In response to Kent Larson’s recent letter, I believe Donald Trump’s alleged incitement of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol was not just about a few words in one speech but goes back to the months leading up to the election when Trump, despite trailing in all of the polls, started grooming his supporters to believe that he could only lose the election if it was rigged.
After he lost the election, after the recounts were completed, the states had certified their results, the Electoral College had cast its votes, and Trump had exhausted and lost all of his dozens of legal challenges, he continued to falsely claim, with allegations but no actual evidence, that he won the election by a landslide and that his victory had been unfairly stolen from him.
Thus, though I’m sure many of the protesters on Jan. 6 did not intend or expect violence, when Trump urged them to “fight like hell” and “stop the steal,” how else could he have expected his most extreme supporters to interpret his words? How else could they have disrupted Congress’ work that day, which Trump clearly wanted them to do, short of invading the Capitol? The single instance in which Trump used the word “peacefully” during his speech that day was likely obscured by the highly inflammatory rhetoric that characterized most of the speech.
Carole Mataya, Rochester