“There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know.” — John Heywood, 1546.

The response of two Wyoming officials to President Donald Trump inciting a riot at the Capitol last Wednesday is delusional, dishonest and disturbing.

As security escorted her out after violent Trump backers stormed the building, Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) questioned who was responsible for the attack.

“I hope it’s not Trump supporters that are involved in the mayhem,” she reportedly told a Capitol Hill reporter. “In my previous experience with these Trump supporters, they have been peaceful demonstrators, happy people, very patriotic, pro-America, and I feel like other forces like Antifa were advocating violence.” 

“So if that has changed, I will be heartbroken,” she added.

Well, many of the rioters looked happy, especially the guy wearing a horned fur hat and brandishing a spear as he posed at the Senate dais. He was later identified as Jake Angeli, a QAnon supporter and fixture at Trump rallies in Arizona.

In case Lummis missed it, during his failed campaign, the president refused to denounce QAnon, a conspiracy group that believes a vast network of Democratic politicians and Hollywood actors are part of a global cabal of pedophiles. Adherents believe Trump is waging a secret war against these Satan worshippers, so he must remain in power at all costs.

Trump also refused to criticize the Proud Boys, a hate group that openly advocates violence and white supremacy. During a September debate with President-elect Joe Biden, he infamously told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”

They stood by, alright, announcing in December plans to wreak havoc in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 — the day Congress was scheduled to certify Biden’s Electoral College victory. 

After the insurrection, a Proud Boy bragged on the group’s Telegram social media page.

“For several hours, our collective strength had politicians in Washington in absolute terror,” he wrote. “The treacherous pawns [cops] were also terrified.”

These self-proclaimed terrorists are not “very patriotic, pro-America” people, and everyone at the Capitol knew it well before the invasion. 

On that day, Lummis was busy getting ready to challenge the election results in swing states like Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, so she probably didn’t hear the president’s incendiary speech live before the riot. But she surely watched it on the news.

Trump urged the crowd to march on the Capitol building and repeated his lies about how the election was “stolen” from him. “You’ll never take back your country with weakness,” he said. “You have to show strength, and you have to be strong. … If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

As the mob complied, Trump defended the destruction left in its wake. “These are the things that happen when a sacred landslide is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” he tweeted. 

In an unbelievable video address, he told the rioters: “We love you. You’re very special.”

On Twitter, Lummis wrote that “an attack on the Capitol is an attack on democracy.” But she never mentioned Trump’s involvement, or her own effort to subvert democracy by joining a dozen other senators to try to overturn the election in his favor. 

Instead, Lummis performed an amazing flip-flop-flip-flop on her first day at her new job. First flip: The senator initially said she would respect the process and that Biden won the election. 

First flop: Then she joined what many aptly dubbed the “sedition caucus,” which planned to postpone the Electoral College’s certification until an independent commission examined what scores of judges declared to be baseless claims of fraud in battleground states.

Second flip: After the riot, Congress decided to vote on only two of the grievances. Lummis broke with her sedition counterparts, including leaders Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), by voting against the Arizona challenge.

Final flop: Lummis voted in favor of an objection to Biden’s win in Pennsylvania. Despite claims that she’s a proponent of states’ rights, Lummis suddenly wants to disenfranchise millions of voters in a state that conducted a free and fair election.

Fortunately, two-thirds of Wyoming’s congressional delegation denounced the attempted coup. Rep. Liz Cheney, who has voted with Trump’s positions 95% of the time, lambasted him on Fox News. “There’s no question that the president formed the mob. The president incited the mob, the president addressed the mob,” she charged. “He lit the flame.”

Until the day of the riots, Sen. John Barrasso had been an unwavering Trump sycophant, but the violence was too much even for him. “Allowing certified electoral votes to be counted is my sworn duty,” he said in a statement. “In Wyoming, we pride ourselves on being guardians of the Constitution.” Barrasso voted against both the Arizona and Pennsylvania challenges.

The two lawmakers struck the right notes in a time of crisis. Their words stand in stark contrast to a tone-deaf statement issued by Frank Eathorne, chairman of the Wyoming Republican Party, who travelled to D.C. to participate in the protests.

Eathorne didn’t see anything amiss when he attended what he described as the “peaceful protest” near the White House to listen to Trump. “No violence or property damage was observed during my time there including a brief stop in the vicinity of the Capitol building property,” according to Eathorne.

A Jan. 6, 2020 post to the Wyoming Republican party Facebook page. (Facebook/Screengrab)

OK, maybe he missed the riots. But Eathorne must have seen it on TV like the rest of us, right? Wasn’t he outraged?

Apparently not.  “I retired from the public gathering near mid-afternoon and watched the news of some reported events I personally had not witnessed,” Eathorne stated. “The president’s statement tonight urging peace and love is the right course of action.”

“Some reported events?” Does Eathorne, who led the state GOP’s move to the far-right, think one of the most shameful events in America’s history is just another example of “fake news?” 

I guess he missed the videos of thugs smashing windows and doors, running through the Capitol corridors and chambers with weapons, ransacking lawmakers’ desks and trashing offices. Some police officers posed for selfies with these criminals!

The Wyoming GOP invited Charlie Kirk, president of the ultra-conservative Turning Point USA, to speak at the state party’s convention last year. Kirk promised that Trump would easily win a second term against “Sleepy Joe” Biden and even proclaimed he’ll occupy the White House far more than eight years.

Perhaps Eathorne should ask the leader of the Proud Boys to address the next convention. Heck, why not book Angeli, the furry-horned activist who stole the show at the riot by posing for photos behind Vice President Mike Pence’s desk, his face painted red, white and blue? He calls himself the “QAnon Shaman.”

Eathorne can pretend he’s blind to the violence in D.C., and deaf to Trump’s role in it. 

But Mr. Chairman, don’t insult our intelligence by claiming Trump was preaching about “peace and love.” Neither were anywhere in sight at the Capitol rampage. 

If you can’t understand that, maybe rational members of your party — the ones you always disparage as RINOS [Republicans in Name Only] — should teach you that lesson by peacefully dethroning you at the next state GOP election of officers.

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Kerry Drake

Veteran Wyoming journalist Kerry Drake has covered Wyoming for more than four decades, previously as a reporter and editor for the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle and Casper Star-Tribune. He lives in Cheyenne and...

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  1. A thought question:

    Suppose all the police and military buildup around the capitol, in anticipation of another fascist riot is really a big con by trump, wherein the military and police side with the fascists, and install trump as dictator?

    What will life here be like on Thursday morning?

    1. Hopefully and fortunately for us Donald Trump does not understand that in order to do what he wants to do, President for another term, if not for life, he has to surround himself with powerful and effective people. He missed that because of his own selfishness. Instead, save Pompeo, he chose a bunch of ineffective toadies.

  2. great journalism, clear and on point, thank you.
    mark twain said it best more than a century ago, “it ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

    shortly after she was safely escorted out of the violence to safety, C. Lummis reportedly told a reporter, “. . . . . i feel like other forces like Antifa were advocating violence”
    misinformation talking point, check

    interesting how our tiny state (population) has become a case study for the future of the republican party, 3 scenarios, well 2 and half,
    Liz C. at least did the honorable move, she’s in a fight for hearts and minds of a true conservative agenda and the future of a traditional republican party. i guess too bad she didn’t have her dad’s team and could activate Jim B. to sort it out again. their time is now to try and push T out now and regroup later.
    Cynthia L. hitched her wagon to Cruz + Co. a T wanna be and one who hopes he can inherit the mob, a hanger on who exhibits a combination stockholm syndrome / battered wife syndrome and based on his memory lapse and latest flip flop of the last four years is now back to just lying Ted. Actions have consequences and too bad this was Cynthia’s first move. i would suggest that any insurrection demonstrations in our great state will have been enabled by our junior senator.
    Jim B. not sure let’s ask Mitch M. and then we’ll know what Jim’s agenda is.

    lets remember that it was so long ago that Wyoming was a blue state. we must come together and may i suggest we exhibit empathy for the republicans and their journey to find their soul, their platform and their agenda. lets be honest, realistically the difference between a traditional republican and a democrat is not really that wide. of course there are core issues to each but there are ways to work together and get things done, we must return to that. the problem now is there are 3 separate parties; democrats, traditional republicans and trumplicans. traditional republicans has some fine team members, in past we have even voted for some of them. currently they are just lost, no clear direction, no clear voice. trumplicans on the other hand are a whole different party altogether and one build on division, this has to stop.

    i am most proud of America in the last election, the result aside for a moment, we finally showed up, more voters than anytime in our history. most countries in the world strive to have free and fair elections and for way too long we have been apathetic toward our most basic constitutional rights. very well done to us. the election obviously was complicated because a major global pandemic and states did as they saw fit to make sure their voters has every opportunity to cast legal and fair votes. the election was certified by both republicans and democrats in charge of their state elections and despite 60+ law suits that were filed by trumplicans and thrown out of courts including the supreme court, trumplicans continue to use the word fraud in the media but i believe in the court room that word has never been uttered. so Cynthia L. where is the fraud or you just have a problem with a sovereign state implementing their own requirements?

    i have lived in cities where there have been mass demonstrations, vandalism and burning of neighborhoods. i am most lucky that i have never known the type of desperation where your only last resort expression is to burn down your own house and neighborhood, i have seen it in person and in the media many times and i still don’t understand it, but i’m trying to. comparisons have been made between black lives matter demonstrations that devolved into chaos and the insurrection attach on our Nations Capital as similar events. lets be clear, they are not. you can burn down your own house but you can’t burn down my house, the nations capital and it belongs to all of us.

    T is the train wreck that we must turn away from, yes he has enraged all of us on both sides, but we must move beyond him and turn down the volume to inside voice. we are infinitely more alike than different. we should endeavor to tune out of mainstream media, both sides. the media businesses have made more money than anytime in their histories accelerating and amplifying the divide, they are businesses. cut the cord, vote with your brain, your time and your wallet.

    now is the time for team blue to drive the bus. we need to take the high road and lead by example, hold our public servants to a higher standard and expect more from ourselves. there is so much to do and America is so far behind in so many aspects. we must be able to look in the mirror everyday and know that we all doing the best we can for our country. i am baffled at what the republican enablers see in their reflection, how far they have fallen to rationalize and give a pass to an administration that was built on lies and misinformation with so many shocking transgressions and who has refused to concede defeat up to the point of insurrection and soon will be exiting stage right. additionally i find the appearance of the confederate flag in our state deeply offensive and not representative of our values and heritage. this trumplican symbol should be shunned.

    anything incorrect? i welcome you comments.

    go Joe Pro

  3. Great article, thanks! It is important to see the motivation and outcome by Wyoming voters and the GOP. The promotion of negligence by the Trump Administration in a pandemic with 380,000 deaths and the attack on the US Constitution and Congress crosses a simple line. Time to return to the basics. Name calling is not needed. GOP= Sons of Perdition
    Cain will be called Perdition.

  4. Dear Mr. Drake,
    I appreciate your article. I don’t know what to believe about extreme, far right ideas or ideals. In your research, have you heard of people who have donated to Trump’s campaign (in Utah, or anywhere) that will be sent to concentration camps if Biden is inaugurated? Rereading what I just typed appears ridiculous, but I know intelligent people who believe it. One individual, with a Master’s in Psychology, thinks he has a target on his back. I’m very interested to learn what you know about this paranoid “fact”. Thank you.

    1. Intelligence must, i my opinion, be accompanied by a firm grasp on reality to be of much use, but that is not always the case. I have known plenty of so-called genius-level people (according to ridiculous, essentially meaningless, standardized tests) who apparently prefer to live in dream worlds. I have also known many so-called average-intelligence people, with no letters following their names, who are extremely knowledgeable, learned, and competent, in fields supposedly beyond them, who are rational and down-to earth in their realistic reasoning regarding the world we live in. I have also learned the hard way to beware of shrinks and psychologists in general, particularly the latter. To me, most of them might best be classified with what used to be called witch doctors.

  5. I’ll stand by Rep Cheney and give Borrasso a reluctant pass but Lummis is guilty of Sedition and I will see her unseated for it. This Toxic Libertarian Individualism is hurting this country and they DARE call moderate Republicans RINOS. They are a dangerous, radical Cult in Wyoming all on their own. tRump just gave them the chance to jump the claim. Terrorists – Homegrown.

    1. I certainly agree with your position on Sen. Lummis, but I beg you to be careful with that “Libertarian” word. Libertarianism is a political philosophy born of classical liberalism that is unaffiliated with neither Republicanism nor the far-right. In the course of the turmoil of the last few years, Libertarians have oft been lumped in with these, due in part to far-right’s adoption of the Gadsen flag (in the past a Libertarian symbol).

      Once described as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, Libertarians have been othered as “facist” by the left and “socialist” by the right out of a general confusion of what we believe. The truth is that principled Libertarians are neither right nor left, but are opposed to authoritarianism in all its forms and spheres, preferring equality, freedom, and free-market economics as the most efficient and equitable solutions to most problems.

      Condemn authoritarianism and extremism, by all means. I’ll stand with you. But blame the party that is at fault: Republicans.

  6. Attack, attack, attack.

    The Left attacks the Right and the Right attacks the Left. It’s the ultimate in an Us vs. Them power grab that has ultimately become the politics of today.

    Each side is so damn sure they’re right and the other side is not only wrong, but also *evil*.

    It’s a sad state of affairs in which we find ourselves.

    Our “empire” will fall any day now because of our division.

    I hope you’re all satisfied.

  7. Sen. Lummis was merely engaged in some sniveling and pandering to the MAGAbillies, showing what kind of senator she will be for the next six years. Liz Cheney, with whom I disagree about almost everything else, showed a little class (and also positioned herself for leadership in the post-Trump Republican Party) by taking a principled stand. If one looks at the ordinary public Facebook boards from Wyoming, like Oil City News and KTWO radio it is clear what Senator Lummis is afraid of. The degraded Trump cult is still a loud and obnoxious faction in Wyoming, and will be for a while to come.

    1. Nailed it Mike. We need to push for these Seditionists to be Federally charged by Merrick Garland. Soon too,

  8. Comparing last summer with the attack on the Capitol is akin to comparing a mouse to an elephant. This goes beyond politics. Never in my life did I expect to see fellow citizens trying to take down the government by violent actions filled with raw hate.
    Such a sad day will be remembered in history.

  9. I applaud Senator Lummis for wanting to take the time to determine if there was indeed electoral fraud. Challenging the presidential electoral votes has been done by Democrats every time a Republican has been elected as President and she was within her rights as our duly elected Senator to support calls for electoral integrity.
    BLM and Antifa protesters literally TORCHED Washington DC this past summer but that riot, seditious behavior was called a “mostly peaceful protest,” as were many other destructive rots in other cities.
    How does anyone explain how Trump could hold huge rallies throughout the nation with no violence or riots? Our current President did not call for violence so that is a lie. Of course, liberals think anytime he opens his mouth he should be impeached.

    1. Thank you Connie. I believe this to be the case. The earlier destructive “peaceful” protests by BLM and Antica were condoned . How can this be? As Americans we must put aside all hate and differences and unite lest we become a fallen nation,

  10. Drake,
    Not sure why you are living in Wyoming. There are great places to live for folks of your mindset. California or DC where Biden got over 90% of the vote. Its a bit swampish and not America but more aligns with your column.
    All the best,
    Ken B

    1. Yessir, by god! “Love It or Leave It,” the cry of the borderline, backward west! Why not try living in the 21st Century? It’s not perfect, not by a long shot, but it’s where most of the rest of the world is, including the part of the world that feeds people like you.

        1. In case you didn’t know, the declaration is NOT a legal document. By the way, have you read it all the way through?

    2. Yep.

      WyoFile’s choice, and much of the liberal media, to use the word “insurrection” here but never when BLM protestors run amok is telling. I would apply the word to both groups. Really, it wasn’t anything more than an angry mob acting out with little chance changing anything. The real mob, doing real damage to the nation’s future is almost always on the inside of the U.S. Capitol. This is just a minor footnote in the long history of our nation.

      /ˌinsəˈrekSH(ə)n/
      noun
      a violent uprising against an authority or government.

  11. I found this article to be extremely opinionated from a liberal view. Anyone can interpret words and turn them into political satire against one thing or another. I see no value in all the negative comments regarding the Wyoming politicians who have their 1st Amendment rights too. It was more of a way to throw slanderous remarks to hurt them politically in an effort to try to silence them. I would throw this article in the trash!

  12. What a bunch of political Manusia was spilled out of the Cowboy Daily by the owners and her publisher, if I’m not mistaken. She left out some actions before her oath. First, she signed Wyoming Senator Bitemans letter and 32 other Representatives to join a coalition with Senator Cruz of Texas to address voter Fraud. That was when Georgia was a scorching issue. She was Sworn in on the 2nd of January. Under oath, she stated she would defend the Constitution again; however, she also has taken several oaths as Representative of Wyoming, Secretary of state, Congressional oaths for four terms, and finally, a Senator Oath. With all this service and political know-how, a voter would think she’d know to avoid Senator Biteman’s letter, the governor did, Representative Cheney did, and Senator Barrasso waited for Mitch Mc Connell did so John was a walk on.
    What she did not count on was her champion and hero threw her and 132 other Congressional—leadership under the bus, which crashed head-on with the 14th Amendment, section 3.
    Here remarks remind me of President Nixon stating he was not a Crook, only to resign, for he was caught on tap. Well, Mrs. Lummis, a Letter from Senator Biteman and backing Ted Cruz plans for voter Fraud, along with another State, is your first downfall, and insurrection is your third downfall; it seems no one even knows if did you attend that rally on that Day? Why not just resign as Nixon did for you are now on a real slippery slope. I hope you have some moral courage and character to admit this Special Seat deserves someone who will truly defend the Constitution.

  13. In Cynthia Lummis’s first speech on the US Senate floor, she yet again showed an inability for individual thought and decision making as confirmed by her stance denouncing the Pennsylvania election. Lummis could not possibly have intimate material knowledge of the election process or of State Republican led, approved and court rejected challenges to changes to the Pennsylvania election process. We need people in Congress who understand civics, respect the United States Constitution and who have enough intelligence and integrity to not join frivolous and seditious acts. Lummis’s next act should be to resign, we do not need her ignorance representing Wyoming.

  14. Another great column Kerry. As a reluctant constituent of all three, I applaud Rep Cheney, am glad Sen Barrasso finally found a tiny bit of sense, and think Sen. Lummis should resign.

  15. Thank you for your voice for speaking out the truth. As to the person asking where were you during protests this summer, I say that most of the protests against killings of unarmed blacks were peaceful. Arrests were made when protesters turned to violence. This is about calling out President Trump, Senator Lummis and Chairman Eathorne and their taking responsibility.

  16. I object to Mr. Drake’s use of the word “riot” to describe the the events of January 6. This was not a riot or a protest, but insurrection, an act of sedition. Those responsible, including the president, should be held accountable.

    As for Senator Lummis, after taking an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States, her first official act as senator was to violate that oath. According to the 14th Amendment, Section 3 of the fore mention Constitution, she should be expelled from the U.S. Senate.

    Thank you to Rep. Cheney and Sen. Barrasso for honoring their oath of office and our Constitution.

  17. Wyoming is the Equality State, the first to recognize women’s right to vote. It is deeply disturbing that the first woman we ever elected Senator used her first week on the job to disenfranchise another State’s voters. Also disturbing that the leader of Wyoming’s dominant political party supports and provides cover for a hateful white supremist. These two, in particular, are the wrong leaders for Wyoming. But they are not alone. We all need to do some soul searching. Wyoming can and must change for the better.

    1. What I cannot understand is why the state, knowing that Lummis was a failure in the House of Representatives, elected her to the U.S. Senate. It’s simply mind boggling!

  18. Kerry, the riots in the Capitol were wrong. So were the Riots during the summer. Where were you then?

    1. Ah, the “What about …” response — the refuge of a person who has no defense to the charge at hand. The equivalent of, “I got nothing, so let’s change the subject.” Please defend Sen. Lummis and Mr. Eathorne.

      1. Ah the double “what about, what about” response when you do not like to be reminded the left stood by silently last summer with their hands in their pockets while rioters looted stores – condoned as “reparations by many liberals – held so called “peaceful” (but fiery) protests while businesses burned in the background, attacked Federal facilities in several locations, injured numerous law enforcement officers. Nobody on left including Biden and Harris seemed to have any interest in stopping the riots/looting.

        Do not get me wrong, I’m appalled and embarrassed by what happened in Washington, just like I was appalled by those who rioted and looted all summer long. I’m not a Trump fan either so need to attack me for that. I’m just disappointed this is where our leaders have led us – on all sides of the political spectrum.

        What we really need is our leaders, including elected School Board Members, to step above the fray and be the leaders they promised to be when elected. It’s easy to throw stones, it’s much harder to be a leader.

        1. Ah, the triple “what about, what about, what about.” Too bad you are not appalled by the murder of black people by the police for no reason at all other than just being black.

          I do not know what ethical vacuum you inhabit, but here is a tip: murder is worse than property destruction.

          1. Amen! Ya gotta remember many people get their nooze from Breitbart and its look-alikes. And then, they expect me to respect their view…fat chance.

    1. Wyoming voters could have voted for an intelligent woman. Like an old Wendys commercial, they chose the lesser. The same goes for the Governor and the other two silver spoon trumpkins. I never thought Wyoming politics could be worse than Georgia. Shameful.