Oath Keepers January 6 Tape Suggests Trump World Response To His Indictment
On January 6, 2021 Donald Trump watched the nation’s Capitol be violently assaulted he. As this nation’s Commander in Chief, President Trump decisively . . . tweeted. While he made no effort to stop the violence by mobilizing a law enforcement or military response, he did tweet.
The first of these tweets, at 2:24 encouraged the mob to target his own Vice President.
The mob responded by chanting “hang Mike Pence” and built a gallows.
This article focuses on his next tweet and newly released video of how the Oath Keepers responded in real time to what Trump said. At 2:34 Trump tweeted, asking the protesters to support the Capitol Police. Notably, the tweet didn’t ask them to leave the Capitol, so they didn’t. Further, as you shall see, they say that’s why they didn’t.
This week the January 6 Committee released a video between three Oath Keeper leaders talking on a private app. It shows in real time how they responded to Trump’s tweet. Feel free to watch the video.
Let’s walk through that, shall we? The dialogue seems to be between three people who I shall designate Man 1, Man 2 and Woman 1. Man 1 is apparently offsite, watching TV and social media, and passing on what he is hearing to the other two who are part of the mob in the Capitol. The discussion begins with chilling dialogue on their plans for members of Congress.
Man 1: CNN just said they evacuated all members of Congress into a safety room.
Man 2: There’s no safe place in the United States for any of these motherfuckers right now.
Woman 1: I hope they understand that we are not joking around.
Man 2: It’s military principle 105. Military principle 105, cave means grave.
To explain, what Man 2 is suggesting here is that the “safe room” is a cave. While there is no such “military principle 105" the notion that a cave can be a deathtrap from which an enemy can be dealt with at leisure is self evident. That’s what Man 2 is suggesting the “safe room” is. Keep this context in mind as we continue.
Man 1: Trump just Tweeted “Please support our Capitol Police. They are on our side. Do not harm them.”
Man 2: That’s saying a lot by what he didn’t say. He didn’t say not to do anything to the Congressmen. [laughter]
Man 1: Well he did not ask them to stand down. He just said, stand by the Capitol Police. They are on our side and they are good people. So it’s getting real down there . . . CNN said that Trump has egged this one, that he is egging that on and that he is watching the country burn two weeks before he leaves office. He is not leaving office. I don’t give a shit what they say.
I’ll leave it there. Trump knows the impact his words have. He knows that if he is not crystal clear in condemning violence that he is inciting it. That’s because his messaging reserving violence is tepid, his messaging supporting it is strong.
This week Trump addressed the possibility of his being indicted. He suggested it would leave to violence, and he did nothing to discourage that result. Appearing on conservative talk show hosts Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Hewitt asked him if he would still run if indicted. Trump responded:
“If a thing like that happened, I would have no prohibition against running. I think if it happened, I think you’d have problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before. I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it.”
Hewitt then asked Trump what he meant by “problems.” Trump responded:
“I think they’d have big problems. Big problems. I just don’t think they’d stand for it. They will not sit still and stand for this ultimate of hoaxes.”
A transcript shows that the conversation continued with Hewitt suggesting that the “legacy media will say you’re attempting to incite violence.” Even with the opportunity to condemn violence teed up for him, Trump refused to do so:
“That’s not, that’s not inciting. I’m just saying what my opinion is. I don’t think the people of this country would stand for it.”
This is what Trump does. While not overtly demanding violence, he suggests it with his words, and by his failure to make clear he demands his followers not be violent. There will be “big problems.” His followers will not “stand for it.” All in the context of what his followers did on January 6th in response to his words. He knows exactly what he is doing, and the bomb he is preparing to ignite.
For more context, Trump said this after Lindsey Graham suggested there would be “riots in the streets” if Trump is indicted. Trump knows Graham said that, and in that context he ratified that message by substituting the word “problems” for “riots.”
Trump seeks to intimidate the judicial process. It likely will not work. Attorney General Garland has again and again made clear that he will prosecute, based on the facts and the law, “without fear or prejudice.”
As the Oath Keepers heard what Trump did not say on January 6th, his followers hang on every word, and not word, today. Unless his demands are met he is attempting to light same fuse that he did in the Fall/Winter of 2020 when he told the Proud Boys to “stand by” and summoned the mob to the Capitol On January 6th to “be wild.”
At that time, Trump was asked to commit to non-violence, to a peaceful transition. He refused, and violence ensued. As the violence ensued he failed to ask his followers to end their invasion of our Capitol, and so they did not. When it was over he effectively thanked them for it and suggested Congress got what it deserved.
Since then he has gone on to suggest that as our next President he will pardon, and issue a national apology, to those who brutalized police officers and trashed our Capitol on January 6th. What message does that send to those considering violence if Trump is indicted?
In May Trump rather directly called for “civil war” on his Truth Social site. You think those of his followers already inclined to support that notion didn’t pay attention?
I assure you they are hanging on every word now, as they were then. So what should Trump be doing? In regards to his likely pending indictments, he should mostly remain silent. To the extent he speaks Trump has a duty to say that no matter what happens, to let the process play out, let his legal defense work, and above all, that he condemns any and all violence on his behalf.
You will note, he has not said that.