WASHINGTON – The three repulsive architects of Wednesday's heartbreaking spectacle – mobs desecrating the Republic's noblest building and preventing the completion of a constitutional process – must be named, and forevermore shunned.
They are Donald Trump and senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz.
Trump lit the fuse for the riot before the election, with his successful effort to delegitimize the election in the eyes of his supporters. But Wednesday's explosion required the help of Hawley, R-Mo., and Cruz, R-Tex.
Hawley announced his intention to object to the certification of some states' electoral votes, for no better reason than that there has been an avalanche of "allegations" of election irregularities, allegations fomented by the loser of the election.
By doing so, Hawley turned what should have been a perfunctory episode in our civic liturgy of post-election civility into a synthetic drama. He turned this moment into the focus of the hitherto unfocused fury that Trump had been stoking for many .
And Cruz, by organizing support for Hawley among other Republican senators and senators-elect gave Hawley's grotesque self-promotion an ersatz cloak of larger purpose. Shortly before the mob breached the Senate chamber, Cruz stood on the Senate floor.
With his characteristic unctuousness, he regretted the existence of what he and kindred spirits have not only done nothing to refute but have themselves nurtured – a pandemic of suspicions that the election was "rigged."
"I want to take a moment to speak to my Democratic colleagues," Cruz said. "I understand your guy is winning right now."
Read those weasel-like words again. He was not speaking to his "colleagues."
He was speaking to the kind of people who were at that instant assaulting the Capitol. He was nurturing the very delusions that soon would cause louts to be roaming the Senate chamber – the fantasy that Joe Biden has not won the election but is only winning "right now."
The Trump-Hawley-Cruz insurrection against constitutional government will be an indelible stain on the nation. They, however, will not be so permanent.
In two weeks, one of them will be removed from office by the constitutional processes he neither fathoms nor favors. It will take longer to scrub the other two from public life.
Until that hygienic outcome is accomplished, from this day forward, everything they say or do or advocate should be disregarded as patent attempts to distract attention from the lurid fact of what they have become.
Each will wear a scarlet "S" as a seditionist.
George Will's email address is email@example.com.