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How Right-Wing Radio Stoked Anger Before the Capitol Siege
Shows hosted by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other talk radio stars promoted debunked claims of a stolen election and urged listeners to “fight back.”

Two days before a mob of Trump supporters invaded the United States Capitol, upending the nation’s peaceful transition of power and leaving at least five people dead, the right-wing radio star Glenn Beck delivered a message to his flock of 10.5 million listeners: “It is time to fight.”

“It is time to rip and claw and rake,” Mr. Beck said on his Jan. 4 broadcast. “It is time to go to war, as the left went to war four years ago.”

A former Fox News host, Mr. Beck had speculated for weeks about baseless claims of voter fraud in the presidential race. He told listeners that Donald J. Trump had taught conservatives that “you don’t have to cower anymore, you don’t have to back down when ridiculed into oblivion. You can fight back.”

Mr. Beck did not lobby for his listeners to invade the Capitol, and a day later, he urged marchers in Washington “to really kind of channel your inner Martin Luther King,” adding that violence is “just not who we’ve ever been.” But the language he used on his Jan. 4 show was typical of the aggressive rhetoric that permeated conservative talk radio in the weeks before the Washington siege.

Talk radio is perhaps the most influential and under-chronicled part of right-wing media, where the voices of Mr. Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and other star hosts waft through the homes, workplaces and commutes of tens of millions of listeners. Before the riot, the shows were often unrestrained forums for claims of rigged voting machines and a liberal conspiracy to steal the presidency for Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Mark Levin, who reaches an estimated 11 million listeners a week, said in a Christmas broadcast that stealing elections “is becoming the norm for the Democrat Party” and called on his listeners to “crush them, crush them. We need to kick their ass.”

Bill Cunningham, a syndicated host in Cincinnati, told listeners on Jan. 4: “I will never surrender and collapse and act as if it’s OK when hundreds of thousands have voted illegally.” On Jan. 5, as Trump supporters started to converge on Washington, Dan Bongino, the host of a popular podcast and nationally syndicated radio show, said that Democrats “rigged the rules to make sure that any potential outcome would go their way.”

Mr. Bongino took pains to tell his audience they should ignore his use of the phrase “Vice President-elect Kamala Harris” during a recent appearance on Fox News, where he is a frequent guest. “I’m conceding nothing!” he said, blaming the “gaffe” on a network teleprompter.

That clarification hinted at the often unguarded nature of talk radio, where hosts indulge in edgier fare than on TV networks like Fox News and listeners call in to say what they really think, insulated from the scrutiny of people they disagree with.

The result is something of an id of American conservative thought. Hosts’ intemperate remarks on race, immigration and other subjects lend the shows a renegade feel and keep listeners loyal and emotionally invested.

... Just as Mr. Trump echoed the blunt language of talk radio, its hosts defended the president’s acidic language and frequent falsehoods — even when he claimed, without evidence, that the election had been stolen.

Leading radio anchors did not explicitly urge an assault on the Capitol, and Mr. Trump often spoke more brazenly than his media counterparts, including in a speech to his supporters in Washington just before the riot. But it was no accident that regular listeners to Mr. Limbaugh and others believed that a grave misdeed had occurred in the 2020 vote count.

... Like other hosts who depend on a corporate paycheck, Mr. Limbaugh often hedges before his language goes too far. Later in the Dec. 16 episode, when a caller urged a march on Washington on Jan. 6, Mr. Limbaugh said, “I have mixed emotions about it” and suggested that electoral wins would be more effective.

This type of push-and-pull — stoking listeners’ anger, then pulling back and disavowing the more extreme views voiced by callers — is typical of corporate right-wing radio hosts, whose success relies on provocation but whose multimillion-dollar paychecks depend on staying within the bounds of their publicly traded distributors.
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‘There’s Nothing Left’: Why Thousands of Republicans Are Leaving the Party
Voting registration data indicates a stronger-than-usual flight from the G.O.P. since the Capitol riot, with an intensely fluid period in American politics now underway.

In the days after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the phone lines and websites of local election officials across the country were jumping: Tens of thousands of Republicans were calling or logging on to switch their party affiliations.

In California, more than 33,000 registered Republicans left the party during the three weeks after the Washington riot. In Pennsylvania, more than 12,000 voters left the G.O.P. in the past month, and more than 10,000 Republicans changed their registration in Arizona.

An analysis of January voting records by The New York Times found that nearly 140,000 Republicans had quit the party in 25 states that had readily available data (19 states do not have registration by party). Voting experts said the data indicated a stronger-than-usual flight from a political party after a presidential election, as well as the potential start of a damaging period for G.O.P. registrations as voters recoil from the Capitol violence and its fallout.

... The biggest spikes in Republicans leaving the party came in the days after Jan. 6, especially in California, where there were 1,020 Republican changes on Jan. 5 — and then 3,243 on Jan. 7. In Arizona, there were 233 Republican changes in the first five days of January, and 3,317 in the next week. Most of the Republicans in these states and others switched to unaffiliated status.

Voter rolls often change after presidential elections, when registrations sometimes shift toward the winner’s party or people update their old affiliations to correspond to their current party preferences, often at a department of motor vehicles. Other states remove inactive voters, deceased voters or those who moved out of state from all parties, and lump those people together with voters who changed their own registrations. Of the 25 states surveyed by The Times, Nevada, Kansas, Utah and Oklahoma had combined such voter list maintenance with registration changes, so their overall totals would not be limited to changes that voters made themselves. Other states may have done so, as well, but did not indicate in their public data.

... But the tumult at the Capitol, and the historic unpopularity of former President Donald J. Trump, have made for an intensely fluid period in American politics. Many Republicans denounced the pro-Trump forces that rioted on Jan. 6, and 10 Republican House members voted to impeach Mr. Trump. Sizable numbers of Republicans now say they support key elements of President Biden’s stimulus package; typically, the opposing party is wary if not hostile toward the major policy priorities of a new president.

“Since this is such a highly unusual activity, it probably is indicative of a larger undercurrent that’s happening, where there are other people who are likewise thinking that they no longer feel like they’re part of the Republican Party, but they just haven’t contacted election officials to tell them that they might change their party registration,” said Michael P. McDonald, a professor of political science at the University of Florida. “So this is probably a tip of an iceberg.”

But, he cautioned, it could also be the vocal “never Trump” reality simply coming into focus as Republicans finally took the step of changing their registration, even though they hadn’t supported the president and his party since 2016.

... Though the volume of voters leaving the G.O.P. varied from state to state, nearly every state surveyed showed a noticeable increase. In Colorado, roughly 4,700 Republican voters changed their registration status in the nine days after the riot. In New Hampshire, about 10,000 left the party’s voter rolls in the past month, and in Louisiana around 5,500 did as well.

Even in states with no voter registration by party, some Republicans have been vocal about leaving.
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Impeachment manager says Trump acted like a 'fire chief' on the day of the Capitol riot and sent 'a mob not to yell fire in a crowded theater, but to actually set the theater on fire'
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin rejected that Trump's January 6 speech was protected by the First Amendment.
  • Raskin said Trump acted like a fire chief who sent a mob to burn down a theater.
  • Trump's lawyers have defended his provocative remarks on free speech grounds.
Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin during the second day of former President Donald Trump's Senate trial fervently rejected the notion that Trump was exerting his right to free speech during a provocative speech ahead of the Capitol riot.

Raskin referenced the analogy of falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater, which has often been cited in a legal context to contend that some speech is not protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. What the former president did on January 6 was worse, he added.

"This case is much worse than someone who falsely shouts fire in a crowded theater. It's more like a case where the town fire chief, who's paid to put out fires, sends a mob not to yell fire in a crowded theater, but to actually set the theater on fire," Raskin said, making the case that Trump used his influence as president to provoke the Capitol attack and cannot be portrayed as an average US citizen.

The Maryland Democrat said Trump "encouraged the mob to continue its rampage and watched the fire spread on TV with glee and delight."

"This case is not about blaming an innocent bystander ... this is about holding accountable the person singularly responsible for inciting the attack," Raskin said of Trump, who was impeached for a second time on January 13 for inciting the violent insurrection. Trump's lawyers have contended that he did not incite the Capitol attack and that his speech was protected by the First Amendment.

Though the First Amendment broadly protects the right to free speech and freedom of expression in the US, there are limitations or examples of "unprotected" speech.
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Republican senators doodled, put their feet up, and read while Democratic impeachment managers made their case against Trump
  • Several GOP senators appeared to distract themselves as Democrats presented their impeachment case against Trump.
  • A maskless Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican, doodled and drew a picture of what appeared to be the Capitol building.
  • Sen. Mike Braun, an Indiana Republican, appeared to be falling asleep at certain points during the argument.
Several Republican senators appeared to distract themselves on Wednesday afternoon as the Democratic House impeachment managers laid out their argument that former President Donald Trump should be impeached for inciting a deadly mob to attack the Capitol.

Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, doodled and drew a picture of what appeared to be the Capitol building, according to reporters in room. Paul wasn't present in the chamber during much of a later portion of the arguments. During a 15-minute break, he was seen delivering a folded note to one of Trump's attorneys, according to ABC News' Allison Pecorin.

Both Paul and Sen. Cynthia Lummis, a Wyoming Republican, didn't wear face masks on the Senate floor for much of the proceedings.

NBC News' Kasie Hunt reported that Sen. Mike Braun, an Indiana Republican, appeared to fall asleep at certain points during the argument, while Sen. Rick Scott, a Florida Republican, studied what looked like a map of Southeast Asia.

Sen. Josh Hawley, who voted against the certification of the electoral college count after the riot, was spotted with his feet up on the back of a seat in front of him while sitting in the gallery above the Senate floor, according to NBC's Garrett Haake. Hawley appeared to read documents in manila folders as the arguments played out.

... Hunt noted that all of the Republican senators appeared to pay attention when Rep. Joe Neguse, one of the impeachment managers, played clips of Jan. 6 rioters saying they were inspired by Trump to attack the Capitol.

Pecorin noted that Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican who voted with Democrats to proceed with the impeachment trial on Tuesday, was the most voracious note-taker in the chamber.
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'Shocking violence, bloodshed, and pain': Impeachment manager warns parents about letting children watch graphic footage from the Capitol attack
  • The lead House impeachment manager warned parents about letting kids watch Trump's Senate trial.
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin warned that graphic footage from the Capitol riot would be shown.
  • "The insurrection brought shocking violence, bloodshed, and pain in the nation's capitol," Raskin said.
"Because the insurrection brought shocking violence, bloodshed, and pain in the nation's capitol, and we will be showing relevant clips of the mob's attack on police officers and other innocent people, we do urge parents and teachers to exercise close review of what young people are watching here — and please watch along with them if you're allowing them to watch," Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland said.
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Impeachment manager chokes up describing 'terrifying banging' on House chamber doors amid Capitol attack
  • Rep. Madeleine Dean teared up as she discussed the Capitol attack during Trump's impeachment trial.
  • Dean said she would "never forget" the "terrifying banging" she heard on the House chamber doors.
  • "The truth is, this attack never would've happened but for Donald Trump," Dean said.
Impeachment manager Rep. Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania on Wednesday became emotional as she recounted the Capitol attack and what it was like to be in the House chamber as a pro-Trump mob descended upon the building.

Speaking during the second day of former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, Dean said, "So they came, draped in Trump's flag, and used our flag, the American flag, to batter and to bludgeon. And at 2:30, I heard that terrifying banging on House chamber doors. For the first time in more than 200 years, the seat of our government was ransacked on our watch."

... "This was not just one speech. This was weeks and weeks of deliberate effort by Donald Trump to overturn the election results so that he didn't have to give up the presidency," Dean said.
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120 anti-Trump Republicans are in talks to form a center-right third party that would run on 'principled conservatism,' report says
  • More than 120 Republicans discussed forming a third party during a Zoom call, Reuters reported.
  • The anti-Trump group said the party would focus on "principled conservatism."
  • The group includes former elected officials and people who worked for Trump and other Republican presidents.
"Large portions of the Republican Party are radicalizing and threatening American democracy," Evan McMullin, the former chief policy director for the House Republican Conference, told Reuters. McMullin, who also ran for president as an independent in 2016, said he co-hosted the call.

"The party needs to recommit to truth, reason, and founding ideals or there clearly needs to be something new," McMullin said.

Those on the call included former elected officials and people that served in presidential administrations, including under Trump, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan, sources told Reuters.

The news comes as the Republican Party reckons with a growing division from within between Trump loyalists and traditional Republicans.

... People who were on the call told Reuters they were bothered that so many Congressional Republicans voted against certifying the election results, even after the mob had attacked the building.

Reuters reported Trump spokesman Jason Miller, when asked about the possible anti-Trump party, said, "These losers left the Republican Party when they voted for Joe Biden."

Some possible names for the new party are the Integrity Party and the Center Right Party, according to Reuters.
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Trump was in a 'really good mood' and mocked Democrats as he watched harrowing videos of the Capitol riot on day 2 of his impeachment trial, report says
  • Senators were shaken as they watched footage from the Capitol riot at Trump's impeachment trial Wednesday.
  • But Trump, watching the trial from Florida, was unmoved and mocking Democrats, per The Daily Beast.
  • A source close to Trump laughed when asked by CNN if he had shown any remorse for the riot.
On Wednesday, House impeachment managers showed never-before-seen footage from last month's Capitol riot — including clips of Vice President Mike Pence and senators being rushed to safety to evade the mob.

The footage was enough to bring a silence over the Senate chamber as they were played during the second day of former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, and one senator was even brought to tears.

... Trump also thought the Democrats' presentations were "terrible" and marked a "massive drop-off in quality," Miller told The Daily Beast.

When the new footage was shown, Trump kept sneering, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Daily Beast. He also showed contempt for one of the impeachment managers, Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, whom he called "pathetic," the source said.

The source added that Trump privately said he thought the videos were manipulative and being used to divide the country.

Meanwhile, a source close to Trump told CNN the former president still hasn't expressed any regret over the riot.

When asked if Trump had shown any remorse, the source laughed and said there's no greater offense to Trump than saying "sorry."

The source acknowledged to CNN that the facts of the case are "really bad" and that the new videos shown at the trial on Wednesday were "undeniably powerful."
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or Trump-ism

Trumpism refers to the nontraditional political philosophy and approach espoused by Donald Trump and his supporters. The term Trumpism can also be used to directly refer to an outrageous or idiosyncratic statement made by Donald Trump.

Trump, whom many observers consider an anomaly, left the White House by saying, “We will be back in some form.” His legacy is “Trumpism” – a wave of white nationalism.

Trumpisms are Bushisms on steroids.