LIE: Trump didn’t instigate or cause the attack on the Capitol.
FACT CHECK: What happened on January 6 was a violent coup aimed at illegally keeping Donald Trump in power.
The Trump campaign and other radical right wing groups bused in numerous supporters. A web of pro-Trump dark money groups helped fund and organize the rally that led to the deadly riot on Capitol Hill. For example, Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA shipped in 80 busloads of terrorists.
Trump’s most thuggish followers had been egged on by two months of lies that the election had been allegedly stolen. This followed years of apocalyptic rhetoric from the GOP and the right wing media that a Democratic president would mean the end of the U.S.A.
On January 6, Trump told his followers: “You will never take our country back with weakness…We fight. We fight like hell…If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Rudy Giuliani called for “trial by combat.” Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said: “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”
While the attack was being carried out, Trump was delighted and excited. Moreover, Trump refused to deploy the National Guard for over four hours after the Capitol was invaded. Interestingly enough, it was Pence that gave the order to the National Guard. That kind of action is virtually unprecedented. The Vice President isn’t the commander in chief.
LIE: Antifa and Black Lives Matter were responsible for the invasion of the Capitol.
FACT CHECK: Immediately after the failed coup, Trump said the following about the thugs who broke into the Capitol: “We love you. You’re very special.”
The FBI and the Department of Justice said that there was no evidence that antifa was involved in the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The Associated Press reported that nearly all the people who were arrested were Trump followers.
Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Donald Trump: “It’s not antifa — it’s MAGA. I know. I was there.”
LIE: The Democrats are responsible for the riots last summer.
FACT CHECK: On October 20, 2020, the Associated Press reported that most of the people arrested in the protests weren’t left wing radicals or members of antifa. This was after an exhaustive review of thousands of pages of court documents.
Police departments in Minneapolis and Richmond indicated that the riots were instigated by white supremacists. In Richmond, those white supremacists were disguised as members of Black Lives Matter. In Minneapolis , a white supremacist instigated looting and helped turn the largely peaceful protests violent. What’s more, a white supremacist fired an AK-47 at a police precinct.
LIE: The riots last summer are just as bad. It’s both sides.
FACT CHECK: It’s not both sides since Democrats had nothing to do with last summer’s unrest. In addition, the rioters in places like Portland, Minneapolis and Richmond didn’t attempt to overthrow the government. Trump’s coup is truly unprecedented.
CONCLUSION: After his failed presidency, George W. Bush went down the GOP memory hole. Even though Bush was revered by most Republicans during his presidency, you would now be hard pressed to find a Republican today who will admit that they were once an ardent supporter of the 43rd president. Voter amnesia about Bush’s failed presidency is one of the reasons why we ended up with Trump and an all GOP government in 2017–18. The results of that amnesia were disastrous.
I predict to you that by this time next year, most Republicans will deny that they were ever enthusiastic supporters of Trump. They will point to his deficits and spending and falsely contend that he was never a true conservative. We can’t let the Republicans get away with this again. It is our job as Democratic activists to refresh voter memories. History matters.
An important way we can prevent amnesia is to establish a bi-partisan Congressional commission similar to the 9/11 commission to investigate these events. Trump himself must be required to testify.
There should also be a full criminal investigation. The role of Trump, his top aides, complicit members of Congress and GOP billionaire donors must be probed. We can’t allow the big fish to get away.
No stone should go unturned. This must never happen again.