Trump's Call for the Mob to Descend on the Capitol Was Not Spontaneous

·3 min read
Photo credit: Bill Clark - Getty Images
Photo credit: Bill Clark - Getty Images

One of the more persistent diversion stories related to the events of January 6, 2021, is the notion that the march on the Capitol was some spontaneous event that got out of hand. The select committee looking into those events held a hearing on Tuesday where we got a great deal of evidence to the contrary. The most glaring element thereof came from a conversation between January 6 rally organizer Kylie Kremer and totally normal pillow salesman Mike Lindell.

This stays between us, we are having a second stage at the Supreme Court again after the [rally at] the Ellipse. POTUS is going to have us march there/the Capitol.

It cannot get out about the second stage because people will try and set up another and Sabotage it. It can also not get out about the march because I will be in trouble with the national park service and all the agencies but POTUS is going to just call for it "unexpectedly"

To me, it seems like a red flag that someone knew Trump would do something "unexpectedly" in advance. It seems like it was very expected among the small group of people who were aware of the plan, and they were determined to keep it "unexpected" for everyone else. Like, say "all the agencies"—like the security apparatus that might otherwise have buttressed the defense of the Capitol in advance, had officials known the mob was coming. (This still does not fully explain how and why they didn't know.) The committee added to the case there was subterfuge by producing evidence of a planned—but scrapped—tweet from Trump advertising the march:

I will be making a Big Speech at 10AM on January 6th at the Ellipse (South of the White House). Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the Steal!!

Why wouldn't Trump want to promote the Capitol march in advance? It was supposed to be just a peaceful gathering of citizens exercising their First Amendment rights!

Some further indications of what was really at work here is evidenced in the changes that were made to Trump's Ellipse speech the night before and off-the-cuff that day. As the committee detailed, the number of mentions of Mike Pence and his duty to singlehandedly overturn the election went way up. So did references to marching on the Capitol. One mention of staying peaceful remained, but Trump's ad libs were incendiary, bordering on apocalyptic:

The takeaway here seems pretty clear. As rally organizer Ali Alexander was also aware, per texts obtained by the committee, Trump decided in advance to call for his mob to march on the Capitol, but he kept this a closely guarded secret. Then, on the day, he spontaneously called for the march, and the mob descended on a Capitol that was severely under-defended. This thread of the story does not fully explain why the building's defense was so inadequate, but it seems clear from his conduct in the lead-up that Trump would have been pleased with that arrangement. After all, he also did not take any action to restore order for hours.

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