The mendacity hasn’t stopped. Now Trump and the Republican Party are spreading a false narrative about the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, depicting it as a peaceable occasion to save lots of the nation from tyranny. Like any propaganda marketing campaign, this one wants each noise and silence to be efficient.
Flooding the media area with lies works greatest if inconvenient info are denied and contradictory voices muted. Recall the intimidation of Republicans like Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan, who voted to question Trump in January. “Our expectation is that somebody may try to kill us,” he stated in an interview.
The former President has taken the lead in rewriting the historical past of Jan. 6, with assists from GOP lawmakers like Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Trump asserts that the rioters posed “zero threat” and had been “hugging and kissing the police and the guards,” ignoring the others who killed one Capitol Police officer and injured 137 others. Two different officers died by suicide days after the assault.
Brazen negations of violence, even when it’s amply documented, are central to the playbook utilized by authoritarians Trump admires, like Vladimir Putin. In truth, for such leaders, the extra documentation there’s, the better the triumph in getting individuals to disclaim it.
The fact of Jan. 6 — that the insurgents confirmed rabid hatred of the law enforcement officials and safety guards — presents an issue, given the pro-law enforcement sentiments of Trump’s base. So it is best simply to flip the script and flip murderous rage into hugs and kisses.
That’s why the Fox News host Tucker Carlson opened a latest present with the declare that the insurgents “didn’t have guns,” which makes an attempt to direct consideration away from (and additionally contradicts) hours of video proof and testimonies about the massive quantity of weapons, some military-grade, the exceedingly properly armed insurgents carried into the Capitol.
Trump and his allies are utilizing a second tactic as brazen as the first. Even whereas denying the violence, they’re blaming it on a well-known enemy: the left. Johnson and Carlson have been distinguished fabricators of a actuality by which left-wing extremists had been the actual Capitol rioters. This, too, is a propaganda basic: accusing an enemy you will have already invested many hours in demonizing. It’s way more environment friendly. And with some audiences, it really works.
Although 61% of Americans responding to a new Reuters/Ipsos ballot assume Trump “is at least partly to blame for starting the deadly Jan. 6 riot,” solely 28% of Republicans agreed with that assertion. And greater than half of the Republicans questioned agreed that Jan. 6 was the work of “violent left-wing protesters trying to make Trump look bad.”
Still, the GOP is on the defensive. More proof is coming to the mild about the involvement of some Trump donors in funding the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the assault, and about the presence of dozens of GOP officers at that rally. And with 10 extra Democratic lawmakers becoming a member of the lawsuit towards Trump and his former lawyer Rudy Giuliani for conspiring with extremists, Republicans seemingly really feel they should speed up the acceptance of this false narrative and ensure that these in the know stay quiet.
What would occur to this faux historical past, for instance, if former Vice President Mike Pence determined to interrupt his silence about being chased by a mob that wished to hold him? Pence is a crucial reference level for a number of massive constituencies of the Trump universe, from enterprise elites to evangelical Christians. His talking the fact would carry weight.
But whereas a couple of distinguished Republicans, like former House Speaker John Boehner, emphasize Trump’s function in the “bloody insurrection” (Trump “incited” it “for nothing more than selfish reasons, perpetuated by the bullshit he’d been shoveling since he lost a fair election the previous November,” Boehner asserted in his new ebook), Pence, like most in the GOP, has been silent on the query and appears to have accepted the authoritarian-style occasion self-discipline Trump has imposed.
This state of affairs endangers American democracy.
History exhibits that burying violence creates the situations for its repetition. If there isn’t any accountability for Jan. 6, we will ensure that unscrupulous components inside the GOP will take that as a inexperienced mild for them to attempt different lawless maneuvers in the future to be able to return to energy — and keep there. The time to set the report straight is now.