The evidence that a Trump-supported mob attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 is irrefutable. Many GOP officials at all levels and branches of government immediately condemned the assault on American democracy. But the event was a stain on the Republican Party, and it had to be neutralized. When phoned by Congressman McCarthy, who described the serious nature of the attack including the threat to Vice President Pence, the President's initial response was to claim it was the work of Antifa. McCarthy asserted that it was Trump supporters. This first erasure attempt failed.
Without getting into the particulars of the impeachment trial process efforts were made to disconnect Trump and by association the Republican Party from the insurrection. Freedom of speech claims were made to lessen a direct connection to the mobs subsequent actions. This erasure attempt proved feeble and was ridiculed by scholars across the political spectrum. Mitch McConnell's post trial condemnation of Donald Trump while very accurate was too little too late.
The Trump legal team also tried to create a sense of equivalency. They shared video of Democratic officials making comments equivalent to those uttered by Trump. These officials were not criticized claimed the lawyers because they were exercising their first amendment rights as was Trump. A major problem: Donald Trump was President of the United States and he was seeking to stop a constitutionally required action by the Congress. He used the power of his office a circumstance not available to anyone else. This erasure strategy didn't work.
But as the recent column of Adriana Cohen in the Star Democrat makes clear, conservative columnists and commentators are using these false equivalencies to wash away Trump's responsibility to the constitution. Erasure efforts continue.
One of the strangest erasure strategies is the claim by Sen. Johnson from Wisconsin, who said the attack was not by an armed mob. Numerous firearms and other explosive devices were found in the vehicles of many in the mob. Moreover being armed is not restricted to firearms. Baseball bats, riot gear, bear spray, the use of metal poles and other items found in the rampage qualify as arms. This is a pathetic attempt to minimize the violence.
The images of a riotous mob descending on the Capitol urged on by a President with the subsequent support of a Republican Party majority will exist forever. Erasure attempts can't remove what has been etched in the minds of Americans.
VINCENT DE SANCTIS