One of the tidbits about January 6 that came out yesterday was that Fox News hosts were calling Mark Meadows to tell Trump to call off the dogs. “The president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” Laura Ingraham texted to Mark Meadows, for example. “This is hurting all of us.”
This suggests that Ingraham knew good and well that the people attacking the Capitol were Trump’s people. But before the day was over, Ingraham was floating the idea that antifa was responsible for the violence. The New York Times, from March 1:
In fact, the rioters breaking into the citadel of American democracy that day were acolytes of Mr. Trump, intent on stopping Congress from certifying his electoral defeat. Subsequent arrests and investigations have found no evidence that people who identify with antifa, a loose collective of antifascist activists, were involved in the insurrection.
And no such evidence has emerged to this day.
But even as Americans watched live images of rioters wearing MAGA hats and carrying Trump flags breach the Capitol — egged on only minutes earlier by a president who falsely denounced a rigged election and exhorted his followers to fight for justice — history was being rewritten in real time.
Within hours, a narrative built on rumors and partisan conjecture had reached the Twitter megaphones of pro-Trump politicians. By day’s end, Laura Ingraham and Sarah Palin had shared it with millions of Fox News viewers, and Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida had stood on the ransacked House floor and claimed that many rioters “were members of the violent terrorist group antifa.”
Ingraham pronounced on January 6: “Earlier today, the Capitol was under siege by people who can only be described as antithetical to the MAGA movement. Now they were likely not all Trump supporters, and there are some reports that antifa sympathizers may have been sprinkled throughout the crowd.” I got that from today’s Byron York column, btw. York seems to think that Ingraham can’t be criticized for hypocricy because she didn’t claim that all the rioters were antifa; just some of them.
The rumor that the real rioters were antifa is probably still believed in some quarters. I am personally grateful that antifa didn’t show up. I wrote on January 2 that January 6 was going to be a dumpster fire. It turned out to be uglier than I imagined. But in all the videos of the rally, the march to the Capitol, and the riot, no counter-protesters appeared.
I suspect Trump’s people expected some lefties to show up. Yesterday we learned that Mark Meadows promised somebody that the National Guard would “protect pro-Trump people.” If there had been counter-protesters, would the Guard have shown up sooner?