Thursday, January 07, 2021

Fact-checking what's been said about the Capitol riot

Rumors and misinformation are thick on the ground after yesterday's events at the Capitol (which leadership at The Associated Press says may be called a riot or insurrection). Here's fact-checking:

Before the riot, President Trump held a rally a mile and a half from the Capitol and gave a speech full of falsehoods about election fraud, reports. Trump falsely claimed that Pennsylvania had 205,000 more ballots than it had voters. But that figure comes from a flawed, partisan analysis based on incomplete and inaccurate data, FactCheck reports. He made numerous other repeatedly debunked false claims about excessive, fraudulent and illegally counted ballots in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona, which you can read about here. Trump also falsely claimed that Vice President Mike Pence could reject Electoral College results.

Trump encouraged his supporters at the rally to walk to the Capitol. The march soon turned destructive, leaving four people dead and forcing members of Congress, staff and journalists to flee as rioters broke windows, ransacked offices, and stole Capitol property.

Here is fact-checking on the siege from PolitiFact:
  • Some commentators and legal experts have called the riot sedition. By federal law, sedition is when two or more people conspire to "overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States … or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof."
  • Some Trump supporters claimed on social media that those who stormed the Capitol were antifa activists in disguise. But there's no evidence of that, and multiple videos and photographs taken on the scene feature well-known Trump supporters such as Jake Angeli. The Washington Post has a full-scale story knocking down that notion.
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said Trump "explicitly called for demonstrations and protests to be peaceful." Trump told his supporters "I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard." But Trump also said during his speech, "You'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing."

No comments: