It’s important to remember that the assault on the Capitol last week was fueled by lies.

Thanks to an all-out propaganda war by President Trump and his allies in government and right-wing media, millions of Americans are convinced that the 2020 election was rigged, and Trump was its rightful winner.

Thousands of those people swarmed the citadel of government last week, convinced that they were preventing a great injustice and protecting American democracy.

Who is going to tell them that they were wrong?

That’s what leadership is for, and that’s what’s missing in the response by Maine Sen. Susan Collins.

Collins, a Republican who was just returned to office, has criticized President Trump for “inciting” the riot at the Capitol, but not for the months of lies that led up to it.


That response falls short. Too many people believe that the election was decided by fraud. It’s not enough to decry the violence of Jan. 6. Almost everybody will say that they were appalled by the terrifying images that are still coming out. Even people who encouraged the mob, like Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, now disavow the violent acts.

What we need are leaders who can clearly identify what was behind the violence and tell us what they plan to do about it.

And that starts with telling the truth. It’s particularly important for politicians like Collins who have bipartisan appeal, to be very clear about the false allegations Trump continues to make about the election. Mainers who voted for Collins and Trump need to hear that the election was aboveboard and Trump lost, fair and square. Those voters need to hear from leaders they trust that Trump is dangerous.

The rest of Maine’s congressional delegation has been clear on this point. Even before the riot, Sen. Angus King called Trump out for an “overt, corrupt attempt to overturn the will of the voters.”

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree supports Trump’s impeachment, as well as sanctions against Republican officeholders for “perpetuating this myth of a stolen election.”

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat who won re-election in a district Trump also carried, announced Monday that he will vote to impeach Trump. “To be clear, the 2020 election was both free and fair, and its results are fully legitimate,” Golden said. “In claiming otherwise, the president, members of his Cabinet and administration, and some members of Congress have knowingly lied to the American public.”


The United States is in the middle of a national security crisis that’s unlike any in modern history.

Instead of a hostile foreign power or a terrorist organization threatening our well-being, it’s our own commander in chief.

President Trump sent a mob to the Capitol last week to overturn the results of a legal election. Five people lost their lives in the attack, including a police officer. Considering the guns, bombs and other weapons that were seized, we can only be grateful that it was not much worse.

Allowing lies about the reliability of our elections to go unchallenged is like allowing embers to smolder in a bone-dry forest. If nobody puts them out, you can expect another fire.

If we can’t restore trust in our democracy, what happened last week is just the beginning.

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