January 8, 2021

No, It Wasn’t Antifa

Some on the Right need to own the fact that most of the Capitol mobsters were not leftists.

One of the behaviors we on the Right use to differentiate ourselves from those on the Left is ownership. We own our behavior, good and bad. We don’t wring our hands, and we don’t shrink from holding our side accountable. And so it is with Wednesday’s protest — a protest that a relatively small number among many tens of thousands of Trump supporters turned into a riot by occupying the Capitol building.

Yep, it was a riot. Not a riot in the time-honored sense of the Left — a riot in which buildings are burned, stores are looted, and people are murdered. But when people ignore lawful orders, wrestle with peace officers, and climb over or break through or tear down barriers to entry; when they shatter windows and go through them and make a mess of things, they’re rioting. And that’s what those on our side did Wednesday.

And, no, it wasn’t antifa. At least not in any meaningful sense. Even if the rioters were peppered with an occasional antifa infiltrator — and there’s some reporting that this was indeed the case — there’s no getting around the fact that the overwhelming majority of those who illegally entered the Capitol were ardent Trump supporters. And we can’t be content to say that our side was simply led around by the Left like lemmings.

Andy Ngo, the intrepid Portland-based journalist who’s been covering antifa for years, ought to know. He’s infiltrated them, he’s been badly beaten by them, and he’s had his life threatened by them. He’s seen them up close.

“The people occupying the Capitol building do not look like antifa people dressed in Trump gear or Trump costumes,” he told the Washington Examiner. “I have seen no evidence that they are able to coordinate a mass infiltration on this scale before, so I’m really skeptical that they would have been able to do it here without any of that information leaking out.”

The Examiner’s Will Ricciardella also weighed in. “I didn’t see any BLM or antifa all day and I’ve walked through the crowd a few times. Whatever bad elements there are, they’re vastly outnumbered by everyday folks. I walked through with no problems,” he tweeted.

Yes, we’ve all seen the guy with the fur and the tusks. He’s a well-known QAnon character. And, yes, we’ve seen the knucklehead merrily carrying around the Speaker’s lectern and then supposedly trying to sell it on eBay. If he did manage to leave the grounds with it, and if he did actually post it for sale, that would make him a thief and a capitalist, albeit a pretty sorry excuse for both. (One wonders what he could’ve fetched on eBay for the scraps of the State of the Union speech that Speaker Nancy Pelosi shamefully tore up in front of the nation last February.)

“This isn’t antifa’s m.o.,” writes Robby Soave at Reason. “Antifa protesters typically … dress in black and conceal their faces with masks and hoods. Individuals will quickly smash windows and set fires, then blend back into a crowd of similarly dressed people. They don’t aim to get caught. The people who stormed the Capitol, by contrast, were captured in numerous photos and videos. Their faces are easily identifiable. Many are obviously sincere Trump supporters associated with the far right.”

Here’s another reason why we know these folks weren’t antifa: The Capitol building itself is practically a museum. There are priceless portraits, sculptures, and other artifacts all around it. None of them were torn, gouged, toppled, or spray-painted. Yes, those who breached the building made a mess of things inside, but they stopped far short of the defacement, the defilement, and the wanton destruction that are the hallmarks of rioters on the Left.

“After conversations with Senate and House members of Congress in the last 24 hours,” notes our Mark Alexander, “those who were in the Capitol at the time indicate that the building was littered with trash — that some among the tiny, unhinged minority of Trump supporters entered congressional offices and threw papers and some furnishings around those rooms and hallways. But they make clear that there was little or no damage to historic elements in the building — the statues and portraits and other features. The death of a Capitol Police officer is another matter entirely.”

Alexander also notes that he’s working with Capitol Hill sources to determine the actual number of rioters who entered the building — a number, he’s been told, that is far lower than the “stormed by thousands” talking point being promoted by Biden and Harris, and gleefully parroted by the Leftmedia.

To be clear: Nobody had any business breaking into the Capitol building. But the vast majority of those who streamed in after the initial wave removed or broke down the barriers did so as peaceful protesters rather than rioters.

Let’s speak the truth, and let’s own it. And the truth is this: But for at most a handful of antifa infiltrators, these folks were ours. And they were wrong.

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