USA Today is now cataloging 87 federal arrests of suspected participants in the January 6 insurgency. These include Michael Sparks—the guy who chased Black police officer Eugene Goodman up the stairs, Riley Williams—who made off with a computer from Nancy Pelosi’s office, and Jon Schaffer—heavy metal guitarist who put his fingers to work Jan. 6 by drenching police with bear spray.
As Mother Jones points out, even totaling up those arrested on the day and those brought in by the FBI in the last two weeks, the total number of people arrested during a deadly and violent attempted overthrow of the American government, is only a fraction of those arrested for other events. That includes over 400 people arrested in a single day for protesting the influence of money in politics, and hundreds more arrested while protesting Republican efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Thousands of people seizing the capitol then going on the hunt for congressional hostages is not as big a deal, it seems, as people speaking up for better healthcare.
That lack of a serious pushback is one reason that a day before Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States, supporters of Donald Trump are still looking for ways they can make things worse. But even without being arrested, they seem to be simply falling apart.
As The Washington Post reports, with the nation’s capital crowded with National Guard forces in anticipation of attempted violence, the Trumpist white supremacist militias may take the route of entering the city by infiltrating those Guard troops. After all, when you have over 20,000 people wearing camo tactical gear and face masks, what are a few more? That scheme could be connected to fake messages floating widely through right wing circles over the last few days suggesting that the National Guard forces aren’t in Washington D.C. to protect Joe Biden and make sure the inauguration goes off safely.
Instead, according to the endless stream of posts from the Q-believing MAGA faithful, the Guard is in town to finally execute “the Storm” by arrested Biden, along with scores of other leaders, as Trump finally takes the gloves off and conducts a national purge of Satanic baby-eaters … while installing himself as dictator. Just as the founding fathers planned.
Presumably, all of this is being done at the literal last minute to add dramatic tension. It’s not as if Trump has been in absolute control of the DOJ, the FBI, and the military for the last four years. It’s only now, when most ordinary people think that Trump has been defeated, deserted, and weakened, that he can shrug off the act and reveal to the world that he’s … a massive loser who will go down in history as someone who we would just prefer to forget.
Many of those who have populated the Q-Anon chatrooms and participated in the stream of #TheStorm and #1776 Twitter have already began purging their histories. Many more will. There will be those who continue to cling to Trump, but increasingly the forces that have supported him will reorganize under other, equally illusory, prophets. Trump day is almost done.
In this final hours, the FBI doesn’t seem to be finding any sign of a huge, overarching threat to drown the capital in armed militia forces. As David Neiwert has been reporting, the biggest reaction to the January 6 events has been a total breakdown of any coordination between white supremacist groups. Unable to decide between returning to D.C. or storming state capitals, these groups have managed neither. On Sunday, a proposed Million Militia March had a record attendance that will be hard to top — zero.
Similarly, worries about marches on various states’ Capitols around the nation turned out to be groundless when only tiny smatterings of armed militiamen showed up at a few of the events that pro-Donald Trump “Patriots” said they were planning in places such as Columbus, Ohio, and Salem, Oregon. Both failures suggest that the American radical right is now in utter disarray, at least for the time being.
White supremacists got their day in the sun on January 6. But America seems to have not been very pleased with what crawled out from under the rocks on that day. It’s wasn’t just that the attempted overthrow was violent and shocking. It was also, somehow, both amazingly tacky and ridiculous. Deadly and pathetic is not a combination that anyone found inspirational.