Despite brutal video, only GOP minority say 1/6 very violent
WASHINGTON (AP) – The fights – so primitive and fierce one Capitol police officer described it as “medieval” and another as “a trip to hell” – left over 100 law enforcement personnel injured, some beaten with their own weapons.
Video cameras captured the violence live, with rioters clubbing officers with flags and fire extinguishers, even hugging one between doors as he begged for his life.
Yet almost a year after the siege of January 6 According to a new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, only about 4 in 10 Republicans remember the attack on supporters of then-President Donald Trump as very violent or extremely violent. About 3 in 10 Republicans say the attack was not violent, and about 3 in 10 say it was somewhat violent.
Their views were a distinct minority as overall about two-thirds of Americans described the day as very or extremely violent, including about 9 in 10 Democrats.
The results reflect the political polarization of the country, with a misrepresentation of the siege that settles despite numerous images showing the ransacking of the building in heartbreaking detail. Trump and some allies in Congress and the conservative media downplayed him, falsely qualifying the attack as a minor civil disturbance.
This is a view shared by many Republicans, although few go so far as to defend the rioters themselves.
“I thought it was mostly pretty peaceful,” Paul Bender, a self-proclaimed Cleveland conservative, told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “I have seen videos of people walking through a velvet rope.”
Bender, who said he was not following the media coverage, added: “There were definitely some outrageous people who weren’t peaceful and smashing windows and stuff like that, but I wasn’t in. current of overt violence. “
Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans who blame Trump for the Jan. 6 riot has increased slightly over the past year, with 57% of them saying he bears significant responsibility for what happened. In an AP-NORC poll conducted in the days following the attack, 50% said so.
The rise is also seen among Republicans, although relatively few believe Trump bears significant responsibility. Twenty-two percent say so now, up from 11% last year. Sixty percent say he had little or no responsibility.
“I don’t think he actively encouraged people to do anything other than a peaceful protest,” said Bender, 53. “However, once things got out of hand, I think it would have been appropriate for him to react sooner, whether it was a statement or a radio or television appearance or whatever.”
Insurgency was the final act of Trump’s desperate effort to undo his electoral defeat against Joe Biden. After Trump’s baseless allegations of voter fraud were categorically rejected by the courts, he focused on Electoral College certification on Jan.6, publicly pressuring then-Vice President Mike Pence to prevent Congress from naming Biden the winner. Pence did not have that power under the law, as the vice president’s office is largely ceremonial.
Trump promoted the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the attack, predicting it would be “savage,” and in a speech that day urged his supporters to “fight like hell.” that Congress met to certify the election results. The attack interrupted this process for hours as rioters occupied the building.
Yet while few Republicans blame Trump, Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly say that individual rioters had a great deal or a great deal of responsibility for their actions during the riot.
“I think there were strong supporters of President Trump who were there, but I think the people who caused the attacks may not have been true supporters of Trump,” said Mary Beth Bell of Jacksonville. , in Florida. “Because I know a lot of Trump supporters, and they see what happened on January 6 as disgusting as I do.”
About 7 in 10 Americans also say that a select House committee should continue to investigate the attack, while around 3 in 10 say it shouldn’t.
Robert Spry, a Democrat from Kingman, Ariz., Said the congressional investigation was crucial to uncovering the truth.
“We need a full report from that day. You have to shine a light on what these people did to the police and to this building, ”Spry said.
The 63-year-old, who used to vote Republican but now considers himself a conservative Democrat, said the protest turned into an attack seemed chaotic at first, but the committee’s findings show “increasingly clearly that ‘it was planned in advance’. “
Forty-one percent of Republicans agree with Spry that Congress should continue to investigate, while 58 percent say it shouldn’t.
Bell said a federal investigation into what she considered “a terrorist attack” was appropriate, but she objects to the way the nine-member panel has conducted the investigation since July of last year.
“They don’t listen to all the news. I feel like it’s more or less one-sided to try to investigate everything, ”she said of the committee, made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi chose all committee members after rejecting House GOP leadership choices.
Representative Bennie Thompson, Democratic chair of the committee, said it is important for Americans to know that Democrats first tried to create a bipartisan commission with an equal number of members from each party. But Republicans in the Senate blocked its passage.
“It is only because the Republican leadership has failed in this country that President Pelosi has had to step in and do what is in the best interest of the country to ensure that we produce a committee that examines the facts and circumstances. Jan. 6, ”Thompson said.
The AP-NORC survey of 1,089 adults was conducted December 2-7 using a sample drawn from the AmeriSpeak probability-based NORC panel, which is designed to be representative of the American population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.