My Answer To The ‘Trump Said Peaceful’ Argument

Keith
4 min readJan 24, 2021

In another forum someone asked me the following:

“what is it about Trump’s comment to the crowd about marching “over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard” that is unclear to you?”

I responded as follows:

  1. What Trump said that day was not all of Trump’s involvement. He organized the damn thing. Even with online talk from people about storming the Capitol, Trump encouraged people to come and he told them it would be a “wild time.” Further, Trump pushed the Big Lie that the election was stolen that was the entire cause of the insurrectionists.
  2. Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transition even when specifically asked. Instead, he told a violence prone group to “stand by” in case he lost. That group viewed that as a call to arms and violence.

3. In context, the set up included Trump’s political allies justifying this kind of violence. On January 1st Representative Louie Gohmert said that if the lawsuit against Mike Pence was dismissed that “you got to go to the streets and be as violent as Antifa.” Trump never condemned or contradicted what Gohmert said.

4. Trump’s family egged on violence. At the January 6 rally Donald Trump Junior said of Republicans in Congress not supporting vote decertification “we’re coming for you and we’re going to have a good time doing it!

5. At the rally Trump’s attorney spoke, and with Trump right there and not contradicting him, declared “let’s have trial by combat.”

6. It is in this context that Trump addressed the mob and he said much more than your cherry picked sanitized comments. He talked about the need to “fight.” He told them that if they did not succeed they would lose their country. “You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.” He told them to march on the Capitol and “fight.” They did.

7. Even after the violence started, Trump egged it on. Shortly after the Capitol was breached Trump tweeted a video of his inflammatory comments to the crowd. About half an hour after the Capitol was breached, about ten minutes after the mob marched through the Rotunda shouting “Hang Mike Pence,” at 2:24 pm Trump tweeted to that mob: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!” That tweet was about ten minutes after things were so bad that the D.C. Mayor had called the Pentagon asking for National Guard troops. Over the next hour two more tweets followed. While tepidly urging protesters to be peaceful, neither tweet condemned the violence. Most importantly, neither tweet even remotely suggested the protesters leave the Capitol. Trump would not suggest the protesters leave the Capitol until 4:17 (after Biden urged him to put a stop to it), gently suggesting that they should go home and describing this mob that killed a police officer, injured 50 more, and sought to hang Mike Pence and kidnap Nancy Pelosi, as “special people” who he loved. In that video his very first words were to reaffirm their cause, telling them that the election was stolen and fraudulent and that he knows how they feel. At 6:01 he would tweet again, justifying the violence on the stolen election: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long.”

8. In all that encouragement of the mob Trump did nothing to respond to the threat either in his role as Commander in Chief, or as the Chief Executive with his charge to faithfully uphold the laws of the nation. He did not mobilize federal law enforcement or the National Guard. Those seeking to provide additional resources to end the insurrection had to work around him, not with him.

9. Trump actions, and inactions, were part of a pattern of inflammatory lies to the American people, illegal conduct and abuse of power, aimed at keeping him in power. This included the phone call where he tried to bully and threatened with criminal prosecution, the Georgia Secretary of State if he didn’t “find” enough votes for to flip the state in his favor. It included the recently revealed conspiracy to fire the Attorney General to compel a bogus effort to change Georgia’s vote.

10. Finally, look to those charged with breaching the Capitol and the defense they are claiming. Again and again they claim that they will plead to the court that they were only doing what the President of the United States asked them to do. That they were authorized to breach the Capitol because they were there at the President’s invitation. Dallas real estate agent Jenna Ryan, who flew to D.C. on a private plane, sought a pardon saying after her arrest: “I listen to my president who told me to go to the Capitol . . . I answered the call of my president.” The lawyer for “Horns guy,” Jacob Chansley, says his client regrets “being duped by the President” into doing what he did. Retired firefighter Robert Sanford, on video throwing a fire extinguisher that hit police (but not fatally) says, “I followed the president’s instructions.”

That is how the mob heard the President’s words, and entire pattern of speech leading up to this. I personally hope some of those people are able to testify at Trump’s impeachment trial.

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Keith

Retired lawyer & Army vet in The Villages of Florida. Lifelong: Republican (pre-Trump), Constitution buff, science nerd & dog lover. Twitter: @KeithDB80