From The Bulwark, by Amanda Carpenter:
Let’s put the idea to rest that Trump “did nothing” during the 187 minutes the attack on the U.S. Capitol was underway. Thanks to the Jan. 6th Committee’s Thursday hearing, we have a very good idea of exactly what Trump did.
Briefly, here it is:
- At 1:19 p.m., Trump arrived back at the White House after delivering his remarks on the Ellipse, in which he told his supporters to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell.” He was notified there was violence at the Capitol. Trump reacted by making himself comfortable in the White House dining room in front of a television playing Fox News. He ordered the White House photographer not to take any photos.
- At 1:49 p.m. D.C. Metropolitan Police declared there was a riot at the Capitol. At that same moment, Trump tweeted a video of his “fight like hell” speech at the Ellipse so his followers would hear his inciting message once again.
- The Senate adjourned at 2:13 p.m. At 2:24 p.m., Trump tweeted: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done.” Two minutes later, Pence was evacuated to a secure location.
- As senators scurried out of the chamber, Trump dialed up GOP Sens. Tommy Tuberville and Josh Hawley to encourage them to delay counting Electoral College votes.
- White House call logs are mainly empty but show that he also called Rudy Giuliani twice that day. He did not call make any calls to the Defense Secretary, Attorney General, or Department of Homeland Security Secretary.
- Trump accepted a call from a then-House “scared” GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, who begged him for help. Trump promptly ignored McCarthy’s pleas for help and, according to Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, told McCarthy: “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”
- As White House Counsel Pat Cipollone testified, Trump ignored all the staff who wanted the rioters to leave the Capitol. When specifically asked by the committee if Trump wanted the rioters to go, Cipollone could not answer “yes” and, painfully, struggled to invoke executive privilege. Cassidy Hutchison said her boss Mark Meadows heard Trump say, “He thinks Mike deserves it, he doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong” about those who wanted to hurt Pence.
- Finally, at 4 p.m. Trump, reluctantly, recorded a video showering the rioters with love, perpetuating the lie about the stolen election, and asking them to go home. Outtakes shown by the committee showed that Trump stumbled to avoid saying the election was over, called the rioters “patriots,” and was careful not to accuse them of wrongdoing. By that point, Pence and congressional leaders–sans GOP leader Kevin McCarthy–were scrambling to take control of the situation. Trump was not part of those conversations, either.
So now everyone can be clear on what Trump did during those 187 minutes. He watched TV, he lobbied senators to delay the vote count, he put a target on Pence’s back, ignored pleas for help, sat around while other leaders organized plans, and then blew the rioters a kiss on their way out the door.
Trump chose not to secure the peace. He, alone, chose violence. He was derelict. That’s pathetic, but it sure ain’t “nothing.”