Republican polling leader Donald Trump observed the third anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by glorifying people charged in the riot, repeating baseless claims that left-wing or government interlopers caused the breach, and attempting to turn the term “insurrection” against his political opponents.
The remarks were part of an ongoing escalation of Trump’s and other Republicans’ efforts to minimize, justify and deny the violence of three years ago while also defending the Trump supporters who committed it. The former president, who was impeached for incitement of insurrection but acquitted in the Senate, has built a commanding lead in primary polls for the 2024 GOP nomination as Republicans have increasingly downplayed the attack and his role in it, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll.
“He’s now directly saying that violence and criminality is okay if it’s in service of my power,” said Michael K. Miller, a political science professor at George Washington University who studies democracy and autocratic elections. “Once you endorse violence in rejecting electoral outcomes, you’ve turned away from democracy, it’s really that simple. Having a large fraction of the population with that attitude is very dangerous.” [Continue reading…]