Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: Cops point to Trump's responsibility for Jan. 6 Capitol mob attack

Posted July 28, 2021 5:00 a.m. EDT
Updated July 28, 2021 9:54 a.m. EDT

CBC Editorial: Wednesday, July 28, 2021; Editorial #8688
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company.


It was certainly not the typical Capitol Hill congressional hearing.

Burly police officers, their voices cracking with emotion, their eyes welling up as they described their efforts to protect the Capitol, members of Congress and staffers as the Jan. 6 insurrectionist mob abused, attacked and assaulted them.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, stammering, choking up, openly crying as they described the fear they felt on that day and their gratitude to the law enforcement officers for their heroic acts in facing up to the President Donald Trump-incited deadly mob.

Here are three takeaways and a clear conclusion from Tuesday’s wrenching testimony before the inaugural meeting of the special committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.

1. Politicians who claim to support the “thin blue line” of law enforcement officers, decry those who chant “defund the police” cannot then ignore or deny the abuses and violence of the Jan. 6 mob. Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges put it directly:

“To my perpetual confusion, I saw the thin blue line flag, a symbol of support for law enforcement more than once being carried by the terrorists as they ignored our commands and continued to assault us.” The rioters smashed his head. “One latched onto my face and got his thumb in my right eye, attempting to gouge it out. I cried out in pain and managed to shake him off before any permanent damage was done.” He later added, “It’s a pathetic excuse for something that he (President Trump) helped create… this monstrosity. I’m still recovering from those hugs and kisses he claims the rioters were giving us that day.”

2. Trump’s baseless and false contention that there was election fraud and he is the true victor is the root of violent and illegal behavior. Here’s how Capitol Police Officer Aquilino Gonell, an Army veteran, sees it:

"For the first time, I was more afraid to work at the Capitol than during my entire Army deployment to Iraq. In Iraq, we expected armed violence, because we were in a war zone. … The rioters called me a ‘traitor,’ a ‘disgrace,’ and shouted that I should be ‘executed.’ … As an immigrant to the United States, I am especially proud to have defended the U.S. Constitution and our democracy on Jan. 6.”

3. The real responsibility rests with Donald Trump, North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn and others who spoke at the Jan. 6 rally, egging the crowd on. Congress must gather the evidence and make sure Trump is brought to trial. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn said the crowd that overran the Capitol security was like a hired killer:

"If a hit man is hired and he kills somebody, the hit man goes to jail. But not only does the hit man go to jail, but the person who hired them does. It was an attack carried out on Jan. 6 and a hit man sent them. I want you to get to the bottom of that."

Michael Fanone of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department offered key testimony.

"Too many are telling me that hell doesn't exist, or that hell wasn't actually that bad. The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful. I was grabbed, beaten, tased, all while being called a traitor to my country. I was at risk of being stripped of and killed with my own firearm, as I heard chants of 'Kill him with his own gun.' I can still hear those words in my head today.”

Trump is unrepentant and even seeming to be delusional about his role in fomenting the deadly violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6. “Personally what I wanted is what they (the Jan. 6 crowd he addressed) wanted,” he told Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Phillip Rucker for their recently published book I Alone Can Fix It. “They showed up just to show support because I happen to believe the election was rigged at a level like nothing has ever been rigged before.”

There was no rigging of the election against him. Even his own lawyers haven’t been able to provide a shred of proof though, even as recently as last week in Arizona, he continued to peddle the lie.

He describes the violent rioters as “A LOVING CROWD, too, by the way. There was a lot of love. I've heard that from everybody. Many, many people have told me that was a loving crowd."

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, the investigative committee’s chair, says the crowd Trump turned on the Capitol wasn’t about love but a threat to the nation’s core. “This threat hasn’t gone away. It looms over our democracy like a dark cloud,” he said.

Rep. Liz Chaney, R-Wyoming, is demanding accountability. “Honorable men and women have an obligation to step forward. If those responsible are not held accountable, and if Congress does not act responsibly, this will remain a cancer on our constitutional republic, undermining the peaceful transfer of power at the heart of our democratic system.”

So, the committee and members of Congress need to do their job. Trump, at a minimum, inspired and urged his followers to overturn a legitimate election. Those followers stormed the Capitol, in a wave of death and destruction, and sought to do just that and Trump as much as anyone is responsible.

Capitol Broadcasting Company's Opinion Section seeks a broad range of comments and letters to the editor. Our Comments beside each opinion column offer the opportunity to engage in a dialogue about this article.

In addition, we invite you to write a letter to the editor about this or any other opinion articles. Here are some tips on submissions >> SUBMIT A LETTER TO THE EDITOR