Republican senators spared Donald Trump a conviction for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
Will history exonerate Trump?
Next month marks one year since the Jan. 6 Capitol Riot, when incensed Trump fanatics attacked the United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C., attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
For months leading up to the attack, Trump spread what has become known as “the big lie,” that he was cheated out of reelection, a claim for which no evidence was ever produced. Even a partisan election audit in Arizona confirmed Joe Biden’s victory.
Trump began sowing seeds of doubt about the election as early as July 2020, tweeting, “It will be a great embarrassment to the USA.”
The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, called the 2020 presidential election the “most secure in American history.”
Following the results, Trump and his aides wasted no time in spreading their unfounded claims of fraud and riling up their base, which culminated in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
As swift as Trump with his bogus claims, Trump-apologists began their mission to rewrite history about what happened during the unprecedented attack.
Revisionists have claimed that the rioters were not Trump supporters, but members of “Antifa” and “Black Lives Matter,” another claim for which there is no evidence. The most egregious revisionists, such as Republican Representative Andrew Clyde, dismiss the attack as a “normal tourist visit.”
Rioters sprayed Capitol police with pepper spray and fire extinguishers. They attacked police with bats and flag poles. They smashed windows and broke into the Capitol building, waving Confederate flags, chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” with gallows waiting outside.
Defendants standing trial for their role in the Capitol attack testified that they were following the former-president’s orders.
“Fight like hell,” Trump told the crowd at his “Stop the Steal” rally, the morning of the Jan. 6 attack.
The defense attorney for Proud Boys member Dominic Pezzola, accused of smashing a Capitol building window, told Reuters, “The logical thinking was, ‘He invited us down,’” referring to Trump, “the boss of the country.”
Trump told the Proud Boys, a violent far-right extremist group, to “stand back and stand by” during a debate in September before the election.
Four participants died during the riot, including Ashli Babbitt, a Qanon conspiracy theorist, who was shot by a Capitol police officer as she was attempting to climb through a window to access the Speaker’s Lobby, from where members of Congress were being evacuated.
After years of demonizing the Black Lives Matter movement and activists protesting police violence, dismissing their calls for justice, Trump and the far right have attempted to paint Babbitt as a martyr – a “truly incredible person,” Trump said.
Early reports that rioters killed Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick with a fire extinguisher turned out to be wrong. Sicknick died from strokes – which Jan. 6 revisionists tout as some sort of victory. Chief Medical Examiner Francisco Diaz found that Sicknick suffered two strokes about 8 hours after rioters sprayed him with a chemical irritant. Diaz reported that Sicknick died of natural causes, but “all that transpired played a role in his condition.”
Since the attack, four Capitol police officers have committed suicide.
More Republicans are beginning to mimic Trump’s anti-democratic behavior, spouting unfounded claims of fraud after losing elections. Why not? There are no ramifications for this type of behavior.
After losing the election for Northampton County executive to incumbent Democrat Lemont McClure, the Republican candidate took to social media claiming fraud, pointing to mail-in ballots as the cause of his loss.
“The age of corruption will be coming to an end in Northampton County. They have no idea who they messed with!” the losing candidate wrote. “I am invigorated to eviscerate the swamp creatures in our county and their evil deeds.”
The Commuter asked the Northampton County elections office if there has ever been evidence of mail-in ballot voter fraud. “No,” an elections official responded. “There was one accusation of a fraudulent ballot in a recent election. It was investigated by the [district attorney’s] office, but no charges were filed.”
The U.S. Senate found Trump not guilty of inciting the Jan. 6 riot in a 57-43 vote, 10 shy of the two-thirds majority, or 67 votes, needed for conviction. The vote saw seven Senate Republicans cross party lines to vote alongside all 48 Democrats and two Independents in favor of convicting the twice-impeached Trump.
Was Trump protected by his party? Will history exonerate Trump for his role in the Capitol attack?
For the first time ever, the reliable International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance has listed the U.S. as a “backsliding democracy.”
“A historic turning point came in 2020-21 when former president Donald Trump questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election results in the United States,” the institute’s report says.
It’s not surprising that Trump’s staunchest supporters deny his involvement in the Jan. 6 attack, but now, believing themselves to be objective, some of our neighbors, peers and colleagues are beginning to accept a “there are two sides to every story” view of what happened that day at the Capitol, setting a perfect stage for the next attack.