The state’s principal buildings have a special meaning not just as architectural structures but as symbols of the government and its power. For the American citizens, the Capitol represents the legislative branch of the government. The Insurrection of the Capitol has become a tragic and unprecedented event in the United States’ history. Supporters of the former President decided to invade the Capitol and take control of the building as a way to protest against the results of the elections. The security, which was understaffed and unprepared, could not halt the insurgence. As a result, five people died, and several others received injuries. Some believe that Trump’s claims about the elections and his commitment to spreading information about him winning the presidency have led to this tragedy. Trump is responsible for the Insurrection of the Capitol on January 6 because he directly incited his supporters with claims that the results of the presidential elections are false.
Politicians have to be mindful of what information they communicate to their supporters. According to Levine, Trump is responsible for the events since he repeatedly claimed that the elections were falsified, which might have had an effect on his supporters. It is not surprising that many voters who wanted Trump to win only relied on his opinion about the fairness of this election. Levine also cited numerous attempts by Trump and his team to claim that elections were falsified in courts and to find other ways of discriminating the results. These actions continued to affect the supporters of the former President further, giving credibility to his claims. Considering the amount of effort that this former President has put into declaring the elections’ results false and the efforts of his team members, his supporters were led to believe that the results of the Presidential elections were falsified. Some of these supporters would not want to examine the available information critically to assess all facts in fear that publications and government agencies try to discredit Trump. In that case, since Trump is responsible for spreading misinformation, he should also be responsible for the consequences of his actions.
Trump’s claims about the elections were not sudden since he has spread information about the potential falsifications before the election as well. According to Levine, “for months, President Trump had been stoking his supporters with claims that the presidential election in November was rigged and victory stolen from him.” Hence, his actions were calculated and targeted a specific aim, which was to prepare the former President’s supporters for actions against the new President. Trump has been preparing his followers for a protest for a prolonged time, which makes him responsible for the latter taking action.
Trump directly asked his supporters to go to the Capitol. In a publication titled “PHOTOS: The Trump Insurrection Of 2021,” the author writes, “Trump encouraged supporters to march to the Capitol and demonstrate against the certification of Biden’s electoral victory” (Conception). Hence, the author believes that the former President is responsible for encouraging the crowd to visit the Capitol, which initiated the subsequent chaos and violence. Although an encouragement to march in a protest does not imply violence and behaviors that may cause harm to others, participation in such actions, especially if they are not officially organized, may result in violence. In this case, Trump only incentivized people to go to the Capital and did not provide them with structure or instructions on how to behave, nor did he come to the meeting himself. Arguably, this resulted in the participants taking control of the process and making decisions on their own. Therefore, as Conception writes, Trump asked people to protest but did not come to support and guide them, which made the event chaotic. This lack of regard for the protesters allows placing some blame on Trump for providing an incentive but not ensuring that the process would be peaceful.
During these events, Trump still held a position in the United States government and could have prevented the insurgence or ensured that the protestors are peaceful by requesting police or military support. Freid discusses the issue of the Capitol insurrection by citing the vast availability of misinformation and the lack of actions from the government to address this problem.
Another issue is that nongovernmental organizations took steps to prevent this former President from posting misinformation online, while government officials did not take any action. Tech companies, on the other hand, such as Twitter, decided to ban former President Trump from their platform after the violent events at the Capitol (Freid). From this perspective, Trump is not the only person responsible for this violence since numerous government agencies and officials did not help prevent the tragic consequences of the insurgence. Other government officials, especially those working in police, military, and intelligence agencies, could have impacted the events. However, Freid argues that the insurance revealed an issue that officials did not know before, which is the inadequate funding of the Capitol’s police and their lack of resources. Still, this revelation supports the argument that some government officials failed to perform their duty and protect the Capitol.
Technology companies have repeatedly tried to address this problem through censorship and banning not verified information from people’s official accounts, while the government persisted in avoiding action. The issue here is the ability of the tech companies, their CEOs, and managers to make decisions that can have a potential state-wide impact. For example, if Twitter was to ban Trump earlier, the latter’s claims might not have received the same amount of attention, and the surge might have been avoided. However, the CEOs of tech companies should not be the guardians of justice and democracy since this is the responsibility of government officials. In the publication by Freid, the author argues that the Capitol surge is not Trump’s fault and instead of a broader issue of lack of government’s input into regulating the information published online. Hence, from this viewpoint, Trump cannot be blamed for the lack of cohesive false information regulation policy and legal responsibility for spreading misinformation in the United States.
Despite the counterarguments, Trump was aware of the power that his words have on his followers and the importance of the Presidential elections. Hence, he could foresee the potential consequences and scenarios of a protest he wanted to have. Binoy writes that the events that took place at the Capitol are an example of a coup d’état organized by the President of the state. In essence, a coup d’etat is a revolution that aims to overthrow the movement, and considering that in the discussed case, the target was the building where the legislations for the United States are created, one may consider this a coup d’etat. Binoy cites a variety of government officials who criticized Trump after the events and argued that he should leave office immediately due to this occurrence. Clearly, a large number of policymakers and other government officials believe that Trump is responsible for the encouragement of the Capitol’s insurgence (Binoy). Trump had the capacity to analyze the consequences of his encouraging protests and the resources to ensure that they are peaceful, yet he did not take action in either case. Therefore, the encouragement from the former President and lack of appropriate response shows that he is responsible for the insurgence of the Capitol.
In summary, Trump is responsible for the events at the Capitol. He repeatedly spread misinformation about the elections using his social media and others means of disseminating information. Moreover, his supporters prepared lawsuits to revert the outcomes of the elections in an attempt to prove that those were falsified. With this, both parties failed to consider the effect that their actions will have on people who support Trump and view him as a credible source of information. Next, Trump directly encouraged a protest but did not come to it himself nor provided the protestors with guidance or support. This resulted in eh events becoming chaotic and the protestors acting on their impulses. On the other hand, the numerous government officials and security forces also did not act to prevent these tragic events and protect the Capitol. Still, the former President majorly contributed to the way the events at the Capitol unfolded and did not do something to prevent violence, which is why he is responsible for the insurgence.
Binoy, Kampmark. “Trump, Insurrections and the 25th Amendment.” International Policy Journal, 2019.