As the tear gas in the Capitol Building cleared on Thursday, Americans were left trying to make sense of the chaos that erupted the day before — and who was to blame. Even as some Republicans blasted their colleagues for stoking election conspiracy theories, the president's own White House staff turned against him, and many conservative publications wrote in no uncertain terms that "the nauseating scene in Washington, D.C., is Trump's fault," Fox News and its ilk have tried to suggest that Wednesday's pro-Trump marauders weren't actually Trump supporters.
But as GEN magazine's Garance Franke-Ruta points out, you don't have to look very far to find evidence of Trump's direct encouragement of the mob that formed yesterday. In fact, you only have to go back a month, to December, when Trump tweeted: "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!"
"Pro-Trump forums are very excited about Trump's call for a mass D.C. protest on the day Congress counts the Electoral College votes," writer Arieh Kovler warned at the time. "Many see it as the mobilization call they've been waiting for." He included screenshots of excited Trump supporters receiving what they perceived to be their "marching order," including plans to "storm the Capitol to stop the certification."
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
"They genuinely believe they are doing it on Trump's orders," Kovler wrote.
Additionally, many known pro-Trump figures and right-wing personalities were easily identifiable in the crowds, BuzzFeed News reports. Trump, for his part, also appeared to sympathize with the mob: "We love you," he told the rioters. "You're very special."
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.