A Comprehensive Analysis of Trump's January 6 "Incitement to Insurrection" Speech: Part III

This breakdown of one of the most dangerous presidential addresses in American history confirms the need for a Senate conviction and rigorous criminal investigation.

{Note: Part I of this analysis of Trump’s January 6 speech can be found here. Part II is here.}

There has been much written about the violent or in some cases esoteric objectives of the January 6 insurrectionists, but a less commonly discussed motive for their sedition is that there was something stored in the House chamber that many of the rioters of that horrible early-January day badly wanted—their desire stoked by several comments made to them just 30 minutes earlier by the President of the United States himself.

Specifically, it now seems the insurrectionists wanted to get a hold of the electoral college ballots being storied in several ceremonial containers in the House chamber. In his speech, Trump had repeatedly (and falsely) claimed the ballots were fraudulent because they had some sort of unspecified error in them that the U.S. Congress was constitutionally obligated to permit the ballots’ originating states—in the form of their GOP-run state legislatures—to fix. Needless to say, the only error in any of the ballots was that they didn’t say what Trump wanted them to say. But that was just cause enough, in both his view and the insurrectionists’, for them to be taken and destroyed.

Only the quick thinking of several Congressional staffers saved the electoral college ballots from destruction at the hands of the mob Trump sent to the Capitol. It was one of many close calls of January 6, and one we far too infrequently discuss, now. It’s no wonder that in one of the most widely viewed videos of the assault on the Capitol, a seditionist is heard to shout, “We’re gonna burn this place down!” That sentiment underscores the view of many of the Capitol’s attackers: that there were many things inside the Capitol that needed to be decimated. Congress was one; the ballots, another.

It’s for this reason that Donald Trump tells the huge mob at the White House Ellipse, “If you don’t do that [make sure the electoral college ballots are dealt with in some fashion], you will have a President of the United States for four years—with his wonderful son—you will have a president who lost all of these states.…a president who was voted on by a bunch of stupid people. You’ll have an illegitimate president. That’s what you’ll have. And we can’t let that happen.”

Trump’s call to action here—his incitement to insurrection—couldn’t be clearer. He is telling the mob that if certain parcels of paper (housed in a building, we must note, that it is illegal to enter, and that Trump well knew would require force to access) are not quickly retrieved (a possibility Trump insists “can’t” be allowed to happen) that would not only be unfair but would mean that all Americans, and most notably those standing before Trump at that moment, would be governed by a tyrant. We mustn’t mince words in unpacking what Trump is saying here: he’s saying he is the legitimate President of the United States, will continue to be the legitimate President of the United States on January 21, post-inauguration, and is the only person who could be President of the United States on January 21 without America being an authoritarian state under an illegitimate ruler.

Given that Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election and Trump did not, there can be no more baldly seditious rhetoric than we find in these words.

Incredibly, Trump is insufficiently certain these lies and this sedition are sufficient to compel the mob to use force to enter the Capitol and stop the counting of the electoral college votes establishing Biden’s victory, so he decides to give the crowd another enemy to hate, in this case the media (a hatred attended by real consequences, as we’ll see during the insurrection itself, with graffiti reading “MURDER THE MEDIA” on a Capitol wall and several journalists getting threatened and their equipment destroyed):

“These [news reports about my election victory] are the things you don’t hear about [from media]. You don’t hear about it [my election victory] from the people who want to deceive you and demoralize you and control you.”

Trump says that media wants to “suppress” news of his election victory—“suppress” being a word he has previously, in this very speech, associated with Communism—and then “promises” the crowd that the revelations he’s providing them about what really happened on November 3, 2020 are so shocking and closely held that the moment he moves to discuss them, many of the television cameras present for his speech will be “turned off.” {Note: None of them were turned off. All captured the President of the United States trying to incite insurrection by telling lies to those whose intelligence he little respected.}

Trump next expands his slander to include Big Tech, which he says is aiding media in suppressing the truth about his general election victory, specifically by reconfiguring their platforms’ algorithms to ensure the “truth” is suppressed—another veiled allusion to Communism. This accusation dovetails nicely with Trump’s earlier lies about how the election itself was “stolen,” as you’ll recall he says this too was done (apparently without leaving any evidence whatsoever of it being done) via mysterious algorithmic reconfigurations.

Now Trump rambles a little, with highlights being “Let the weak ones get out [of the Republican Party], this is a time for strength” (calling to mind an earlier message yelled by Donald Trump Jr.: that it’s not the Republican Party anymore, it’s “Donald Trump’s Republican Party”) and then finally yet another half-incoherent specter-of-Communism meme: “They want to indoctrinate your children. It’s all part of a comprehensive assault on our democracy. And the American people are finally standing up and saying no.”

Lest anyone wonder who Trump thinks is “standing up,” his very next words are: “This crowd...”

This is another example of Trump beginning a sentence with a phrase that could either apply to the sentence before it or the sentence it is in—a rhetorical technique that gives him plausible deniability if his words are ever parsed in the future. Here, he has effectively said, “This crowd is standing up to Congress and saying ‘no’ by marching on the U.S. Capitol,” but the words are apportioned in such a way as to make it ever so slightly harder than it should be to pin that intent to his January 6 speech. In any case, it bears repeating that one cannot really “stand up” to Congress in this short-term context without being in the presence of Congress; yelling at Congress from so far away from the Capitol lawn that your words can’t be heard isn’t really “standing up” to anyone.


Trump now turns to a meta-commentary on “this crowd” itself, disavowing, incredibly, any knowledge of how the crowd came to be. He lies and says he “did no advertising” to get the crowd to come; in fact, he had repeatedly and frantically advertised the Stop the Steal/March to Save America via the very Twitter feed he moments earlier said he “didn’t care about” (another lie). Proof has established at great length just how much the White House did to gather the January 6 crowd at the White House Ellipse and then send it to the Capitol, and the Washington Post has detailed how strongly Trump’s words impressed upon his followers that they needed to come en masse to Washington.

“We didn’t do anything. This [crowd] just happened. We have nothing to do with it.”

Three more lies. Don’t forget that Ali Alexander says he worked with three top Trump Congressional allies—Reps. Paul Gosar, Mo Brooks, and Andy Biggs—to make the January 6 rally happen, with Trump’s political director Brian Jack even selecting some of the speakers. Trump was personally in touch with the Pentagon (in the person of Chris Miller) prior to the insurrection about whether the military would be present on January 6. It’s not too much to say that Donald Trump personally manufactured a mob. 

One can’t help feeling, listening to this part of the speech—in which Trump lies, then lies again, then lies yet again on the same topic, and all in a matter of seconds—that it’s almost like Trump knows his speech is wrapping up; that the mob will soon be headed to the Capitol; that he’s going to thereafter flee to the White House; and that he must therefore now wash his hands of the whole affair or else be liable for its contours and consequences.

Trump next turns to a rather odd tactic for absolving himself of any responsibility for what’s about to happen. Perhaps aware that it will eventually be discovered how active he was in orchestrating this event at the Ellipse in DC, Trump sagely informs the mob, “They [Trump supporters] are forming all over the United States [today].” This is a chilling callback, too, to Trump’s prior contention that there should be “hell all over the country” on January 6 over the “fake” election. That is, it underscores that “hell” in America may well have been Trump’s goal in telling his Twitter followers that January 6 would be “wild.”


Now Trump rambles again for a bit:

  • He makes clear that he considers Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) a “weak Republican” who is a “neo-con” real conservatives must vote out “in a year” (an attack that possibly prompted the arch conservative Cheney to more seriously consider her stance toward Donald Trump than she had before, including, just a matter of days thereafter, making the decision to vote to impeach Trump in the House);

  • he bemoans “dropbox” fraud in Wisconsin, including a concept called “human drop boxes” that it seems rather likely many in the crowd did not understand;

  • he brags about his “great” conversation (which he says people “love”) with Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia Secretary of State (who he calls “crooked”), ignoring that by January 6 there were already rumblings that his “great” conversation could lead to him being criminally charged with election interference in Georgia;

  • he spins a new and bizarre conspiracy theory about the hard-right Raffensperger, alleging that he might actually be an undercover Democratic spy and colluder who spent 2020 and 2021 trying to help the Democrats win in Georgia; and

  • as a means of projecting unearned confidence that his call with Raffensperger was “great,” he repeats his most infamous claim of that call, that Georgia must “find” the votes he “needs” to win in Georgia, as “tens of thousands” of fake votes were added to the Democrats’ tally (a claim he has been told is a lie over and over, including by Raffensperger).

Having falsely accused Raffensperger of being a member of the political left—albeit secretly—Trump concludes this section of his speech with, “The radical left knows exactly what they’re doing. They’re ruthless—and it’s time somebody did something about it. And Mike Pence, I hope you're going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country. And if you’re not, I’m gonna be very disappointed in you, I will tell you right now. I’m not hearing good stories.”

This is stunning for many different reasons. First, “it’s time somebody did something about” the “ruthlessness” of Democrats—implying the right response would be equally ruthless—is as much an incitement to violence as anything in Trump’s speech. But the fact that he has pivoted to the notion his own vice president is in the same category of person as “the radical left” reveals the level of rage he feels at Pence for having already told him (as indeed he already had) that he wouldn’t, in fact, be “stand[ing] up” at the Capitol. Understand that—because Trump already knows Pence is going to disappoint the mob when they get to the Capitol—he really is, here encouraging “somebody” to “[do] something” about Pence at the Capitol. And he knows precisely how angry the mob is when he utters these words.

This puts me in mind of the infamous quote attributed to Henry II prior to the death of Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1170: “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” Of course, one of Henry’s subjects thereafter went and murdered Becket—exactly what Henry had wanted, but hadn’t wanted to say directly. It’s much like how we imagine a mafia don operates. Trump, who has often been compared to a mafia don, and is famous for having mafia connections, mimics both Henry II and a don in encouraging “somebody” to do “something” about Pence. Indeed, what happens within an hour of Trump requesting this? A mob that had heard Trump’s vile request arrive at the doors of the Capitol and scream, “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!”


Trump speeds up his speech significantly now, aware that he’s at risk of speaking so long he will bore the crowd out of their readiness for dramatic action. He offers them a massive, confusing data dump regarding Georgia and Arizona, to little crowd reaction. He mainly sticks to his teleprompter, something he does when he knows he must quicken his pace, as it is impromptu asides that so elongate his interminable speeches. At one point he pivots to talk about Michigan—after rushing through an overview of his false claims about “election fraud” in Nevada—saying, “In Michigan—quickly...” 

He underscores that the supposed fraud almost always occurred in cities—a regularly employed Trump code for “Democratic” and “Black and Latino”—but then slips up and says that the fraud was “only in a few states”, which contradicts directly the substance of Rudy Giuliani’s January 6 call to U.S. senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) not an hour later, during which call Giuliani asks the senator to contest ten states rather than the five Trump rails to the mob about as part of his exhaustive list of state-level grievances. This underscores that Giuliani’s later demand to Tuberville is in fact, as Giuliani tells Tuberville, a “strategy” to “draw this [the certification process] out.”

The question is, why would Trump and Giuliani want the process elongated? Giuliani had told the crowd at the Ellipse, earlier, that what he and Trump really wanted was “ten days” to conduct more fraud investigations. Okay, but how would Sen. Tuberville contesting “ten states” have led to a ten day delay?

The answer is, it wouldn’t. Trump and Giuliani had to have been expecting that something else would lead to a significant delay in the certification of Biden’s election victory if Tuberville could find a way to extend the proceeding by just a few hours. {Note: Technically, the contesting of a single slate of electors in Congress takes 2.5 hours of debate, so ten contestations would require 25 hours of debate, and therefore perhaps two or three days of joint sessions. Still, it would be nothing like the “ten day” Giuliani was looking for.} The only reasonable explanation here is that Trump and Giuliani believed that if the Capitol were surrounded, and if the crowd got hostile (which perhaps it was thought would take a while), the pressure brought to bear on Republican and perhaps some Democratic senators and House members in the Capitol would eventually be sufficient to either change the outcome of the proceedings or require an extended delay of them.

Keep in mind that Trump scheduled his speech for an hour or two before the vote he wanted interrupted—I say “an hour or two,” which I realize is vague, because joint sessions, even when scheduled for 1PM, don’t get into full swing for a bit, and this one was in any case slated to last for many hours. Remember, too, that without some of his impromptu ad libs, Trump’s speech might have been around 45 minutes, and gotten the crowd up to the Capitol right as the joint session was starting (around 1:15PM).


That Trump senses he is running long, and therefore possibly messing up the schedule his political team has developed for the march, is evidenced in the fact that he now mentions that he’s going to wrap up his “evidence” {Note: it is not evidence} because he know it’s cold. Even this is a lie, of course, as Trump doesn’t skip ahead at all and just continues reading from his teleprompter. To make himself seem magnanimous for keeping the crowd in the bitter cold for 75 minutes in total, he falsely tells the mob that it could’ve been worse: “I could go on for another hour reading this stuff to you.”

He then returns to some of his prior rhetorical setpieces, a sign that he likely was ad-libbing the first time he mentioned them—out of obsessiveness and self-regard—and now must repeat them because he’s finally come to the part of his speech in which his teleprompter tells him he was supposed to say them for the first time. He calls the Democratic Party a “criminal enterprise” and says “The Republicans have to get tougher. You’re not going to have a Republican Party if you don’t get tougher.” Note that Trump has a long history of associating “toughness” with physical strength and force, but also with under-handedness, which must be why his next comment, dripping with derision, is this one: “They [the Republicans up at the Capitol] want to play it so straight.” Trump’s clear implication is that the mob before him needs to not only be “tough” but to play it less “straight” when they get up to the Capitol. And because even this isn’t clear enough for what Trump wants to accomplish here, he adds, “When you catch someone in a fraud, you’re allowed to go by {he pauses} very different rules.”

Chilling.

But Trump also wants the crowd to know that that toughness, underhandedness, and not playing by the rules must be applied to one person in particular: Mike Pence. That’s why the next line of his speech is, “So I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do. And I hope he doesn’t listen to the RINOs [Republicans in Name Only] and the stupid people.” That opening “So” is doing a lot of work of the exact kind I’ve already written about: applying the beginning of one sentence to the sentence before it. What Trump has just said is, “When you catch someone in a fraud, you’re allowed to go by very different rules, so I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do.”

See how it works? See how an insurrectionist seeking to incite a violent attack on his own vice president manages to, per the Daily Beast, come within “seconds” of doing so? No wonder the mob shows up at the Capitol obsessed with finding—and possibly detaining and harming—the Vice President of the United States. They’d been incited.


As with many Trump speeches, this one covers so much ground, and all of it so poorly, that it’s almost laughable. At this point in his address, knowing that he’s gone on far too long but also unable to stop himself, Trump falsely claims that voters around the country were sent “4, 5, 6, in one case I heard 7” absentee ballots, a premise so untrue and ridiculous that it’d be funny if it weren’t leveraged here in service of deliberate incitement to insurrection against the government of the United States. {Note: Even if anything like this were to happen, it wouldn’t mean that the voter in question returned that number of ballots, and of course—of course—our system has safeguards to catch the error if someone returns even two ballots. Trump is simultaneously playing on the mob’s trust of him as the head of a government and distrust of government generally, a pretty ironic juxtaposition.}

“This is the most corrupt election in the history of, maybe, the world.” Note the verb tense; Trump remains in the present, as he has to convince the mob that the election is still an open question, not a past-tense event. His theme, again, is that election day is in fact January 6. “It’s so crazy [the election’s corruption] that people don't believe it. ‘It can’t be true!’” This is a propaganda technique—putting the preposterousness of what you’re saying in service of its alleged veracity. He invites the mob to be awed by the novelty and scope of the corruption he’s now been lying to them about for an hour.

Now comes a surprise reveal! In order to amp up the stakes even more, Trump declares, “This is not just a matter of domestic politics, it’s a matter of national security.” He’s deputizing the mob to consider itself advocates for not just their own highly emotionalized partisan wishes, but also a defense of the country itself. He calls for “sweeping election reforms”, telling Congress “you better do it” before “we have no country left.” National security, indeed.


“Today is not the end”, Trump says now, “it’s just the beginning. With your help...”

See how he did it again? He applied a phrase to both its current sentence and to the sentence prior. So what the mob hears is, “With your help [today], today [will be] not the end—but just the beginning.” {Note: I say “hear” in the literal sense, as the words are arranged so the mental impression a listener gets is that they’ve been spoken as I wrote them.} 

Trump now uses the word “challenge”—meaning, in this case, to contest something—three times in quick succession. “Our fight”, he says, “is just getting started.” Then: “We must ‘Stop the Steal,’ and then we must ensure that such outrageous election fraud never happens again.”

The intended combination of these phrases is so transparent that what’s actually most remarkable is that Trump thinks he’s being ingenious in disguising his criminal intent. What the crowd has now heard is this: “With your help today, today will be not the end—but just the beginning. This speech is just the beginning of a fight. You must now go to the Capitol building and challenge Congress, really fight them, to stop what they’re doing and to ensure that no one ever tries to do what they’re doing again.”

And that’s exactly what the mob assembled before him at the Ellipse thereafter does.

“We [my administration] are going forward [with an election reform agenda]. We [my administration] will take care of ‘going forward.’ We [you and I today] need to take care of going back [to the November election].”

This is low-key one of the most chilling lines in the speech. Trump is asking the mob to, alongside him—remember, he’s promised to march to the Capitol—“take care of” the “steal” in an action he now blesses as having the same legitimacy as “election reform” via legislative action or executive order. He follows this with an aborted sentence that begins, “Don’t let them talk...”—quickly clarifying that what he means is people talk about polls and approval ratings but all he’s really “interested” in is (and here he tries to gesture to the Capitol but points in the wrong direction) “right there.”


What comes next in Trump’s January 6 speech is truly bizarre and difficult to explain.

Trump outlines a vast, possibly years-long political agenda involving election reform—as though he isn’t just 14 days from the end of his term. He really wants the mob to feel like there’s going to be a second Trump administration, and so what he delivers here actually sounds exactly like a “State of the Union” address: successive sentences begin with, “We will do [policy]…” and “We will do [another policy].” There’s absolutely no recognition in his tone or in his words that his term as U.S. president is about to end. 

In propaganda terms, what Trump is doing is outlining the “promise” of his quid pro quo of incitement to insurrection. He’s asked the mob—both directly and indirectly—to interrupt what’s happening at the Capitol, but now he must underline what they’ll get from him if they do. And all the while he continues his dehumanization of his and the mob’s common enemy, at one point saying, of men and women he personally knows and has often spoken with, “If these people [Congress] had courage and guts, they would finally get rid of Section 230.” He wants to leave the false impression that the mob’s targets are just as foreign to him as they are—in this moment—to the American voters before him. Just so, he refers to Big Tech—companies headed by women and men he’s met in person—in othering terms, alleging without evidence that Big Tech is “interfering in our elections” and “has to be stopped”, and that such companies must be “brought to justice.” It’s remarkable how many enemies Trump wants this mob to have, and how harshly he wants the mob to perceive them in light of alleged harms he in fact has no evidence ever occurred.

Trump’s anger at Big Tech in this speech is a little bewildering, as this hasn’t been a major theme in that many of his prior speeches. It’s almost like he feared the events of January 6 would sever his relationship with several social media platforms, or that he knew he’d lost the 2020 election and would shortly be starting his own social media platform or media company and figured he might as well start inciting anger and even violence against his competition while he had a “bully pulpit” to do so effectively.

Generally speaking, in this speech Trump points to three entities stealing elections and assaulting democracy: media, Democrats, and Big Tech. He’s elevating Big Tech into the category of (as he has elsewhere termed it) “enemies of the people,” perhaps indicating he felt that Twitter “captioning” some of his tweets was a sign of the end for him on that (and maybe other) social media platforms. Indeed, in mid-January major media reported that Trump and his team anticipated Trump would eventually be banned from Twitter and other platforms—especially as he got close to the end of his term. This awareness may be most likely explanation for his aggressive anti-Big Tech rhetoric here. 


What happens next is, like so much else here, inexplicable—even incomprehensible. 

Trump begins a sentence with, “Looking out at the crowds all over the country...”

It’s unclear what precisely he’s referring to, though the most reasonable speculation would be that he has been privately monitoring pro-Trump rallies all over the country—which if true suggests that he knew and hoped and expected and planned that on January 6 the nation would see large-scale political “protests” all over America. This matters because, if you widely read both local and national news immediately after the events of January 6, you know there were pro-Trump actions on that day in state capitals all across America—and many involved threats, evacuations, and in one case even the breaching of a government facility. Is it possible, as I write this on the eve of Trump’s second impeachment trial, that it’s not just that Trump incited insurrection in Washington, DC, but that on January 6 he intended to provoke uprisings elsewhere in the United States? Is it possible that Trump saw his insurrection as a national event? 

It’s therefore unclear if Trump is referring to only the mob at the Ellipse or mobs all across America when he says the following: “If we [Trumpists] allow this group of people [Congress] to illegally take over our country [today]—‘cause it’s illegal when the votes are illegal, when the way they got there [to the Capitol] is illegal, when the states that vote are given false and fraudulent information...” 

I would finish the sentence above, but—well—Trump didn’t. He just says, “If we allow this group of people...”, then leaves the consequences for that horrible crime unstated.

Perhaps that was deliberate—as it was, finally, the mob’s role to finish the sentence.


Trump, reaching his crescendo, now reads from his teleprompter a series of sentences intended to really rev up the crowd for the march they’re about to embark upon:

“As this enormous crowd shows, we have truth and justice on our side.”

Note that the word “enormous” was on Trump’s teleprompter. His team was able to load that word into his teleprompter beforehand because of how hard the White House had worked—contrary to Trump’s claims in his speech—to ensure that the crowd at the Ellipse on January 6 would indeed be “enormous.”

“Together we are determined to protect and preserve government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Trump has already said that “people” means (in his words) “real” people—Trumpists. This line also gives us the opportunity to imagine how little Trump’s January 6 speech would have moved its audience if the mob that heard it had known that every time the president said “we” he was lying—as his secret plan was to flee to the White House. 

“Our brightest days are before us. Our greatest achievements await.”

This echos—and indeed, it seems, deliberately—the fact that Trumpists consider their siege of the U.S. Capitol (at the point Trump utters these words, only an hour away) the greatest achievement of Trump’s “movement.” It’s no accident, I suppose, that when listing out the achievements of his movement he falsely cites “election security” as one such item, a fib that allows him to underline what an achievement it would be—in fact how much it would be one of Trumpism’s “greatest achievements”—if the mob could now do something spectacular in the arena of “election security.” And the mob must have been thrilled to oblige. Anyone who doubts that Trump intended to implicitly draw this linkage need only read his next words: “We fight. We fight like hell [for election security].” There can be no mistaking that he’s talking about right now. He’s saying “we”—him and the mob—are about to “fight like hell” for “election security” by ending the “March to Save America” where it was always slated to end. 

“And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

This is—as the House managers will argue on February 9—incitement to insurrection.

“Our most exciting endeavors, and our boldest adventures, have not yet begun.”

And yet such “exciting” and “bold”—one might even quote Trump’s now-infamous December 19 tweet and add “wild”—“adventures” are about to begin up at the U.S. Capitol, and Donald Trump knows it. In fact, he’s counting on it.


Trump closes out his incitement to insurrection with the following words:

“My fellow Americans, for our movement, for our children, and for our beloved country—and I say this despite all that’s happened—the best is yet to come.”

In case you’re wondering what Trump wants the mob assembled before him to believe the “best” is that he’s referring to, read his very next words:

“So we’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, and we’re going to the Capitol…”

He’s clearly underlining that something is about to happen—if only the crowd will march to the Capitol—that will constitute the “best” thing that could possibly happen. And lest anyone in the crowd be confused about what he means, he then adds, “[W]e’re going to try and give our Republicans—the weak ones, because the strong ones don't need any of our help—the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.” Again I return to my longstanding question: how exactly would a “peaceful” protest of people standing legally well off the Capitol grounds have accomplished what Trump describes here? Secondly, how is “taking back our country”—in the context of ignoring the will of the voters in a democratic election in the United States—anything but a code for insurrection and sedition against a lawfully elected government?

Trump closes with a repetition of the only two things that matter to him now: (1) that the march to the Capitol start immediately, and (2) that the marchers believe he is going with them, so they will be emboldened to do anything necessary to get inside the Capitol. “So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue”, he says, and then, “I want to thank you all. God bless you—and God bless America! Thank you all for being here. This is incredible.”

Trump then jumps into his up-armored limousine and flees back to the White House.

But the mob he’d incited was, by then, already on its way to the Capitol. Loudspeakers set up by Event Strategies, a company Paul Manafort works for, had begun to play “YMCA” by the Village People: a song that event planners often use because it gets the members of a crowd moving about and swinging their arms.

That is, it gets the blood pumping.