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The Ludicrous Argument Trump ‘Incited’ an Armed Insurrection to ‘Retain Power Against the Will of the American People’

At today’s Senate impeachment trial, the argument was put forth that former President Trump actually incited the capitol uprising in a bid to “retain power against the will of the people.”

This was an argument made by impeachment manager David Cicilline:

While spreading lies about the election outcome in a brazen attempt to retain power against the will of the American people, he incited an armed, angry mob to riot and not just anywhere but here in the seat of our government and and in the capitol during a joint session of Congress when the Vice President presided, while we carried out a peaceful transfer of power, which was interrupted for the first time in our history. This was a disaster of historic proportions.

It is a matter of basic reasoning that one cannot “incite” something that is already in process. Numerous reports indicate the capitol siege was pre-planned and it was carried out by a number of extremist groups.

Thus, impeachment claims that Trump “incited” an insurrection are moot as fallacious cases of post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning, which is Latin for, “after this, therefore because of this.”

During the Capitol riots’ very origins, Trump was giving a speech where he explicitly told the crowd to “peacefully” and “respectfully” protest. His references to “fighting” are boilerplate and commonplace in U.S. politics, and include those Republicans “fighting” for him in the Electoral College.

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And to this very point, the argument that Trump wanted to disrupt the election objections in the Electoral College, where evidence was to be displayed that would give him his best shot of actually retaining “power,” falls apart.

It is divorced from political reality: The president would not send an unarmed mob of disparate groups to the Congress in a desperate bid to “retain power.”

This is who the Democrats argue the president sent to defend his ability to “retain power against the will of the people”:

As Commander-in-Chief, Trump had the most powerful military in the world, formidable intelligence and law enforcement resources at his disposal, and the organizational ability to orchestrate a well-coordinated assault. The riots, on the other hand, were a seemingly spontaneous uprising that was provoked by agitators outside the capitol building while the president was still speaking.

This purported existential threat to the republic was almost completely unarmed. One breathless report by Reuters shows just how ill-prepared this mob of hundreds of people were:

Others were armed during the riot: A police officer said he noticed a bulge on the hip of Christopher Alberts – who was dressed in body armor and carrying a gas mask – as he filed out of the Capitol grounds, according to court records. When they stopped him, they found a loaded handgun. Alberts’ lawyer did not respond to questions about the case.

Two other men, Eric Munchel and Larry Brock, both were photographed inside the Capitol carrying zip ties, commonly used as a handcuff.

Zip ties. Seriously.

Indeed, the only non-Trump supporter killed in the Capitol riot itself was , and authorities are struggling to tie his cause of death to the injury he sustained in the riot.

If the Capitol Police were the only thing keeping the Congressmen from certain death, why were they holding the doors open for the protesters and moving barricades to let them in?

Why did the police merely watch as criminal trespassers took to the chamber of the U.S. senate to deliver a hackneyed speech to patriots?

The aftermath of such a paltry ‘assault’ on the capitol building is so transparently obvious as to border on the ridiculous. It would be a pitiful attempt that would be destined to fail. Trump would gain nothing more than ignominy and censure, including potential impeachment.

It is, ultimately, a ludicrous argument: The capitol riots are not a reflection of the resources at the disposal of a President of the United States desperate to cling to power.




OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.