of violence from symbolic to physical: he tried to increase the fear from social and political damage to the fear for personal safety. His words ( included the following in reference to the certification of electoral votes: “We’re just not going to let that happen ... And we fight. We fight like Hell and if you don’t fight like Hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore. ... So we’re going to . . . walk down Pennsylvania Avenue ... to the Capitol ... and give our Republicans ... the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”

His words could not have been more clear: other than direct, physical violence, how else could thousands of angry people show up at the Capitol and “fight like Hell” to give Republicans “pride and boldness” (read: fear of the mob) to “take back our country?”

Did he expect them to sign petitions on the Capitol steps? Make appointments to talk with their elected officials? No, he expected and promoted mob action, which resulted in at least four deaths. He hoped to create a climate of fear to achieve his political objective: retaining power contrary to the results of a free, fair and closely-monitored election.

Benedict Arnold is America’s most famous traitor, but Donald Trump’s name should join him in infamy. 18 U.S. Code § 2381 – Treason states that “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason . . . ” and Code § 2385 later goes on to describe seditious acts designed to overthrow the government.

Donald Trump clearly offered aid and comfort to the attackers in his video tweet after the attack on Congress “So go home, we love you, you’re very special.” ( He spoke those words to rioters who proved themselves to be enemies of the federal government and Constitution in their efforts to prevent certification of the electoral votes as detailed in the Constitution and federal law (

Benedict Arnold served the yet-unformed United States honorably in military service before turning his back on them for a variety of personal reasons. Donald Trump officially owes allegiance to the U.S. through his oath of office four long years ago, as well as being the beneficiary of the free and democratic system that elected him. But it is no surprise that he is a traitor to the US: he has never shown love or respect for its traditions or laws, only to his own ruthless pursuit of wealth and power. Our flawed system elected him in 2016, but that same system rejected him in 2020. His attempt to overturn a democratic election is beyond pathetic. Instead, it is a criminal act of terrorism, sedition, and treason.

Allen Woods is a freelance writer and author living in Greenfield. Comments are welcome here or at

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