Any acts of sedition must be put down with as much force as necessary. This nation is known for its peaceful elections and transitions. Mobs must not be allowed to disrupt the workings of the republic by storming the edifices of democracy. Those political allies of Trump who have strongly condemned this violence — Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, for example — should be encouraged to continue doing so. Meanwhile, it is a disgrace that Trump was so slow and so weak in denouncing the violence and used his statement to repeat his canard about the election being stolen. Joe Biden’s statement condemning events at the Capitol and calling for peace was, by contrast, dignified, statesmanlike, and ringingly clear.

There is a majesty to self-government, but there is no majesty in the depravity of a mob. Arrests and convictions are warranted in response. But that is not all. A massive apology should come from Trump, not that it can be expected. After encouraging violence among his supporters many times, including when he infamously told a rally in 2016 that he would “pay the legal fees” of anyone who would “knock the crap out of” a protester, he has spent the last two months spreading unfounded conspiracy theories about the election and urging his supporters to “get tougher.” He repeatedly incited rallygoers on Wednesday to “walk down Pennsylvania Avenue” to the U.S. Capitol, to “not take it any longer,” and to “never concede.”