Just as quickly as we saw MAGA-ites terrorising the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, Trump supporters from around the country began pointing fingers away from the true culprits. In an attempt to rewrite the narrative and shift blame away from the president and his disciples, GOP lawmakers and right-wing media are blaming Antifa (Anti-Fascism) for the insurrection and terror that occurred on Capitol Hill. But while the identities of everyone who wreaked havoc yesterday are not yet known, there were plenty familiar faces and iconography displayed that made it incredibly clear who was behind the attempted coup — and it certainly wasn’t Antifa.
“Please, don’t be like #FakeNewsMedia, don’t rush to judgment on assault on Capitol. Wait for investigation. All may not be (and likely is not) what appears,” tweeted Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL-5). “Evidence growing that fascist ANTIFA orchestrated Capitol attack with clever mob control tactics.” Lin Wood, a pro-Trump attorney who believes in the delusional QAnon conspiracy, also sent several tweets claiming Antifa was inside the Capitol. Some of those tweets included photos — photos that clearly showed men who are well-known white nationalists and QAnon believers. Meanwhile, mass rumours circulated that busloads of Antifa members were being brought to the Capitol for the assault on democracy.
The thing is, none of this is true. Apart from the Antifa boogeyman being a convenient excuse to lay blame, The New York Times, Snopes, Buzzfeed News, Politifact, and even right-wing pseudo-journalist Andy Ngo have debunked all claims that any outside agitators were responsible for the chaos and violence that descended on Washington, D.C. Wednesday. And the proof is in the pictures: Among those photographed inside the Capitol are Jake Angeli, known as the “Q Shaman” for the costumes he wears to MAGA protests; Tim Gionet, a white supremacist better known as "Baked Alaska;” and white nationalist Jason Tankersley.
It doesn't stop there, either: The man pictured with his feet up at Nancy Pelosi's desk gave his name and age to a New York Times reporter — his name is Richard Barnett of Arkansas, and The Washington Post reported that he wrote on Facebook that he was a “white nationalist” who was prepared to die violently. The woman who was shot and killed has posted language consistent with QAnon on social media. The man pictured carrying Pelosi’s podium was identified by the Bradenton Herald as Adam Johnson, 36, of Bradenton, Florida. One man brazenly wore his work ID badge into the building and was terminated from his job after photos surfaced. Hell, they’re even using dating apps to advertise their trips to D.C.
In fact, the event was so well-coordinated that there was merch sold for the occasion. Some attendees were photographed wearing shirts that said “MAGA” at the top, the words “CIVIL WAR” underneath, and the date: January 6, 2021. White nationalist groups, MAGA supporters, QAnon believers, and Trump loyalists have been openly posting online for weeks planning the event, in which they literally discussed the invasion of the Capitol to protest the results of the election — results that had been shown over and over again to be legitimate.
Attempting to blame anti-fascists for a fascism-fuelled insurrection is absurd, especially when the real perpetrators of the violence aren't concealing their identities. They openly planned the siege on social media and other public forums. The truth is there for anyone who wants to find it.
But there's also plenty of irony in Fox News and their ilk crying “violence” all summer while Black Lives Matter protests peacefully assembled across the country to now trying to pin actual violence on members of faceless mobs of Antifa and “anarchists” (something none of them could correctly define if their lives depended on it). But it should be expected. After all, we saw a smaller version of this over the summer when armed white nationalists occupied the Michigan State House (a "Michigan for Trump" flag could be seen outside the Capitol during Wednesday's violence).
While news anchors and establishment politicians (we see you, Sarah Palin) sit around asking how the events of Wednesday were allowed to happen and how law enforcement in the capital failed to see it coming, the people who have been studying and taking seriously the threat of fascism for years already know: they saw it coming and chose not to act, because they are complicit. The results of Wednesday are not at the hands of the left, they were the predictable result of the seeds of hate sown by President Trump.