While thoroughly dismissing talk of a ‘coup’ on that day as “complete hyperbole,” former acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller says he believes former President Trump’s speech on January 6 ‘enraged’ the unarmed rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol. Miller made these comments during an interview with Vice on Showtime.
Prior to becoming the Acting SECDEF in November 2020, Miller had been Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).
According to CNN, when asked if he thinks Trump was responsible for the riot, Miller said he believed Trump’s speech earlier in the day, which he found “concerning,” did have a “cause and effect” impact on those who listened and later stormed the Capitol.
“I don’t know, but it seems cause and effect, yeah,” Miller said, but also added that he did not know if Trump understood how far the crowd might take things. As CNN reported:
The question is would anybody have marched on the Capitol and overrun the Capitol without the President’s speech, I think it’s pretty much definitive that wouldn’t have happened, so yes. The question is did he know that he was enraging the crowd to do that, I don’t know.
The day after the Capitol riot, which I insisted (and still do) was neither a ‘coup’ nor an ‘insurrection,’ I did write that: “This outrage at the Capitol was directly, if unintentionally, instigated by President Trump.” And it did appear that way at the time.
However, as more evidence has emerged, it is far from the full story. Miller’s belief that there would not have been a Capitol riot without Trump’s ‘go fight’ speech on January 6 contradicts evidence that at least a small group of rioters had planned to storm the Capitol well before Trump’s speech.
While Trump did fan the flames that day, Miller’s views that there would not have been a riot without Trump’s speech, appears inaccurate. At least a small group did intend to force their way into the Capitol that day no matter what Trump said.
Trump’s speech likely just made the crowd larger.
When it comes to the incessant disinformation talk of the Capitol riot being a ‘coup’ or ‘insurrection,’ Miller did firmly quash that absurd ‘coup’ nonsense. Miller stated, “To have a perfect storm where an order was given to execute a military coup, it’s not possible in the United States military right now.”
Miller clearly added, according to CNN that:
When VICE on SHOWTIME told Miller that from the outside, to the rest of the world, January 6 looked like the closest the US had come to a military coup, Miller said, “I think that’s just complete hyperbole.”
I personally would use far stronger language to debunk those absurd ‘coup’ comparisons, but we should all get the point. What happened at the Capitol on January 6 was a violent, unarmed riot, not an ‘insurrection,’ much less a ‘coup.’