As the House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection wraps up its work, there are some troubling indications that it is not going to tell the full story of why an armed and violent mob tried to stop Congress from formally certifying a presidential election.
There’s no question that disgraced ex-President Donald Trump was the proximate cause of the first-ever attack on the peaceful transition of power. Even the Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) has admitted as much. But while Trump was the cause of the Capitol Putsch, he did not inspire it.
The thousands of people who stormed the Capitol on a freezing day nearly two years ago didn’t do it because they worshiped Donald Trump. They did it because they worship a multitude of extremist ideologies that have utterly captured the Republican Party.
Unfortunately, pointing out that the Republican Party has become overrun by reactionary activists who want to criminalize birth control and abortion, outlaw homosexuality, and relegate non-Christians to second-class citizenship is still not something that you can say in polite company.
The executive summary of the final report released by the J6 Committee demonstrates this quite clearly. While the document spares no words in its discussion of Trump’s direct role in deliberately lying about his loss of the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden and how he used violent rhetoric to urge supporters to “fight like hell” on Jan. 6, 2021, it does not discuss why his superfans would decide to take the absolutely insane step of breaking into the Capitol to hang then-Vice President Mike Pence.
Some committee members seem to want to have told the complete story, but it appears there was not unanimous consent to make unambiguous statements about Republican radicalization.
“I think it’s clear from all the evidence that we advance that the rioters were operating under Donald Trump’s big lie propaganda,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) told TYT Washington correspondent Candice Cole on Monday. “Now, underneath that, you get to a level of sociological analysis that perhaps the whole committee might not agree upon.”
The full committee report is expected to be released on Wednesday so it’s best not to pre-judge it, but the indications from a review of the executive summary are that the committee is not telling the American people the full story. There are no mentions of “Christian,” “Jesus,” or “God,” despite the fact that many Capitol rioters wore Crusader clothing, carried signs with pictures of MAGA Jesus, and shared slogans like “Make America Godly Again.”
As published, the initial report also does not mention the numerous incidents of high-level Trump supporters such as his then-chief of staff Mark Meadows claiming that Jesus supported Trump’s attempts to illegally retain the presidency.
“Evil always looks like the victor until the King of Kings triumphs,” Meadows wrote on Nov. 24, 2020 to Ginni Thomas, a Christianist activist who is married to Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas. He ended his missive with a Bible quote: “Do not grow weary in well doing.”
This is but one of many similar religious messages and speeches that both elite and grassroots Trump supporters shared with each other as they moved toward trying to overthrow American democracy.
Unfortunately, the summary also contains no discussion of racism, racists, white nationalism, abortion, guns, or any of the other extremist causes that now animate a significant percentage of far-right Republicans. As a result, the public is not getting a complete picture of why thousands of people decided to launch the first domestic insurrection since the Civil War.
“There is no doubt that the entire work of the Committee, the report, and the criminal referrals are an essential step toward holding the planners, perpetrators, funders, and those who inspired the insurrection accountable,” Rachel Carroll Rivas, deputy director of research at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told TYT.
She continued: “That said, it’s incumbent upon our leaders to make sure that Jan. 6 never happens again and to make it clear to the American public that the deadly events of that day were never meant to be the end goal for these extremists. There is a movement afoot that has been building for half a century to undermine our democracy and narrow who has basic rights — with a clear target on Black communities, immigrants, non-Christians, LGBTQ+ people and women.”
As a founding member of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, Raskin has been one of the few members of either legislative chamber to publicly discuss in detail how racial and religious supremacism led to the January 6th insurrection. Will more people join his efforts when the new Congress takes office in January?