Congressional Republicans aired fake ‘Jan. 6 were antifa claims
Merely lying about the cause of the damage and the source of the danger to the nation and to their own colleagues might actually be the least of the things Republicans did wrong while going through the Meadows texts. However, how their members of Congress got directly involved in spreading a lie is certainly something any voter could easily understand, even if they missed the intricacies of the coup attempt.
The texts, compiled by Talking Points Memo, show that the first post mentioning antifa or Black Lives Matter in connection with Jan. 6 was actually from Fox News host Laura Ingraham. However, at first, Ingraham only seemed to warn that by encouraging violence against lawmakers and the Capitol, Trump was “destroying his legacy and playing into every stereotype”, causing his supporters to lose any credibility they might have had in themselves. complaining of alleged violence linked to left-wing demonstrations. Minutes later, she was all about simply blaming antifa, including spreading the lies about the source of the violence to her Fox News audience.
Shortly after, Trump adviser Jason Miller laid out the whole plan emphatically, proposing that Trump post a tweet stating that the violence was due to “Rotten apples, probably ANTIFA or other crazed leftists” who “infiltrated today’s peaceful protest against fraudulent vote counting.” Trump would go on to say that “MAGA supporters embrace our police and the rule of law,” even as these supporters beat police with flag poles.
Even as Fox News pundits and Trump advisers spontaneously blamed the left for the actions of their supporters, the same idea occurred to congressional Republicans. These Republicans had no reason to be confused about who was attacking the Capitol. They were there. They could see the screaming crowd waving Confederate flags alongside Trump banners and carrying Auschwitz T-shirts under their MAGA hats. That didn’t stop them. And of course, it started with the usual candidates.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Mark, we don’t think these forwards are ours. We believe they are Antifa. Dressed as Trump supporters.
Greene would follow up the next day with a public assertion that “Antifa got mixed into the crowd and instigated it, and unfortunately people followed.
Louie Gohmert immediately drove to the same location, telling Meadows that “Capitolol police told me last night that they had been warned that today there would be a lot of Antifa in shirts and red Trump hats and they would probably turn violent.” Which only goes to show that when it comes to lying, Gohmert does it to everyone.
Despite any evidence that the Capitol Police ever said such a thing (spoiler: they didn’t), Mo Brooks then took Gohmert’s text and used it to convey his own claims, before deciding more later to lay all the blame for the violence on “right wing militias” who hijacked what was “otherwise a peaceful discussion”. Closer… still not very close.
In an interview with TPM, Brooks went so far as to say:Yes, antifa played a role, but it was very minor. Which is exactly the same as the original lie with the word ‘minor’ attached, as there is still no evidence that antifa, BLM or any other leftist groups played any role in aggression.
Still, just because everyone in the GOP seemed to be waving the antifa flag on January 6 (and after), that doesn’t necessarily make it a conspiracy. As former Republican Congressman Denver Riggleman explained:
“First of all, you had a combination of savvy communicators like Jason Miller who saw the antifa false flag as an opportunity, and he knows Louie Gohmert and Marjorie Taylor Greene are dumb as a bag of stones.”
Would more proof of lies have convinced Marjorie Taylor Greene voters vote against her? Unlikely. After all, they voted for Marjorie Taylor Greene. However, the practice of hiding direct evidence of all these figures’ involvement in a violent insurgency, the underlying coup attempt, and the cover-up of both should certainly have been made available before Election Day.
After all, it would be a real shame if something like three dozen Republican congressmen were to be removed from their seats after being found guilty of conspiracy against the United States. But I think America can handle the cleanup.
Well, that was a great way to end the 2022 election cycle! Co-hosts David Nir and David Beard revel in Raphael Warnock’s win on this week’s episode of Downvoting and dive deep into how it all came together. The Davids dig into the change in turnout between the first and second ballots, what demographic trends in metro Atlanta mean for Republicans, and why Democrats can trace their recent success in Georgia to a race that they lost: the famous Jon Ossoff special election in 2017.
We’re also joined by one of our favorite people, Daily Kos Elections alum Matt Booker, who shares his thoughts on midterms and tells us about his work these days as a pollster. Matt explains some of the key differences between private polls and public data; how customer surveys he was aware of did not predict a red wave; and the mechanics of how researchers set up focus groups. Matt also recalls his time at “DKE University” and how his experience with us prepared him for the wider political world.