Updated at 6:37 p.m. ET on April 23, 2021.
History is rewritten by the self-styled victims.
Even after more than four years of rationalizing and excusing every violation by the president, Donald Trump’s enablers have their work cut out for them this week, after a mob incited by Trump sacked the U.S. Capitol and disrupted constitutional order. But, undeterred, they are still energetically devoted to the task.*
I warned yesterday that Trump’s remaining allies would seek to memory-hole the January 6 attempted coup and convince people that it didn’t happen the way it did. The whitewashing is already in full motion. Some takes the form of dangerous disinformation—false claims, for example, that antifa was behind the siege and not Trump backers, even though Trump cheered them on. Those are fringe ideas catering to a fringe audience, however, and they mostly serve to muddy the waters.
The more common argument on the mainstream Trump-friendly right is simpler: It contends that what happened wasn’t so bad, and anyway it was someone else’s fault. The real victims, it turns out, are Trump and his supporters.
In an absurd video statement released this morning, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida tried to have it every way he could. He condemned the riot and warned against seeking “political shelter in divisive political movements and in conspiracy theories,” but instantly pivoted to talking about the real problem: the press.
“How do we explain what we saw? How could this happen, here in America?” Rubio asked. “It kind of begins with millions of Americans who voted for President Trump. They saw the nonstop bias and double standard of the legacy media. They see how social-media companies covered up stories negative to Joe Biden. They saw how state officials mutilated election-integrity laws to help the Democrats. The result is you have millions of people who are convinced that the election wasn’t fair, and that the outcome wasn’t legitimate. Millions of people. They wanted something done about it.”