The House’s final report in January. Committee 6 is a true gift to the American people.
In its more than 800 pages, members have given us a compelling and chronological account of the incidents leading up to one of the most shameful events in American history: the storming of the Capitol by violent and misguided supporters of the president Trump, operating under the fallacy that he had won the 2020 election.
Here’s proof, for those who missed (or wanted to ignore) the televised committee hearings, that Trump knew he lost, but couldn’t take the humiliation and set out to secure at least four years more in charge Who knows what other horrors he might have visited upon our Constitution if his coup had succeeded?
Dark but amusing tidbits are sprinkled throughout the report, which places the ultimate blame for the terrible events at Trump’s feet.
For example, did you know that dirty political con artist Roger Stone coined the phrase “Stop the Steal”? Not in 2020, mind you, but in 2016, when he pretended that candidate Trump republican rivals were trying to steal the nomination. Or that right-wing provocateur Ali Alexander, a frequent contributor to Stone, launched the defunct event website wildprotest.com in December 2020, just after Trump tweeted his invitation in January. 6 rally? Or that Julie Fancelli, the 72-year-old heir to the Publix supermarket fortune, offered to spend $3 million to pay for speakers and transport protesters to Washington in January. 6?
These stories are from Chapter 6, “Hang in there, it’s gonna be wild!” The chapter examines the fascist white nationalist groups—the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters, the Groypers, the QAnon supporters—who saw Trump’s invitation to Washington as a call to violence and an opportunity to convert the United States in a dement. version of greatness that never was.
Of course, they were completely deluded about a lot of things: that the election was stolen, that Vice President Pence could refuse to certify his results, that Trump could stay in office with their help, that they would escape the wrath of the justice system.
For example, Stewart Rhodes, the convicted seditionist who founded the Oath Keepers, told the committee he believed Trump could have mobilized “unorganized militia” like the Oath Keepers to quell an insurgency if he tried to stay in power after losing the elections
“This fantasy reflected a distorted sense of reality,” the committee wrote in its report. “The Oath Keepers themselves were the ones contemplating the insurrection.”
Proof: In a message to his colleagues, quoted in the report, Rhodes wrote: “Either Trump buckles down and uses the Insurrection Act to defeat the Chicom puppet coup or we will have to rise up in an insurrection (rebellion) against Chicom’s puppet. Biden. Take your choice.” (“Chicom” = Chinese communist.)
As I read Chapter 6, it struck me that fake patriots like Rhodes, who faces 20 years in federal prison, are nothing more than ridiculously over-the-top drama queens. They’ve convinced themselves they’re saving the Constitution (democracy, I guess), when in reality they’re lining their birdcages with it. They imagine themselves fighting the forces of evil to inflate their self-esteem. They would be laughed at if they weren’t so dangerous. (And well-armed: Rhodes, the report says, “gathered an arsenal of military-grade weapons and equipment in the days leading up to Jan. 6” and stashed it in a hotel outside the District of Columbia.)
In another example of the irony of destroyers masquerading as saviors, the report notes that the Proud Boys and their leader Enrique Tarrio imagined they were recreating the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. They resumed the battle cry “Storm the Winter Palace,” an allusion to the overthrow of Russia’s tsarist order. Like Jan. Committee 6 notes in its report that this event led to more than 70 years of communist rule.
“No historical event has been less American,” the committee dryly noted. (Jury selection in Tarrio’s seditious conspiracy trial is underway in Washington.)
Online posts about what would happen in January. 6 were full of predictions of violence.
“You can go to Washington on Jan. 6 and help storm the capitol,” wrote one user on the QAnon website 8kun. “We will storm government buildings, kill police, kill security guards, kill employees and federal agents and demand a count.”
Reading about the Deceived Warriors of Jan. 6, reminded me of one of the great literary characters: Don Quixote, the Manchex.
Four hundred years ago, it was invented by Miguel de Cervantes, a nobleman whose love of romance and chivalry leads him to fantasize that he is a knight errant, roaming the Spanish countryside with his old hag, who imagine as a noble steed. in search of extravagant adventures and glory. Among his many misguided acts of derring-do, he mistakes windmills for giants to be slain with his sword.
He’s a great character, and he’s also a fool: paranoid and unable to distinguish between reality and his fevered imagination.
This brand of paranoia and self-aggrandizement, minus any endearing Don Quixote romanticism, lives on in Roger Stones, Stewart Rhodeses, Enrique Tarrios and the many, many other silly people who played roles in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
As for the Mar-a-Lago man, he’s still tilting at windmills, pretending he won the election, fantasizing about ruling the land again. Here’s hoping he can do it from jail.