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PIERS MORGAN: Trump must be held to account - but Biden must stop the insane witchhunt

America is a tinderbox.

A smouldering, snarling, hyper-partisan, violent tinderbox.

And decisions taken in the next few days and weeks will determine whether that tinderbox explodes or not – now or some place down the road.

I've lived and worked in the United States on and off for 15 years.

It's a country I've grown to love as a second home.

But right now, I've never been more worried for its future.

Three events in the past year have led to this breaking point: the coronavirus pandemic, George Floyd's killing, and Donald Trump's refusal to accept the result of the 2020 Election.

Americans are now fearful, for both their health and prosperity, mournful for all those lost to COVID-19, resentful and distrusting of their Government, and, increasingly, at dangerously enraged loggerheads with each other.

The appalling riots at the US Capitol last week represented the moment all the toxic tribalism fuelled by Trump erupted in a direct attack on the very heart of US democracy.

The more we learn of what went on that day, the worst it gets.

A police officer dragged into a frenzied mob where he was murdered.

A Nazi sympathiser with 'Camp Auschwitz' emblazoned on his T-shirt.

Armed thugs chanting 'HANG MIKE PENCE!' and building gallows and nooses to do just that.

Donald Trump deserved to be impeached by the House of Representatives because he must be held properly accountable for the shameful way that he tried to break the very foundations of American democracy since legitimately losing the election in November

Joe Biden must reach out next Wednesday to the pro-Trumpers and remind them that the United States of America has always been at its strongest when it's united, and that he will be their president as much as for his own supporters

By falsely claiming he was 'robbed' of victory due to supposed widespread fraud for which he never produced any evidence, Trump whipped his supporters into a terrifying lather of fury. And when he told them to march down to the Capitol building, 'be strong' and 'STOP THE STEAL!' that's exactly what they did, in a terrifying manner

The words 'murder the media' daubed on walls, all the more sinister in their meaning when it emerged that numerous journalists were threatened, assaulted and had their camera equipment destroyed.

Young female members of Congress like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaking of their terror as they genuinely feared they were doing to die.

It was a day of national shame for America and the buck stops firmly at the top.

Trump deserved to be impeached by the House of Representatives because he must be held properly accountable for the shameful way that he tried to break the very foundations of American democracy since legitimately losing the election in November.

By falsely claiming he was 'robbed' of victory due to supposed widespread fraud for which he never produced any evidence, Trump whipped his supporters into a terrifying lather of fury. And when he told them to march down to the Capitol building, 'be strong' and 'STOP THE STEAL!' that's exactly what they did, in a terrifying manner.

They did it because they believed Trump.

Many of them still believe Trump - and believe IN Trump.

And therein lies the biggest problem for America and incoming president, Joe Biden: what the hell do you do about Trump and the 75 million people who voted for him that doesn't just serve to inflame an already horrendously unstable situation?

I don't have an easy answer because there isn't one.

But I do know that much of what we're currently witnessing is only going to pour gasoline onto the fire.

Trump loves to talk about an ongoing 'witchhunt' against him, dating back to the last time he was impeached over alleged Russian collusion that never happened.

He was right to feel aggrieved then, but he's not right to feel aggrieved now.

That's why senior Republicans like Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell have indicated they're in favour of Trump being impeached, and why there is a very real chance he will now be convicted when his trial comes to the Senate chamber.

Let's be frank: he should be.

And those Republicans wary of doing themselves political harm if they vote for it, or who say they're concerned about violent retribution, need to grow a pair and put the interests of the country before their own self-interest.

If a President can't be successfully impeached for inciting a deadly riot inside the Capitol building to stop a fair democratic election result being ratified, then when can they?

However, there's another undeniable witchhunt going on right now against anyone who supported Trump or who worked for him, and it's a very dangerous and unnecessary one.

Social media giants like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Amazon and Apple have all raced to use the riots to silence not just Trump himself but also tens of thousands of his followers and entire platforms like Parler.

The Great anti-Trump Purge, as historians will doubtless one day call it, extends to anyone who worked for the President.

The Great anti-Trump Purge, as historians will doubtless one day call it, extends to anyone who worked for the President. Randall Lane, the chief content officer for Forbes magazine, published an op-ed in which he ranted: 'Hire any of Trump's fellow fabulists above, and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie'. He named former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (left) and current press secretary Kayleigh McEnany (right) by name

Randall Lane also warned the business world against hiring former counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway and former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer

Randall Lane, the chief content officer for Forbes magazine, published an op-ed in which he ranted: 'As American democracy rebounds, we need to return to a standard of truth when it comes to how the government communicates with the governed. The easiest way to do that, from where I sit, is to create repercussions for those who don't follow the civic norms. Let it be known to the business world: Hire any of Trump's fellow fabulists above, and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie.'

He cited a number of well-known Trump administration employees by name including Kayleigh McEnany, Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Sean Spicer and Stephanie Grisham.

'This isn't cancel culture,' he insisted.

But of course, it is, and it's a very sinister over-reaction that will make things worse not better.

Ironically, Randall was reprimanded by his own boss Steve Forbes, the head of Forbes media, who retorted: 'This is reminiscent of what we had in the 1950s during the McCarthy era. People were denied work because of their political beliefs...we're not going to have blacklists and the like.'

Yet that's exactly what IS happening.

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling revealed he has had his personal insurance policies cancelled by his insurer AIG.

Why? Schilling says it's because he tweeted during the Capitol riots: 'You cowards sat on your hands, did nothing while liberal trash looted rioted and burned for air Jordan's and big screens, sit back, stfu, and watch folks start a confrontation for shit that matters like rights, democracy and the end of govt corruption. #itshappening.'

These were obviously deeply inflammatory words, but there are many millions of Americans who share Schilling's view that there has been a Democrat double standard at play over mob violence – do and say nothing when it happens during a Black Lives Matter protest but go berserk when it happens during a Trump protest.

If it's true that his insurers cancelled his policy because he expressed an opinion that many others have, then that would constitute a chilling attack on freedom of speech.

Biden must reach out next Wednesday to the pro-Trumpers and remind them that the United States of America has always been at its strongest when it's united, and that he will be their president as much as for his own supporters. Pictured: Pro-Trump protesters at the U.S. Capitol

Biden must find an inclusive rhetoric for those who hate him, not an alienating or antagonistic one. If he gets his tone right and is supported by senior Republicans in a genuinely bi-partisan way, there is a chance that America can start to heal and come together again. But if Biden gets it wrong, I fear the tinderbox will explode in a way that makes last week's Capitol riots seem like a Boston tea party

And if all Trump supporters now get treated as criminals, what on earth will that achieve but yet more rage and division?

Joe Biden has to stop this nonsense, and he can go a long way to achieving this in his inauguration speech next week.

Tempting though it may be to jump all over Trump's political grave as the whole world's watching, Biden should remember that his own presidency will be bedevilled by the very same tribal problems if he doesn't act fast to reconcile a deeply fractured nation (and let's not forget that the Democrats are also deeply divided themselves over many issues).

Biden must reach out next Wednesday to the pro-Trumpers and remind them that the United States of America has always been at its strongest when it's united, and that he will be their president as much as for his own supporters.

He must lower the feverish temperature of the astonishingly divisive debate and urge his own side to stop the absurdly vindictive charge to cancel all things Trump. And indeed, to stop the equally vindictive and self-defeating charge to cancel anything else the hard-left 'woke' brigade don't like.

Above all, he must find an inclusive rhetoric for those who hate him, not an alienating or antagonistic one – just as Nelson Mandela did after becoming the first black President of race-charged South Africa.

If Biden gets his tone right and is supported by senior Republicans in a genuinely bi-partisan way, there is a chance that America can start to heal and come together again.

But if Biden gets it wrong, I fear the tinderbox will explode in a way that makes last week's Capitol riots seem like a Boston tea party. 

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