It is necessary to analyze the Capitol riots through a logical prism. The riots were certainly a tragic event, but it has not been discussed rationally.
This article does so by looking at President Trump's statements, the actual cause of the riots, and the lack of a police presence.
President Trump did not incite the riots. He encouraged his supporters to come to Washington for a "Stop the Steal" rally. He spoke to the crowd and advocated why he thought the election was stolen (which is a permissible claim even if one disagrees with it.)
On three occasions during his speech, President Trump encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol and cheer for Trump's election. President Trump, however, did not state or imply that anyone should breach the Capitol, vandalize it or accost the lawmakers. In fact, he specifically stated that their protest should be peaceful. The three statements are as follows:
- "And, after this, we're going to walk down, and I'll be there with you, we're going to walk down, we're going to walk down, any one you want but I think right here, we're going to walk down to the Capitol and we're going to cheer on our brave Senators, Congressmen and women."
- "I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building, to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard."
- "We're going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. I love Pennsylvania Avenue. And we're going to the Capitol and we're going to try and give, the Democrats are hopeless, they're never voting for anything, not even one vote. But we're going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don't need any of our help. We're going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. So let's walk down Pennsylvania Avenue."
It is unfair and unjust to blame President Trump for something he did not say or imply.
One should not blame President Trump because the criminal rioters happened to support President Trump or wore Trump-themed attire.
It would not make any logical sense for Trump to encourage the breach of the Capitol.
First, Trump and his allies in Congress had a strategy for challenging the election (i.e., objecting to the counting of states' electors), and a riot would interrupt this strategy.
Second, if the objection strategy failed, Trump would have realized that a riot would not have prevented Congress from eventually counting the electoral votes and certifying Joe Biden as the winner of the election.
Third, Trump would have known that the media and many Americans would turn against him for inciting a riot.
Fourth, he would have known that a riot would overshadow the accomplishments of his presidency.
Fifth, President Trump has taken action to protect federal statues and monuments, and destruction of the Capitol would be antithetical to the president's previous positions.
Sixth, and most importantly, President Trump, throughout his presidency, has consistently called for "law and order" and condemned civil unrest. The cause of the riots was the same reason as any riots: individuals, acting on their own volition, committing illegal acts.
The rioters broke into the Capitol, trespassed, assaulted police officers, vandalized property, stole property and committed other crimes. No one made these individuals perpetrate these acts.
As evident throughout history, individuals riot and commit crimes. The lack of a police presence, although not a cause of the riots, created a situation in which rioters were able to breach the Capitol.
The police had known for weeks that President Trump was planning a rally, and, given the size of previous Trump rallies, law enforcement should have known that the rally would attract tens or hundreds of thousands of attendees.
Although the attendees at President Trump's previous rallies were not violent, police should have planned for this possibility and had sufficient numbers to quell any unrest. Police also knew that other Trump rallies drew violent counter-protesters outside the rallies (such as Trump's nomination speech at the White House in August 2020) and that it would need to deal with this possibility.
Last, police should have predicted that anti-Trump individuals (such as Antifa) may disguise themselves as Trump supporters and then riot or commit violence. The certification of the election is an event in which all congresspersons, senators, and the vice-president are in one location.
This type of event a target for all types of bad actors from terrorists (domestic and foreign) to hostile foreign governments. This type of gathering, therefore, should be heavily protected.
With the number of lawmakers in one room at the Capitol, the certification of the election was similar to the State of the Union Address. The level of security, therefore, should have been the same.
The police who responded to the Capitol riots were heroes.
We praise their heroism and mourn their loss.
The responding police, however, should have never been put in the position of protecting lawmakers and fighting rioters with an insufficient quantity of personnel, a lack of adequate fencing or structural protections, and a dearth of anti-riot equipment.
Michael B. Abramson is a practicing attorney. He is also an adviser with the National Diversity Coalition for Trump. He is the host of the "Advancing the Agenda" podcast and author of the author of "A Playbook for Taking Back America: Lessons from the 2012 Presidential Election." Follow him on his website and Twitter, @mbabramson. Read Michael B. Abramson's Reports — More Here.
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