Did D----- T---- Incite A Riot? Damn Right The Asshole Did.
The Capitol siege took place exactly three weeks ago, but Republicans are in a hurry to "move on" from the violent insurrection that killed five people. Tuesday, 45 Republican senators voted to dismiss impeachment charges against the previous White House occupant on a pathetic technicality. It's obvious why they want to bury this along with the victims. The more information that comes out, the worse it looks for their once and future leader.
This week, Ryan Goodman, former special counsel at the Department of Defense, released this new footage of Donald Trump, whose gross name we don't enjoy typing, speaking at the “Save America" rally. The actual words from his unhinged rant are bad enough, but this shows how his supporters reacted to them. It's horrifying.
New video footage: shows the crowd’s immediate reactions to Trump’s most potent remarks at January 6 speech. Verdi… https://t.co/lqWV8DgpUh— Ryan Goodman (@Ryan Goodman) 1611583756.0
TRUMP: Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy.
We note again that this wasn't simply a protest against the inevitable Joe Biden presidency, which is why Republicans are full of crap when they compare the January 6 rally to the women's march. This was a direct call to action, specifically against the confirmation of Biden's victory, which Trump knew at the time was a foregone conclusion.
TRUMP: And after this, we're gonna walk down — and I'll be there with you ...
He did not join these fools. That was yet another lie.
TRUMP: We're gonna walk down to the Capitol.
This is when the crowd goes wild. The insurrectionist in chief wound up the mob and set them off toward the Capitol about a half hour before the barriers were breached. The rightwing spin that the siege started before Trump's speech is straight-up bullshit.
TRUMP: We're going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women. We're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.
A relevant question, I think, is how was the mob supposed to cheer on “brave" members of Congress while “not cheering so much" for the ones who followed the law like cowards? It was impossible to oversee this process without entering the Capitol itself.
In the video Goodman shared, which someone had uploaded to Parler, you can hear the crowd respond with frightening intensity when Trump says “you have to show strength, and you have to be strong." A woman cries, “YES!" and a man exclaims, “STORM THE CAPITOL." Another man pointedly declares, “INVADE THE CAPITOL BUILDING." Others start to join in: “TAKE THE CAPITOL! TAKE IT RIGHT NOW!"
This is MAGA.
TRUMP: We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated. I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.
President Klan Robe's entire defense rests on these two words: “peacefully" and "patriotically." It's not even clear the crowd heard him at this point, but it's still two words in a 70-minute speech packed with violent rhetoric. He said the words "fight" or "fighting" 20 times. “We will not take it anymore" and “we will stop the steal" obviously resonated more with the mob he'd provoked with lies for two months.
Somehow, no one could manage to tell the president to call off his mob, even once it's clear a riot has broken out. Toward the end of his speech, he declared that “We fight. We fight like Hell and if you don't fight like Hell, you're not going to have a country anymore." This was another direct call to action, one with no benign interpretation. He didn't ask that people "fight" by going out to vote or writing their representatives in Congress. No, he claimed if Biden's win was confirmed, it's the end of the American experiment. The crowd starts to chant, “FIGHT LIKE HELL" and “FIGHT FOR TRUMP."
The footage also shows the mob outside the Capitol shouting, “They fucking stole it! They stole our country." This is what Trump wrought, and Republicans are willing and able to let him walk away from the literal wreckage.
The legal bar for incitement is high, but conviction in the Senate offers the constitutional remedy of preventing Trump from running again. A Trump 2024 campaign is a clear and present danger to the sitting government and anyone who respects democracy. Unfortunately, the latter group doesn't include at least 45 Republicans.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."