As two courts are separately considering whether the “insurrection clause” of the 14th Amendment prevents Donald Trump from running for office, the former president referred to those convicted of January 6-related crimes as “hostages.”
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Many of the things that Donald Trump, a self-proclaimed genius, does seem so moronic that some people believe that he must be playing “4D chess” because otherwise his actions would simply be inexplicably dumb.
Adhering to that theory, the former president pulled off another masterstroke on Thursday.
Upon entering the stage at a rally in Houston, Trump’s team played a song featuring some of his supporters who had been imprisoned for their roles in the violent attack on Congress on January 6.
As you may recall, that whole thing happened because, at the behest of Trump, loyal MAGAists converged on Washington, DC, to stop Congress from certifying the election of Joe Biden (some of them also wanted to hang then-Vice President Mike Pence for his refusal to participate in a coup).
In any case, Trump, who had been saluting during the song, then began the rally in Houston by explaining to the audience that he has a different name for the members of the “J6 Prison Choir” and presumably the hundreds of others convicted for January 6-related crimes.
“I call them the ‘J-6 hostages,’ not prisoners,” the former president said of those of his supporters who literally went to jail for him. “I call them the hostages, what’s happened. And you know, it’s a shame.”
In fact, Trump thinks it is such a shame that he has already dangled the prospect of pardoning these “political prisoners,” as some Republicans like to call them, if he returns to power.
At any point in time, it does not seem like the smartest thing for the former president to refer to people as “hostages” who either pleaded guilty or were convicted by a jury of their peers for participating in a violent attack on Congress on his behalf.
It generally just seems to indicate a lack of contrition. Admittedly, remorse is not really part of Trump’s emotional range, but it might help in light of his two upcoming trials for staging a coup/trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Right now, however, this type of rhetoric seems especially ill-advised.
After all, courts in Colorado and Minnesota are currently considering whether the former president should be allowed to appear on the states’ ballots next year, or whether he is barred from running for office again based on the “insurrection clause” of the 14th Amendment.
Maybe Trump is operating under the assumption that the judges who will decide whether he is even eligible to be president again won’t get wind of this rally. However, it stands to reason that the lawyers for the plaintiffs are keeping an eye on his exploits and that this video might be introduced as evidence of some kind.
Trump opens up his rally in Houston, TX, with the national anthem sung by J6 insurrectionists:
“I call them the J6 hostages. Not prisoners, I call them the hostages…When that came out it went to the number one song. It was beating everybody. It beat Taylor Swift.” pic.twitter.com/NP60KT15OL
— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) November 2, 2023
Or maybe Trump wants them to see the clip for reasons that only a 4D-chess–playing stable genius can possibly understand.
Yup, that must be it.
Well played, sir!