Trump Is Escalating
We try to limit our consumption of the words of Donald Trump around here these days. Unfortunately sometimes we need to talk about them.
Trump did an interview this weekend with Fox News's Maria Bartiromo where he went about the furthest he's gone in casting himself as the hero of January 6, fawning all over the insurgents he incited as "great people," and pushing violently dangerous conspiracy theories about the killing of Ashli Babbitt, an insurrectionist who was trying to invade her way into the Speaker's Lobby of the Capitol. All of this was caught on video.
As many have noted, he's moved fully into his Charlottesville Nazis Were Very Fine People stage. Of course, in the Bartiromo interview he also babbled more bullshit about his fascist Big Lie that AKSHULLY he won the election.
It's becoming incredibly clear that rewriting January 6 and stealing democracy -- and indeed making Ashli Babbitt a martyr -- are literally going to be the GOP's campaign platform in 2022. Whether they choose to write that out in an official document is beside the point. This is what they're running on. As Josh Marshall wrote this weekend, people need to "come up to speed" on this, and quickly.
Former President Donald Trump on Sunday widely praised those who attended the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the insurrection at the Capitol, repeatedly using the word "love" to describe the tone of the event.
Echoing his rhetoric about the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Trump said, "These were peaceful people, these were great people."
They were domestic insurgents he incited to violence against a coequal branch of the US government. It was an act of domestic terrorism. They were not patriots. They were seditionists.
"The crowd was unbelievable and I mentioned the word 'love,' the love in the air, I've never seen anything like it," he said of his rally on the Ellipse. "That's why they went to Washington."
He added: "Too much spirit and faith and love, there was such love at that rally, you had over a million people," inflating the size of his rally crowd.
It was a lot of people to be sure. A lot of white racists who don't believe in democracy. They were violent, they were piggish thugs, it was not love, and they are an ongoing threat to our American way of life.
But there weren't a million of 'em. LOL at Trump's constant problems with accurately describing the size of things.
Here's the part where Trump started going in on conspiracy theories about Ashli Babbitt:
"Who is the person that shot an innocent, wonderful, incredible woman, a military woman, right in the head?" Trump said. "There is no repercussion — that were on the other side, it would be the biggest story in this country. Who shot Ashli Babbitt? People want to know and why."
Bartiromo then referred to Babbitt as "a wonderful woman fatally shot on January 6 as she tried to climb out of a broken window." Their remarks echoed those of some of Trump's backers, including Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), who has claimed Babbitt was "executed."
Whichever Capitol Police officer shot Ashli Babbitt, it's because at that very moment she was engaged in domestic terrorism. Trump and Bartiromo are lying about what we all saw with our own eyes.
But Trump went further than that. He and Bartiromo doubled down on conspiracy theories that Babbitt was killed by the head of security "for a certain high official." A DEMOCRAT official. Which one? Trump's not saying.
"I will tell you they know who shot Ashli Babbitt," Trump said, claiming the person's identity is being protected, but the truth is "going to come out."
Bartiromo teed Trump up for that by conspiratorially saying she had reached out to Senator Chuck Schumer's office to ask if Schumer knows who killed Ashli Babbitt. If the goal was to tie "Schumer" and "shot Ashli Babbitt" together in the diseased squirrel brains of the president's followers, then mission accomplished.
Steve Benen over at the MaddowBlog notes that at CPAC on Sunday night, while repeating most of what he said earlier with Bartiromo, Trump declared that after his second impeachment -- you know, for inciting a terrorist attack -- he "became worse" than he had been before. In response, his rancid supporters cheered and stomped their feet and did whatever sounds they make with their armpits when they are overjoyed.
He wasn't wrong. And Marshall was right. We need to get up to speed on this, and fast.
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