Trump rewrites the history of the January 6 riot

(Washington) Republican Donald Trump launched his election campaign not only by rewriting the history of the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, but also by positioning the violent siege and his failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election as the cornerstone of his attempt to return to the White House.

At a weekend rally in Ohio, his first as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mr. Trump took the stage with his hand raised in greeting at the edge of his seat. red MAGA cap, while a recorded chorus of prisoners incarcerated for their role in the January 6 attack sang the national anthem.

A presenter asked the crowd to stand “for the January 6 hostages who were treated horribly and unfairly.” People stood up and sang the national anthem.

“They were incredible patriots,” Mr. Trump said at the end of the recording.

After promising to pardon the rioters, he promised to help them “from the first day of our mandate”.

Initially relegated to a fringe theory of the Republican Party, the revisionist history of January 6, which Mr. Trump amplified during the early days of the GOP primary campaign to mobilize his most devoted voters, remains a centerpiece of its rallies, even if it must appeal more widely to the general election public.

In praising the rioters, Mr. Trump denies responsibility for his own role in the bloody siege and asks voters to absolve hundreds of them ― and himself ― of the deadliest attack on a seat of American power for 200 years.

At the same time, Mr. Trump’s allies are installing 2020 election deniers within the Republican National Committee, further institutionalizing the lies that sparked the violence. This warns that next year Congress will again be called upon to certify the vote.

And they are not alone. Congressional Republicans have embarked on a new investigation into the January 6, 2021, attack that aims to protect Mr. Trump from any wrongdoing, while lawmakers offer divergent theories about why thousands of his supporters descended on the Capitol in what became a brutal scene of hand-to-hand combat with police.

Five people died during the riot and its aftermath.

Overall, this is what scholars of authoritarian regimes consider a classic case of so-called consolidation, that is, the transformation of the state apparatus around a singular figure, in this case Mr. Trump.

Jason Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale, explains that in history, the question comes up again and again: How could people not take an authoritarian leader at his word about what was going to happen?

“Listen to Trump,” he said.

“When a coup against a democratic regime occurs and it is not punished, it is a very strong indicator of the end of the rule of law and the victory of this authoritarian movement,” said Mr. Stanley, author of “How Fascism Works.”

“Americans have a hard time understanding that what is happening in most countries in the world can also happen here,” he added.

Mr. Trump has been the subject of a four-pronged federal indictment since January 6: he is accused of conspiring to defraud Americans out of his 2020 election defeat and of obstructing the official congressional procedure to certify the vote in favor of Joe Biden. As the Supreme Court considers Mr. Trump’s argument that he should be granted immunity, it is unclear when the case will go to trial, raising the possibility that it will not be resolved until after the ‘election.

On January 6, the House of Representatives’ original investigative committee concluded that Mr. Trump criminally engaged in a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn the legal results of the 2020 presidential election and that he had failed to act to prevent his supporters from attacking the Capitol and beating the police.

More than 1,200 people have been charged in connection with the riot, including far-right extremists the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, and hundreds of them have been convicted. Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and attorney John Eastman are facing legal challenges over their work on the 2020 election.

Mr. Trump’s campaign, in response to an inquiry from The Associated Press, highlighted the work of House investigators trying to expose inconsistencies in the special committee’s investigation and its lead witness, Cassidy. Hutchinson, a former collaborator who had a front-row seat to observe the workings of the White House.

Mr. Trump’s national press secretary, Karoline Leavitt, said the Justice Department spent more time pursuing the former president and “targeting Americans who were peacefully protesting on January 6” than others. criminals.

“President Trump will restore justice to all Americans who have been unfairly treated,” she said.

Even as Republicans privately worry that Mr. Trump risks turning away the women and independent voters he would need in a general election rematch against Mr. Biden, senior aides have admitted that he There wasn’t much to do because Mr. Trump was going to be Mr. Trump.

Over the weekend, Mr. Trump focused his attention on Liz Cheney, the former Republican congresswoman who was vice chair of the inquiry and who personally obtained Hutchinson in 2022.

“She should go to jail with the rest of the non-selection committee!” “, Mr. Trump posted on social networks.

Mme Cheney responded with a message ― “Hello Donald: You know these are lies” ― as she worked to dispel falsehoods about January 6.

“If your response to Trump’s attack on our democracy is to lie and cover up what he did, attack the brave men and women who revealed the truth, and defend the criminals who violently attacked the Capitol, she said in a message, you have to ask yourself whose side you are on. Hint: it’s not America’s. »

Many Republicans are deliberately ignoring the issue, particularly in Congress, although lawmakers ran for cover when rioters stormed the Senate chamber and ransacked Capitol offices. .

Senators who strongly criticized Mr. Trump after the January 6 attack, such as Republican Party leader Mitch McConnell and John Thune (South Dakota), the number two Republican in the Senate, have now reluctantly supported him.

Others still refuse to support Mr. Trump, including Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, who voted to convict Mr. Trump in his second impeachment for inciting insurrection in connection with the attack of January 6. But the recalcitrants are in the minority.

One Republican ready to speak is Mike Pence, the former vice president, whom rioters shouted wanted to “hang” that day, as a makeshift gallows stood on the west front of the Capitol.

“I was there on January 6. There is no doubt in my mind (…) that some people got carried away by the moment,” Mr. Pence said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“But the attacks on the police officers, which ultimately cost people their lives, were something tragic that day. And I will never minimize them. »


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