Trump is making the Jan. 6 attack a cornerstone of his bid for the White House

(Jeff Dean/Associated Press)

Trump is making the Jan. 6 attack a cornerstone of his bid for the White House

Election 2024


March 20, 2024

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

At a weekend rally in Ohio, his first as the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Trump stood at the podium, his hand raised in salute to the brim of his red MAGA hat, like a recorded choir of jail inmates for their role in the January election campaign. 6 attack sang the national anthem.

An announcer asked the crowd to stand up for those who were being treated terribly and unfairly

January 6 January 6

hostages. And people did that and sang along.

They were incredible patriots, Trump said as the recording ended.

Having previously vowed to pardon the rioters, he promised to help them on the first day we come to power.

Trump downplays January 6, anniversary of Capitol siege, saying ‘civil war could have been negotiated’

Initially relegated to a fringe theory on the edges of the Republican Party, the revisionist history of January 6, which Trump expanded during the early days of the Republican Party’s primaries to rouse his most committed voters, remains a centerpiece of the rally, even if he has to appeal. more broadly for a general election audience.

By praising the rioters, Trump shifts the blame for his own role in the run-up to the mob’s bloody victory and asks voters to acquit hundreds of them and himself of the deadliest attack on a U.S. seat power in 200 years.

At the same time, Trump’s allies are installing 2020 election deniers in the Republican National Committee, further institutionalizing the lies that fueled the violence. That raises alarms for next year, when Congress will be called again to certify the vote.

And they are not the only ones. Republicans in Congress are beginning a re-examination of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, which Trump wants to shield from wrongdoing, while lawmakers are offering side theories about why thousands of his supporters descended on Capitol Hill in what became a brutal outreach. -fight with the police.

Letters to the editor: Three years after January 6, Trump has normalized. How did this happen?

Five people were killed in the riot and its aftermath.

All told, those who study authoritarian regimes warn that this is a classic case of something called consolidation, where the state apparatus is transformed around a single figure, in this case Trump.

Jason Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale, said the question arises time and time again throughout history: How could people not have taken an authoritarian leader at his word about what was going to happen?

Listen to Trump, he said.

When a coup takes place against the democratic regime and it is not punished, it is a very strong indicator of the end of the rule of law and the victory of that authoritarian movement, says Stanley, the author of How Fascism Works.

Americans have a hard time understanding that what happens in most of the world can happen here.”

One attack, two interpretations: Biden and Trump are both turning the January 6 riot into a political rallying cry

Trump faces a four-count federal indictment on charges that he conspired to defraud Americans on Jan. 6 over his 2020 election defeat and obstructed the official process in Congress to certify the vote for Joe Biden. As the Supreme Court considers Trump’s claim that he should be immune from prosecution, it is unclear when the case will go to trial, raising the possibility that the case may not be resolved until after the election.

The initial House Select Committee found on January 6 that Trump criminally engaged in a multi-part conspiracy to overturn the lawful outcome of the 2020 presidential election and failed to act to stop his supporters from attacking the Capitol and hit the police.

More than 1,200 people have been charged in the riot, including far-right Oath Keepers and Proud Boys extremists, and hundreds have been convicted. Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani and attorney John Eastman are facing legal challenges over their work on the 2020 election.

Trump’s campaign, in response to an Associated Press investigation, pointed to the work of House investigators trying to show inconsistencies in the Select Committee’s investigation and to star witness Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide who served on the front row seated for inner workings of the White House.

House GOP launches a new investigation on January 6, seeking to shift blame for the attack on the Capitol to Trump

Trump’s national press secretary Karoline Leavitt said the Justice Department has spent more time prosecuting the former president and targeting Americans for peacefully protesting on Jan. 6 than other criminals.

President Trump wants to restore justice for all Americans who have been treated unfairly, she said.

Even as Republicans privately worry that Trump risks turning away women and independent voters he would need in the general election rematch against Biden, top aides have said there is only so much they can do as Trump is going to become Trump .

Over the weekend, Trump turned his attention to Liz Cheney, the former Republican congresswoman who served as vice chair of the Select Committee and personally secured Hutchinson’s blockbuster 2022 testimony.

She should go to jail with the rest of the Unselect Committee! Trump posted a message on social media.

On January 6, many Republicans blamed Trump for the riot at the Capitol. Now they support his presidential bid

Cheney posted in response: Hello Donald: You know these are lies as she has 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 has done, attack the brave men and women who came forward with the truth, and defend the criminals who violently attacked the Capitol, she said in a post: to reconsider which side you are on. Hint: it’s not America.

Many Republicans are willingly ignoring the issue, especially in Congress, even as lawmakers ran for their lives and sought shelter as rioters stormed the Senate chamber and ransacked the Capitol offices.

Senators who sharply criticized Trump after the Jan. 6 attack, including Republican leader Mitch McConnell and John Thune of South Dakota, the No. two Republicans in the Senate, have now reluctantly endorsed him.

President Biden slams Trump for the January 6 Capitol riot, a day when ‘we almost lost America’

Others still refuse to support Trump, including Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial on charges of incitement of insurrection over the Jan. 6 attack. But the holdouts are in the minority.

When Cassidy appeared on NBC’s Meet The Press, all he said was: I plan to vote for a Republican for president of the United States.

One Republican willing to speak out is Mike Pence, the former vice president, whose rioters shouted their intentions to hang that day as a makeshift gallows stood on the west front of the Capitol.

I was there on January 6. I have no doubt that some people were caught up in the moment, Pence said on CBS’s Face the Nation.

But the attacks on police officers, ultimately an environment that claimed lives, I think is something tragic that day, Pence said. ‘And I will never make it smaller.

Mascaro, Jalonick and Colvin write for the Associated Press.


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