Saturday, January 9, 2021

No, Trump Did Not Incite the Capitol Incursion

If you've watched, listened, or even, heaven forfend, read the news lately, you'll know the media, even nominally pro-Trump Fox has gone crazy, saying that Trump incited the crowd to invade the capitol, and needs to be run out of office or be impeached as a result, with only a few days left in his term. All the big social media are effectively banning Trump on the ground that whatever he says, including calls for peace, are likely to incite further violence. Althouse listens to Trump and reads the transcripts so you don't have to: The 7 most violence-inciting statements in Donald Trump's speech to the crowd on January 6th.

Here's the transcript. I read the entire speech — which was over an hour — looking for the sentences that are most subject to the interpretation that he was inciting the crowd to break into the Capitol building or commit any sort of act of violence. I'm doing this because I realized I wasn't seeing quotes from Trump, just assertions that the speech was an incitement and cause-and-effect inferences based on the sequence of events: He spoke and then they acted.
. . .
But here are the 7 most violent statements. Please, if you can find anything more violent or more related to the idea of breaking into the Capitol and physically disrupting the proceedings, let me know, and I'll add it to the list. This is what I've found and have put in order from least to most violent:
7. We’re going walk down to the Capitol, and 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.

6. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal…. We will not let them silence your voices.

5. The Republicans have to get tougher. You’re not going to have a Republican party if you don’t get tougher.

4. [W]e’re going to have somebody in there that should not be in there and our country will be destroyed, and we’re not going to stand for that.

3. We will never give up. We will never concede, it doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.

2. We’re not going to let it happen. Not going to let it happen.

1. Together we are determined to defend and preserve government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Insty, It’s like they had the narrative ready to go regardless of the facts.  Jacob Sullum at Reason, Did Trump Commit a Crime When He Riled Up His Supporters Before They Rioted? "Under federal law, incitement to riot does not include "advocacy of ideas" or "expression of belief" unless it endorses violence, which Trump did not do." Via Wombat's In The Mailbox: 01.08.21 (Evening Edition), Josh Blackmun at the Volokh Conspiracy, Can President Trump be Impeached and Removed on the Grounds of Incitement? Well, Nancy would impeach him for having a long tie; she will certainly try, but it sounds like there's no time (WaPoo: McConnell Tells Senate GOP That The Earliest Impeachment Trial Date Would Be … Inauguration Day). Otherwise, most fair readers would agree Trump never said anything to encourage violence.

Stacy McCain, No, Trump Did Not Incite Violence

Do you think that maybe these law professors know something that the talking heads on CNN don’t know? The evident assumption by the anti-Trump media is that anything Trump says is bad and wrong, and that anytime something bad happens, Trump is to blame. But there were some 200,000 people in D.C. for the “Stop the Steal” rally, and only a small percentage of that crowd — perhaps 2,000 people — were involved in breaching the Capitol. If everybody heard the president’s “incitement,” why didn’t everyone storm the Capitol? Of course, you can’t expect million-dollar TV news anchors to be capable of logical deduction, but wouldn’t you think that someone in the media would become tired of the stench of bovine excrement exuded by their fact-deficient “reporting”?

And for some what-aboutism, Jordan Davidson at Da Fed has compiled a short, helpful list of 10 Times Democrats Urged Violence Against Trump And His Supporters. That's different, because shut up!

That said, Trump should have known that with a crowd of around 200,000, there had to be a thousand or more crazy enough to do something stupid. And they did. And that sucks. 

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