Take Me to Your Leader

During the first presidential debate of the 2020 election cycle, Chris Wallace asked Donald Trump if he would condemn the white supremacist and militia groups that had been showing up at various protests. Trump famously said, “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.” They did stand by, until January 6, 2021, when they helped plan and execute the insurrection of the Capitol. During the closing arguments of the trial involving several of the group’s leaders, a federal prosector described the Proud Boys as Donald Trump’s army. Today, the top members of that army were “found guilty of seditious conspiracy by a jury in Washington, DC, for their roles to forcibly prevent the peaceful transfer of power from then-President Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 election … The guilty verdict marks the third time that prosecutors have secured convictions for seditious conspiracy in the Justice Department’s historic prosecution of those who breached the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.” The man who refused to condemn the group—and who was impeached for his role in leading the uprising for which they were just found guilty—is currently the top contender (by a wide margin) to lead his party into the 2024 election. Meanwhile, public opinion has changed when it comes to the insurrection. “Two years ago, just 9% of Americans said they strongly or somewhat approved of the takeover; now, 20% do. The share who approve of the takeover has increased 13 percentage points among Democrats (to 16%, from 3%) and 16 percentage points among Republicans (to 32%, from 16%).” These numbers are nothing to be proud about.

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