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How Republicans Are Warping Reality Around the Capitol Attack

  • January 17, 2021

Representative Peter Meijer, a Republican freshman who voted to impeach Mr. Trump, said in an interview with “The Daily,” The New York Times audio podcast, that the prevalence of false information among the base had created “two worlds” among congressional Republicans — one that is based in reality and another grounded in conspiracy.

“The world that said this was actually a landslide victory for Donald Trump, but it was all stolen away and changed and votes were flipped and Dominion voting systems,” Mr. Meijer said, describing what he called a “fever swamp of conspiracy theories.

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In a video news conference Friday, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina also made a direct appeal to Republicans still in doubt. “Biden actually won,” he said. “The election wasn’t rigged.”

Their words, contrasted with Mr. Trump’s own message and that of many supporters, highlight a challenge for the Republican Party. The rioters targeted law enforcement personnel, members of Congress and even Vice President Mike Pence. However, much of the party’s base and many of its leaders at the local and state levels remain loyal to Mr. Trump.

Another Republican who backed impeachment, Representative Tom Rice of South Carolina, acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press that he was likely to face a G.O.P. primary challenger in his 2022 re-election effort because of his vote — a threat the other nine Republicans who voted for impeachment will probably face as well.

“FIRST G.O.P. Primary Challenger Announces Run in Michigan Against Freshman Rep. Meijer — One of 10 G.O.P. Turncoats,” read a headline on Gateway Pundit, the right-wing and often conspiratorial news outlet that has amassed influence among Mr. Trump’s base.

Reached by email, the site’s founder, Jim Hoft, did not reply to questions but did send along several of his own news articles related to claims of Antifa involvement in the Capitol attack — citing the case of a man named John Sullivan, whom the right-wing media has dubbed an “Antifa leader” in efforts to prove its theory of infiltration. He was the same man cited by Mr. Giuliani in tweets that threatened to “expose and place total blame on John and the 226 members of Antifa that instigated the Capitol ‘riot.’”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/17/us/politics/Capitol-conspiracy-theories-blm-antifa.html

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