In a series of public hearings that began on Thursday night, June 9, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bipartisan select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection has been presenting an incredibly damning case against former President Donald Trump — showing how Trump and his authoritarian devotees took extreme measures to keep him in the White House despite the fact that he lost the 2020 election to now-President Joe Biden. Trump, 17 months into Biden’s presidency, continues to audaciously promote the Big Lie and falsely claim that the election was stolen from him. And according to Never Trump conservative Amanda Carpenter, Trump is still saying and doing things to build the committee’s case against him.
Carpenter, in a listicle published by the conservative website The Bulwark on June 21, lays out three ways in which Trump continues to prove that the committee’s arguments against him are spot on: (1) “Trump is still targeting Pence,” (2) “Trump is still defending the rioters,” and (3) “Trump is still using inciteful rhetoric.”
“Since the panel began its public hearings,” Carpenter argues, “Trump has responded by insisting the election was stolen from him, that former Vice President Mike Pence really had the power to keep Trump in office, and that Jan. 6th rioters are being unfairly prosecuted — all of which underscores the committee’s central point that the threat to democracy continues as Trump and his supporters still deny the outcome of the 2020 election and what took place on Jan. 6th. Trump may not be testifying to the committee, but his public reaction to the committee’s work should not be ignored. What Trump is saying basically makes him a witness against himself.”
When former Vice President Mike Pence refused to join Trump and his supporters in promoting the Big Lie, they were furious with him. The insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 believed that Pence had let Dear Leader down, and some of them even set up a hangman’s gallows while chanting, “Hang Mike Pence, hang Mike Pence.”
Trump, Carpenter notes, angrily railed against Pence during a speech at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event on Friday, June 17. The former president told the Christian Right crowd, “Mike Pence had the chance to be great. He had the chance to be, frankly, historic. But just like Bill Barr and the rest of these weak people, Mike — and I say it sadly because I like him — but Mike did not have the courage to act.”
During that June 17 speech, Carpenter adds, Trump vigorously defended the January 6, 2021 rioters.
Trump told attendees, “January 6 defendants are having their lives totally destroyed and (are) being treated worse than terrorists and murderers, despite most being charged with parading through the Capitol. Most people should not be treated the way they are being treated. And if I become president, someday, if I decide to do it, I will be looking at them very, very seriously for pardons. Very, very seriously.”
Carpenter points out that in December 2020, Gabriel Sterling — a conservative Republican and election official in Georgia — warned that inflammatory MAGA rhetoric could lead to violence. Sterling feared, “Someone’s going to get hurt, someone’s going to get shot, someone’s going to get killed — which, Carpenter laments, is “just what happened on Jan. 6th.” And she warns that Trump’s rhetoric hasn’t grown any less inflammatory since then.
In a 12-page response to one of the January 6 committee’s hearings, Trump wrote, “Democrats created the narrative of January 6th to detract from the much larger and more important truth that the 2020 Election was Rigged and Stolen…. This entire charade of the Unselect Committee is a brazen attempt to detract the public’s attention from the truth. The truth is that Americans showed up in Washington, D.C. in massive numbers (but seldom revealed by the press), on January 6th, 2021, to hold their elected officials accountable for the obvious signs of criminal activity throughout the Election. Those who are supposed to be public servants are using the power of government against the people who entrusted them with the power. We’ve been betrayed.”
Sterling is among the witnesses who is testifying for the January 6 committee.
“If he’d like to talk about Trump’s inciteful rhetoric and pressure on Republican officials,” Carpenter observes, “he doesn’t have to stick to events that took place before Jan. 6th. Trump keeps giving us more examples.”