People seem to be forgetting who started the Big Lie.
Just days before the bipartisan congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection is set to begin its slate of televised hearings, new polling data suggests the public is increasingly sliding toward passivity when it comes to the extremely well-documented chain of responsibility between former President Donald Trump and the mob of violent seditionists who stormed the United States Capitol Building on his behalf.
According to an NBC News poll released Monday, just 45% of respondents indicated that Trump was significantly to blame for the insurrection — down seven points from 52% in January 2021. That includes 17% of respondents who said Trump was “solely responsible” and 28% who said he was “mainly responsible.” Conversely, the number of respondents who said Trump was “not really responsible” leaped from 29% to 35% over the same time period.
Dispiriting as those numbers may be, there is still opportunity for some tempered optimism as you dig slightly deeper into the polling data. While it’s true that the overall number of people willing to ascribe sole responsibility for the insurrection to Trump has decreased from 28% to 17%, there has been a slight increase in people who say Trump was “mainly” responsible for the riot, from 24% to 28%.
The questions about Trump’s responsibility were posed to 500 adults in early May. The results come as the Jan. 6 commission prepares for what GOP Rep. Liz Cheney called on Sunday a “must watch” event, scheduled for primetime Thursday, when she and her colleagues are prepared to publicly detail a “multi-pronged effort” by Trump and his allies to subvert the 2020 presidential election.
The committee’s challenge, it now seems, is twofold: Not only must they present clear facts that show Trump was directly responsible for the events leading up to, including, and beyond the Jan. 6 insurrection, but they must now do so in the face of waning interest, shortened attention spans, and a public that seems increasingly content to let the passage of time sway their ability to identify what should be obvious. We’ll just have to wait and see if the committee is truly up to the task.