Each year, our reporting partners at PolitFact determine which lie has had the biggest impact this year. They have been doing a “lie of the year” since 2009 and this year is the continued effort to play down the January 6th bombing on the United States Capitol.
PolitiFact readers have chosen former President Trump’s claim that he was re-elected in a landslide as the “lie of the year.” The editors of PolitiFact chose the lies downplaying the attack on the United States Capitol.
The two stories work hand in hand as an attempt to stop America’s tradition of a peaceful transfer of power.
Shortly after 2 p.m. on January 6, supporters of then-President Donald Trump breached the United States Capitol. Inside, lawmakers have temporarily halted the Electoral College’s vote count electing current President Joe Biden.
The peaceful transfer of power was interrupted by thousands of people waving Trump banners.
Hundreds of people broke into offices, stole items and meandered through rooms.
Some even wanted to hang Vice President Mike Pence until around 4 p.m. when Trump asked his supporters to return home.
“Thinking back to the breadth of our democracy, this event will stand out,” said Katie Sanders, editor-in-chief of PolitiFact.
Since then, many Republicans have played down or lied about what millions of Americans have seen on television.
Congressman Andrew Clyde said it was a “normal sightseeing visit.”
Some right-wing news outlets have said the rioters were not Trump supporters but the left-wing anarchist group Antifa.
Fox News’s Tucker Carlson made a documentary suggesting it was a “false flag” operation.
“The tapes seem a bit endless, but yet you hear claims that Antifa was involved or that it was not an armed insurgency, or that there were no weapons,” said Sanders. “And all of these claims are countered by a huge body of evidence. It even makes this claim even more incredible.
A bipartisan commission similar to the one formed after 9/11 has been blocked by Republican leaders.
“It is not at all clear what new facts of what another investigation might actually add to existing law enforcement and congressional efforts,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
Two Republicans ended up joining a Democratic-led commission that is still investigating and reviewing text messages, video recordings and public documents.
So far, hundreds have been arrested.
“We noticed throughout the year that there were a lot of influential experts, Trump himself, and then elected leaders who quickly backtracked on the events of that day,” Sanders said.
The University of Illinois Coup Project, which studies similar events, reports what happened on January 6 during a “dissident coup attempt.”
Investigations should be a major topic next year.