According to one journalist, Donald Trump’s recent efforts to divert attention away from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol unwittingly highlighted his own complicity.
“In an interview with the far-right cable channel One America News that was released on the anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, former president Donald Trump spent four minutes complaining about the media’s failure to cover the size of the crowd at his speech shortly before the riot began,” Philip Bump reported for The Washington Post.
According to Bump, Trump’s presidency began with a false claim about the size of the crowd, with Sean Spicer falsely asserting, “I am saying it is the total largest audience witnessed in person and around the globe.”
Spicer did not lie, according to Kellyanne Conway, but only provided “alternative facts.” Bump went on to point out the inconsistencies in Trump’s claims about crowd size.
“So, in short order: the Ellipse speech crowd was a million people, the biggest crowd ever by some multiple of times, but the media is downplaying it as they did with his inaugural crowd — which, at the time, he said was probably 1.5 million people,” he reported.
Trump has an explanation for why such a large gathering was not being covered.
“Why don’t they show the real crowd that was there on Jan. 6?” Trump asked, about four minutes into his discussion of this important issue. “The crowd of people that was the biggest I’ve ever seen. I haven’t seen any — you can hardly get a picture. We’re trying to find pictures. They have censored the pictures. They don’t want to show that crowd because that shows what it was all about. They were there over a rigged election.”
Bump went on to explain how Trump is “trying to reframe the day’s events from the riot to the frustration over the election. But, of course, those things are inseparable. The point is entirely that Trump brought thousands of people to Washington and convinced them that the election was stolen. Then some of those people broke into the Capitol to keep him in power while Trump watched on television from the White House. That Trump made everyone so furious and then encouraged them to show up is exactly the issue.”
“Well, then there’s the other reason Trump wants to talk about crowd size: He likes to present himself as popular without precedent. So, his presidency is bookended by mirrored claims. He was far more popular on Day 1 than the press will tell you and he was far more popular on his last significant day in office as well. As always, the story isn’t the crowd but why the crowd was important to Trump,” he wrote.