February 7, 2023

JANUARY 6th REPORTS: Part 7 — Trump cosplays Nero, chugging Diet Cokes as Capitol burns

JANUARY 6th REPORTS: Part 7 — Trump cosplays Nero, chugging Diet Cokes as Capitol burns

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187 minutes.


That’s the key figure to remember for January 6th.

For 187 minutes, Donald Trump did nothing to safeguard the Capitol as it was under attack.

His supporters like to say he did nothing wrong, but what he really did was nothing at all – and that shows just how wrong he was.

It’s said that Nero fiddled as Rome burned.

That’s actually a historical inaccuracy – the fiddle wasn’t even around yet.

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And it’s debated to this day what role Nero may have had in the fire and whether it was set at his direction, though he himself was over thirty miles away when it began.

In Trump’s case, though, we know he set the fire: it was Trump who sent his rabid supporters to Congress and Trump who withheld any protection.

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While the Capitol was being ransacked, Trump spent those 187 minutes doing nothing to stop it all.

If he really didn’t want his supporters to attack, why would he do nothing once they did?

In previous parts of this series, we’ve gone over how Trump’s lies created anger amongst his base; how he tried to pressure state officials to overturn the election results; how he brought extremists to Washington, and how those extremists took his instructions to “fight” and “stop the steal” as his signal to attack.

Now we’re going to look at all of the nothing that Trump did to stop the violence he so obviously wanted to occur on his behalf.

After Trump finished his incitement speech, he went back to the White House and was informed by staff there at 1:21pm that the Capitol was under attack.

His response, as noted in the January 6 Committee Report on page 592: “Oh, really? All right, let’s go see.”

No concern. No worry. No move to take emergency action. Instead he would spend most of the next several hours watching his dirty work unfold on TV and drinking Diet Coke.

Just after 2 p.m., the attackers began busting into the Capitol and Mike Pence was told he had to evacuate from the Senate chamber.

Immediately after, Pelosi, Schumer, and other Congressional leaders are also ushered to safety at undisclosed locations.

Rather than look to quell the situation, Trump issued his infamous tweet about Pence:

“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving states a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”

White supremacist Nick Fuentes read the tweet aloud to the crowd around the Capitol on a bullhorn.

Seeing the tweet, a Secret Service agent told other agents that it was “probably not going to be good for Pence.”

Trump did this, keep in mind, while his supporters were already looking to hang Pence.

Between 2:26 p.m. and 3:06.p.m., the president spoke with Kevin McCarthy, who pleaded with him to do something to protect Congress and call his mob off.

Trump’s response: “Well, Kevin, I guess they’re just more upset about the election theft than you are.”

Trump advisor Eric Herschmann, unable to make any headway in getting the president to actually do something to stop the violence, appealed to Ivanka Trump to intervene.

After much pleading with her father, she got him to send out the brief “stay peaceful” tweet:

He would send a similar tweet again at 3:13 p.m.

Meanwhile, messages were pouring into Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’s phone from everyone from Laura Ingraham to Marjorie Taylor Greene asking that POTUS take more action – or any action, for that matter.

Even Donald Trump, Jr. sent Meadows the following messages (with *his* grammatical gaffes):

2:53 p.m.: “He’s got to condem this shit. Asap. The captiol police tweet is not enough.”

4:05 p.m.: “We need an oval address. He has to lead now. It’s gone too far and gotten out of hand”

But Trump continued to do nothing.

It wasn’t until around the time of Jr’s second message – just after 4 p.m. – when the attack was essentially over, that Trump finally put together a video asking people to “go home now.”

But before he said that, he made sure to tell them all once again that the election had been stolen and to justify their hurt and anger.

The report concludes: “Here’s what President Trump did not do: He did not call any relevant law enforcement agency to ensure they were working to quell the violence. He did not call the Secretary of Defense; he did not call the Attorney General; he did not call the Secretary of Homeland Security. And for hours on end, he refused the repeated requests—from nearly everyone who talked to him—to simply tell the mob to go home.”

Because of Trump’s purposeful inaction, Nancy Pelosi had to call on other sources for help:

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No wonder she wanted to punch Trump in the face:

Nancy, you’re not the only one – you may have to get in line.

At this point, there is no doubt that Donald Trump sought to interfere with and overturn a federal election and that he committed an act of treason against the US government – in addition to his many other crimes.

If he doesn’t go to prison, it will be a powerful statement against our system of justice.

Ross will continue to fight the Orange Menace and the GOP liars. But he needs your help! Follow him on Twitter: @RossRosenfeld

Ross Rosenfeld

is a news analysis and opinion writer whose work has also appeared in the New York Daily News and Newsweek. He lives in New York.

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