An essay published on Wednesday in the Nation calls for Kamala Harris to avoid attending the presidential inauguration on January 20 so as to spare her life in the event of an “armed attack by a rabble of white people” aided by law enforcement compromised by “Trump sympathizers” and “white supremacists” within their ranks.
The essay, penned by the magazine’s justice correspondent Elie Mystal, is titled “I No Longer Trust Law Enforcement to Keep Biden and Harris Safe on Inauguration Day” with a caption reading “The siege of the Capitol revealed what most Black people already knew: Law enforcement is in league with Trumpism.”
The author describes how Joe Biden’s inauguration will and must take place “on an open-air platform erected just outside the Capitol in Washington, D.C.”
“No matter how many threats Biden receives from Trump supporters and their enablers in Congress and the current administration, he will be inaugurated on that platform for everybody to see,” Mystal writes, adding that it will serve as a statement “to white seditionists like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley” as well as governments worldwide, that the U.S. “cannot be intimidated by violence.”
Though Biden “has to be inaugurated on that stage——no matter how manifestly unsafe” the conditions may be, Harris is urged to avoid it entirely.
“Biden has to be there, but Kamala Harris does not,” Mystal writes. “The principle of protecting the continuity of the government suggests that Harris and [Nancy] Pelosi, who are respectively the first and second in line to assume the presidency should something happen to Biden, must be shielded at all costs during Biden’s big day.”
Claiming that Harris, the first woman elected as vice president and first black person to hold the post, deserves both “to be up on that stage every bit as much as Biden” as well as “all the pomp and circumstance of her own inauguration,” the essay claims that ensuring her safety takes precedence.
“Even more than a celebration, we deserve Harris alive,” Mystal writes. “And we deserve a government that can continue to function in the face of a white-supremacist attack.”
The essay continues by suggesting that the real danger the inauguration faces is due to potential “inside help” from Trump sympathizers within law enforcement, noting as a fact that “the people who stormed the Capitol clearly benefited from inside help—or at least from permissiveness from members of the Capitol Police.”
“I don’t think the MAGA crowd can overcome the United States paramilitary apparatus that is set to be deployed to defend our government,” Mystal states. “I don’t think law enforcement can be overpowered in a repeat of its January 6 failures—unless, that is, its members want to be overpowered.”
However, the essay continues, it would be impossible to oust all the “Trump sympathizers” and “white supremacists” from all the numerous law enforcement agencies in time for the inauguration.
“Whether the department suspends two or 200 more officers, there is zero chance we will have rooted out all the Trump sympathizers within the Capitol Police by the time of the inauguration,” Mystal writes. “Nor will we have found all the violent white supremacists currently embedded in the National Guard. Or working for the Secret Service.”
“We might never catch all of the law enforcement personnel who breached the Capitol,” Mystal adds. “We certainly won’t catch all the law enforcement personnel who stayed outside but cheered them on.”
The essay then seeks to prove the assertion that law enforcement is, in great part, aligned with white supremacist forces.
“We know, at the very least, that many in law enforcement sympathize with Trump because their unions almost universally endorsed him,” Mystal asserts without any reference to the Black Lives Matters riots that endangered police lives and saw them abandoned by Democrats nationally.
“Most people reacted to the police union endorsement of Trump as mere politics, but Black people have been trying to tell the rest of you for years that the police are aligned with white supremacist forces in this country,” Mystal writes. “They’re the same damn forces that change hats or hoods as needed but never change their underlying belief in white supremacy.”
After accusations against members of law enforcement in general and those responsible for protecting the inauguration and Harris’s safety in particular, including the Capitol Police, National Guard and Secret Service, the essay then turns to accusations against “most” white people.
“Most white people never treat white supremacy as the national security threat that it is. Instead, they allow these officers to keep their jobs and guns, even as they openly threaten elected officials—and, oh yeah, Black people,” Mystal writes.
Subsequently, “white people” are then accused of threatening the safety of all others.
“None of us are safe—not Black and brown people, not Muslims, Jews, immigrants, not even our most powerful politicians—because white people have allowed white supremacists to infect law enforcement at every level,” Mystal charges.
The essay notably emphasizes the threats specifically to non-white Congress members.
“Nobody knows if people of color in Congress are safe from their own law enforcement,” Mystal writes.
Noting that Biden is taking extra precautions, the essay focuses entirely on the safety of Harris.
“Biden is taking what precautions he can,” Mystal writes. “It’s a wise move, but how in the hell does that help Harris?”
Even Harris’s own security detail is suspected of potentially posing a threat to her.
“Who is watching Harris’s back? And what have they been posting on burner social media accounts for the past five years?” Mystal asks.
“Right now, the only people I truly trust to protect Harris are her husband, Doug Emhoff, and Karine Jean-Pierre, who has already put her body between Harris and a white man amped up on privilege,” he explains.
The essay then declares law enforcement as “compromised” and not necessarily committed to defending government leaders.
“Law enforcement is spoiled. It is compromised,” writes Mystal. “I do not question its capability to defend the government from armed attack by a rabble of white people—I question its commitment to do so.”
The solution, the essay proposes, is to prevent Harris from attending.
“And so, it is safer to separate the leaders of our government from each other on Inauguration Day in the hope that their protectors’ commitment is never really tested.”
The author concludes by placing the blame for the need for such protection on “racist cops,” something “white people” have yet to grasp.
“If we protected Black people from racist cops on the street, we wouldn’t have to worry about protecting presidents from their own Secret Service details,” Mystal concludes. “Maybe now, white people will get that.”
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.