crowd rushing capital with 14:24:51:14 timestamp in bottom right corner


Misfired tear gas is the new scapegoat for why Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan 6.

The debate over the clip shows just how much the conversation around the riot has devolved.


Mikael Thalen


Posted on Mar 16, 2023   Updated on Mar 16, 2023, 11:08 am CDT

Footage of protesters storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 that’s going viral on Twitter is embroiled in a heated debate over what sparked Trump supporters to breach police barricades.

The video shows supporters of former President Donald Trump pushing through a police barricade before making their way toward and eventually into the Capitol building in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

In a tweet on Wednesday, CBS News Congressional Correspondent Scott MacFarlane noted that the crowd appeared to surge just minutes after Trump accused former Vice President Mike Pence on Twitter of not having “the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”

The footage quickly went viral, with many opponents of Trump arguing that the video provided even more proof of the former president’s culpability.

“Jesus—this is powerful evidence that Trump had the January 6 crowd in the palm of his hand, and that as soon as he got the word out that Pence had ‘betrayed’ him (and all insurrectionist MAGAs), the attack on the Capitol was fully *on*,” author Seth Abramson wrote.

“The coordination is crystal-clear,” another added. “Trump gave the orders and the fascistic mob moved in.”

Yet conservatives responded with a theory of their own. It wasn’t Trump’s tweet that led the crowd to overrun police, they claimed, but tear gas.

A conservative organization out of Northern Virginia argued that police firing tear gas into the right side of the crowd somehow caused the left side to begin advancing on police two minutes later.

Right-wing commentator @DC_Draino said the footage proved the Department of Justice was lying about the events of the day, agreeing that a cop shot tear gas at his own officers, causing them to retreat.

Others claimed the cell phone service that day wasn’t strong enough for anyone to receive news of the Trump tweet.

The explanation does little to account for numerous events that took place shortly after, such as chants from rioters that called for Pence to be hung by a noose and people continuing on past the barricades and into the Capitol.

Trump reportedly even went as far as to defend the chant, although it is unclear whether he was being serious.

The debate over the clip, however, shows just how much the conversation around the riot has devolved into political posturing. Conservatives have attempted to blame everyone from the FBI to secret antifa infiltrators for their own actions that day.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has also aired footage from inside the Capitol in recent days in an attempt to re-write what actually took place. The DOJ has since pushed back, arguing that the selective footage Carlson aired “lacks the content of what occurred before and after.”

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*First Published: Mar 16, 2023, 11:04 am CDT