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Poll: Half of GOP Voters Falsely Say Capitol Breach Was Peaceful or Leftist Plot

Polling also shows that 6 in 10 Republicans still falsely believe the 2020 election was “stolen.”

National Guardsmen and various law enforcement agencies patrol outside of the U.S. Capitol on January 18, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

Nearly three months following the attack on the United States Capitol by a group of loyalists to former President Donald Trump, a new poll reveals that most Republican-leaning individuals continue to harbor false ideas about what actually happened that day.

About half of Republican respondents in a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted from March 30-31 falsely described the Capitol breach (in which a mob of Trump supporters sought to disrupt the certification of the Electoral College) as either a “peaceful protest” or, if they recognized that violence happened during the attack, as the result of supposed left-wing elements in the crowd that were attempting to “make Trump look bad.”

Neither of those two assertions are true. The event was, in fact, a violent one, resulting in multiple injuries and at least five deaths. A number of Trump loyalists busted through barriers, attacked Capitol police officers and busted windows in order to break into the building Others called for the killing of prominent elected officials.

There’s also zero evidence to suggest left-wing groups were part of the attack. Indeed, many of those who were charged for their role in the breach are confirmed Trump loyalists, based on social media postings they made or other documents that verify they support the former president.

Beyond demonstrating false beliefs held by Republicans regarding the events of January 6, the Reuters/Ipsos poll also found that most GOP-aligned voters held errant ideas about last year’s election. Six in 10 Republican respondents in the poll said that they believed the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump due to election fraud, repeating bogus assertions that the former president has continued to peddle long after losing last November to now-President Joe Biden.

Americans of other political stripes, the poll demonstrated, rejected claims that Republican respondents tended to espouse. Eight in 10 Democrats, for example, rejected the claim that the breach was a “peaceful” event, while 6 in 10 independents also rejected that idea.

While 59 percent of Americans overall place some responsibility for the Capitol attack on Trump, only about 3 in 10 Republicans agreed.

Republican respondents’ refusal to accept the reality of what happened at the Capitol matches Trump’s own downplaying of the violence. During a Fox News interview broadcast late last month, Trump wrongly asserted that his supporters who stormed the Capitol posed “zero threat.”.

“Look, they went in, they shouldn’t have done it. Some of them went in, and they are hugging and kissing the police and the guards, you know, they had great relationships,” Trump said. “A lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in and they walked out.”

Highlighting how wrongly he characterized the events of that day, Trump failed to acknowledge in that same interview the number of people who died and were injured, and the armed standoff that took place on the floor of the House of Representatives as a result of the fact that he encouraged his supporters to go to the Capitol in a speech prior to the attack.

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