January 6 Was Not a Coup

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Supporters of then-President Trump climb through a window as they storm the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., January 6, 2021. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

The Capitol riot was an outrageous and embarrassing assault on our democratic institutions. Let’s also be clear about what it wasn’t.


hen several hundred extremists mobbed Capitol Hill on January 6, they engaged in a deplorably un-American act of criminality. It was an embarrassing day for the nation, and a dangerous one for the many innocent people and officials engulfed in the mayhem.

Here’s what January 6 wasn’t:

It wasn’t the “worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.” Nor did it veer anywhere near the vicinity of being as dangerous as 9/11. Nor was it a “coup” or an “insurrection” — not in any way we commonly understand those words. It wasn’t a putsch. Nor did it, as the chairman of …


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