Trump’s attempt to cast January 6 rioters as ‘warriors’ is reckless nonsense

It took an especially creative kind of con man — an ad man, perhaps — to spin the day of the anti-democracy mob riot at the United States Capitol as “J6.”

That’s a brand name that sounds like it would sell, rather than stink up the place.

But to label the mob members themselves not as criminals but as “warriors” — well, there’s a truly creative reversal of the actual truth.

A warrior is a brave or experienced fighter.

The Oxford English Dictionary uses this phrase to put the word into context: “the warrior heroes of ancient Greece.”

Ancient Greece is where democracy was invented.

Jan. 6, 2021 was the day American democracy — the greatest iteration of what the Athenians originally wrought — was desecrated by a horde of variously deluded or simply cynical rioters ginned up by the outgoing president into trying to overturn a free and fair election that he lost by many millions of votes.

And, yet: In what in a rational political world would be viewed as a rather unfortunate event best not spoken of again, that same former president is campaigning for a return to the White House as if the riot were a positive plank in his platform rather than the worst disaster to befall the Republican Party since Watergate.

“Those J6 warriors — they were warriors — but they were really, more than anything else, they’re victims of what happened,” Donald Trump said at a Las Vegas rally earlier this month.

Yes, “victims” is also an interesting choice of words, since it was Trump himself at a pity-party rally right before the riot who told them to go down to the Capitol, where he promised to soon join them, in an effort to overturn the legitimate vote.

“All they were doing is protesting a rigged election. That’s what they were doing,” Trump then said.

No, it isn’t. The election wasn’t rigged. Post-election, after the Trump campaign filed various lawsuits claiming election fraud, over 60 judges, including ones appointed by Trump, rejected challenges to the election results.

Not a single one found that there was fraud.

Every state, even the most conservative of them, certified their election results.

Along with warriors, “hostages” is another favorite Trump description of the poor souls deluded by his propaganda into participating in a brawl in which about 140 police officers were injured while attempting to protect the Capitol.

He wrote in March that, if reelected this November, an early task would be to “Free the January 6 Hostages being wrongfully imprisoned!”

They aren’t hostages. More than 700 of them have pleaded guilty to federal charges.

And yet to Trump, this tragedy in their personal lives — a tragedy for which he is entirely at fault — is simply more grist for his campaign mill.

He opens some of his political rallies with “Justice for All,” a recording that is an amalgam of himself reciting the Pledge of Allegiance interspersed with the 20 members of the J6 Prison Choir singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” from behind bars as recorded on a jailhouse phone.

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At a previous campaign rally, Trump said of the Capitol rioters, “You have police officers, you have firemen, you have teachers, you have electricians, you have great people, and they’ve been made to pay a price that is very unfair.”

And then during the same speech, he tried to have it both ways, falsely claiming that it was really “BLM” and “Antifa” who were behind the riot.

And right there you have the crux of the matter. Deep down, Trump knows that the deadly rampage that he himself created was — whatever else it was — a political disaster that in itself should disqualify him from ever seeking elected office again. Democracy takes place at the ballot box, not by urging a mob to go after your own vice president and the entire United States Congress in order to overturn a legitimate vote.

But a con man doesn’t imagine he plays by the same rules as the rest of us. He thinks he can survive by the art of rhetorical spin. All too often, he is not wrong.

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