Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared that “the president of the United States incited an armed insurrection against America.” She called him “a very dangerous person who should not continue in office. This is urgent, an emergency of the highest magnitude.”
In case anyone on the Right is still trying to weasel out of the thought that Trump is responsible for the attempt to stop the certification of the Electoral College votes: don’t forget this is a culmination of months of agitation about “stopping the steal.” I usually try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, because, in politics, it’s all hyperbole, and we all understand that. But, this time, and just for the record, I think the people who lay the blame for storming the Capitol directly on Trump are exactly right.
To make the case that Trump incited the riot, prosecutors would have to show that he intended to provoke violence, but his words are vague enough that it’s possible to argue that he was simply urging his supporters to peacefully protest outside the Capitol.
And this is the part where all communication breaks down, in America’s social-media civil war. Even Bloomberg admits there’s a lot of gray in what the President actually said, and concludes that it would be very difficult to prosecute, let alone convict. I’m convinced they wouldn’t have been there if the President hadn’t been talking about showing up on 6th, but he didn’t call for actual violence. But that doesn’t stop half the country from ranting and raving on their social media accounts as though the President told people to take up small arms, break into the Capitol, and kill every Democrat they see.
He is to blame for starting this, but why? Did he expect them to extrapolate to violence? Or did he want them to make a show that a lot of people were upset about the voting issues? Did he mean for mob craziness to take over? Or did that happen on its own?
They appear to have been mostly rudderless, and seem to have “just gone with it” when they saw how little resistance they faced. The pictures don’t show a lot of “protest” signs in the group, and they certainly brought hammers to smash windows to open doors. You can factor all of those things into your conspiracy theories, but it just doesn’t seem — at least to me — that they, as a group, were determined to “overthrow” our government, and install Trump as king. Rational discussion on this whole topic is really rare, which is why I’m updating this with an actual example from a serious news organization.
UPDATE: As this continues to reverberate through the news, it’s important — at least to me — to clarify that while Trump encouraged people to show up and do something in regards to “stopping the steal,” but fell short of encouraging actual violence, the whole premise of showing up to do anything to interfere with certifying a concluded election was facile to begin with. I, too, think the evidence points to systemic election fraud, but they couldn’t make that case in court (which is a whole other topic), and that’s the way the system works. So contending with Congress after failing at the bar, is, in fact, seditious, and that alone is reason enough for political opponents to bring another case for impeachment. I think it’s a waste of time, but they absolutely have a case. If they want to give Trump another official middle finger, and they’ve got the votes to see it through, then, I guess, you know, whatever. Seems like there are more substantive things the Congress could be working on, but I get it, and I won’t begrudge them for it.