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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Doug Jensen says he’s a victim in the Jan. 6 plot to disrupt the transition of presidential power.
Jensen is an Iowa man pictured in some of the most widely circulated photos from inside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riots, which are attributed with five deaths. He’s seen wearing a shirt promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory, and in video footage pursuing police officer Eugene Goodman, who later received a Congressional Gold Medal for his work diverting the hordes.
But he can’t really be blamed for his part in the attack, the Des Moines resident’s lawyer argued in a motion this week. Actually, it’s Donald Trump’s fault, attorney Christopher Davis wrote.
“Maybe it was mid-life crisis, the pandemic, or perhaps the message just seemed to elevate him from his ordinary life to an exalted status with an honorable goal. In any event, he fell victim to this barrage of internet sourced info and came to the Capitol, at the direction of the President of the United States, to demonstrate that he was a ‘true patriot,’” Davis wrote in a bond request for his client.
The court filing paints a sympathetic portrait of the mob that reportedly sought to arrest or inflict harm on the vice president and members of Congress as they prepared to finalize the 2020 election results.
Trump became the “savior” to a disillusioned middle America. They were victims of conspiracy theories promoted by “very clever people.” They preyed on the gullible through the internet, which has “few if any reality checks.”
“In one’s wildest imagination, no one could have predicted the events of late 2020, culminating on January 6, 2021,” Jensen’s lawyer wrote.
No one could have predicted it, except everyone who predicted it.
Before and after the election, dozens of articles were published considering what might happen if Trump lost and refused to leave office. Trump himself said before the election that it wouldn’t be legitimate unless he won.
Trump’s devoted followers are not united by any discernible values or policy positions. What brings them together is that they unconditionally support Trump, and they’re willing to mindlessly lash out against anyone perceived as opposing him, sometimes violently.
While Jensen’s lawyer laments a lack of “reality checks” on the internet, Trump’s statements have been extensively fact checked and frequently deemed false. After the Capitol attack, theories of a rigged election persist. This column is certain to bring a few more to my inbox.
Even before Trump became president, it was clear he had no problem inciting physical confrontation, as long as he didn’t have to be directly involved. At campaign rallies in 2015 and 2016, he occasionally encouraged people to use force against protesters.
“I don’t know if I’ll do the fighting myself or if other people will,” he said in 2015, warning Black Lives Matter demonstrators not to disrupt his events.
Of course, it would not be Trump doing the actual fighting then or at any other time. While his supporters foolishly risked their safety in his defense on Jan. 6, he was savoring his final days in the presidential mansion.
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