Half of Republicans believe deadly U.S. Capitol riot accounts fake-Reuters / Ipsos
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Since the deadly Jan.6 insurgency on Capitol Hill, former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have pushed bogus and misleading accounts to play down the event that left five dead and dozens more wounded. His supporters seem to have listened.
Three months after a crowd of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to undo its November election defeat, about half of Republicans believe the siege was largely a non-violent protest or was the the work of left-wing activists “ trying to portray Trump in a bad light. A new Reuters / Ipsos poll revealed.
Six in 10 Republicans also believe Trump’s false claim that the November presidential election was “stolen” from him due to widespread electoral fraud, and the same proportion of Republicans believe he should run again in 2024, according to the survey of March 30 and 31. .
Since the attack on Capitol Hill, Trump, many of his allies in the Republican Party and right-wing media figures have publicly painted a picture of the day’s events at odds with reality.
Hundreds of Trump supporters, mobilized by the former president’s false allegations of a stolen election, scaled the walls of the Capitol building and smashed windows to enter as lawmakers voted inside to certify electoral victory by President Joe Biden. The rioters – many of whom wore Trump campaign clothes and waved flags – also included well-known white supremacist groups such as the Proud Boys.
In a recent interview with Fox News, Trump said rioters posed “no threat.” Other prominent Republicans, such as Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, have publicly doubted Trump supporters are behind the riot.
Last month, 12 Republicans in the House of Representatives voted against a resolution honoring Capitol Hill police officers who defended the scene during the rampage, with one lawmaker saying he opposed the use of the word ‘insurgency’ to describe the incident.
The Reuters / Ipsos poll shows that a large number of core Republicans have embraced the myth. While 59% of all Americans say Trump bears some responsibility for the attack, only three in ten Republicans agree. Eight in 10 Democrats and six in 10 independents reject false claims that the Capitol siege was “mostly peaceful” or that it was organized by leftist protesters.
âRepublicans have their own version of reality,â said John Geer, a public opinion expert at Vanderbilt University. âIt’s a huge problem. Democracy demands responsibility and accountability demands proof. “
The refusal by Trump and prominent Republicans to repudiate the events of January 6 increases the likelihood of a similar incident happening again, said Susan Corke, director of the intelligence project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.
âThis is the biggest danger – normalizing this behavior,â Corke said. “I think we’re going to see more violence.”
In a new reminder of the security threats facing the U.S. Capitol since Jan.6, a motorist crashed into a car in the U.S. Capitol Police on Friday and brandished a knife, killing one officer and injuring another and forcing the Capitol complex to close. Officers shot and killed the suspect.
Allie Carroll, spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, said its members condemned the attack on Capitol Hill and referred to a Jan. 13 statement by President Ronna McDaniel. “Violence has no place in our politics … Those who participated in the assault on our nation’s Capitol and those who continue to threaten violence should be found, held accountable and prosecuted to the fullest extent. of the law, âMcDaniel said.
A representative for Trump did not respond to requests for comment.
“ DANGEROUS TURN ON REALITY ”
The disinformation campaign aimed at downplaying the insurgency and Trump’s role in it reflects a growing consensus within the Republican Party that his fortune remains attached to Trump and his devoted base, political observers say.
According to the new Reuters / Ipsos poll, Trump remains the most popular figure in the party, with eight in 10 Republicans continuing to have a favorable impression of him.
âCongressional Republicans felt they had to maximize Trump’s vote to win,â said Tim Miller, former spokesman for Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush. “This is the way back to coming of age.”
Republicans in Congress show little sign of breaking with Trump. Right after the deadly siege on Capitol Hill, 147 Republican lawmakers voted against certifying Biden’s election victory. The Democratic-led House of Representatives impeached Trump for “inciting insurgency,” making him the only US president to be impeached twice, but most Republicans in the Senate acquitted him of the charge when he was dismissed. ‘a trial.
Last week, Republican Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana said the party must address the working class voters who make up Trump’s political base ahead of next year’s critical midterm election that will dictate control of Congress.
“MPs who want to swap working class voters because they don’t appreciate President Trump’s impact … are wrong,” Banks wrote in a note to Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy, whose content he posted on Twitter.
Banks was one of 147 lawmakers who voted to block Biden’s certification of victory, and he then voted against Trump’s impeachment. Banks did not respond to requests for comment.
Some mainstream Republicans claim that after Republicans lose both the White House and control of both houses of Congress under Trump’s watch, the party must move from the former president in order to attract suburban voters, moderate and independent.
In the latest Reuters / Ipsos poll, only three in 10 independents said they had a favorable opinion of Trump, among the lowest levels recorded since his presidency. Most Americans – around 60% – also believe Biden won the November ballot and said Trump should not be running again.
Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of Trump’s top Republican critics in Congress, criticized the attempt to rewrite the history of the attack on Capitol Hill.
The disinformation effort is “such a dangerous and disgusting turn of reality,” Kinzinger wrote in a fundraising appeal to supporters last month, “and what’s even worse is that it doesn’t is not disputed by so many members of the Republican Party.
The window for the Republican Party to stand out from Trump appears to have passed, Miller said.
âThere was a chance after Jan. 6 for the Republican leadership to really give up and say, ‘We can’t be the insurgent party,’â he said. “Now that opportunity is totally gone.”
The Reuters / Ipsos poll was conducted online, in English, across the United States. It collected responses from 1,005 adults between March 30 and March 31. The poll has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of about 4 percentage points.
Click here to view the full survey results: tmsnrt.rs/3mnB1Gw
Editing by Soyoung Kim and Alistair Bell