On the weekend of May 29-31, 2020, the American left attempted to stage a “color revolution” to force President Donald Trump to resign.
The key components of this revolution were to be the same as those seen in former Soviet republics: a mass protest outside the White House; the backing of reform-minded members of the military, who would undermine the president’s confidence; and the impression of popular support for the revolution, as portrayed by the mainstream media.
The “color” of the revolution, in this case, was black — as in the Black Lives Matter movement, which had erupted onto the streets of the nation in the aftermath of the death of a black man, George Floyd, in the custody of police in Democrat-run Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Trump had nothing to do with Floyd’s death; in fact, he reacted swiftly, asking the FBI to investigate Floyd’s death immediately. But that did not matter to the left, which seized on the event as a pretext for revolt.
The unrest was partly a reflection of outrage at what happened to Floyd. But it was also an effort by the left to take control of the country.
Many “progressive” Democrats had been discouraged to see “moderate” Joe Biden become the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, almost by default, after losing the first primary contests to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The Black Lives Matter movement was their way to insist on radical change. Biden was already falling into line.
On the night of May 29, as rioters set the Third Precinct police headquarters ablaze in Minneapolis, hundreds of Black Lives Matter activists — many armed with frozen water bottles and other projectiles — descended on the White House.
They were not “peaceful protesters.” They attacked police and members of the Secret Service, injuring dozens. They also assaulted members of the press, including Breitbart News’ own video editor. They threatened to break metal barriers.
The risk to the White House was so grave that the Secret Service made the decision to rush President Trump into a basement bunker for his own safety.
Instead of condemning the rioters for an attack that, if successful, would have undermined the national security of the United States, the Democrats and the media mocked Trump. Then-candidate Joe Biden even blamed Trump for the violence, saying that he should “step out of his bunker,” as if he had chosen to hide.
During the daytime on May 30 and 31, various Democratic leaders — including future Vice President Kamala Harris — joined the protests, which were — for the moment — peaceful. At night, the chaos resumed.
On the evening of May 31, rioters partially burned St. John’s Episcopal Church. They also burned a historical building in the park at Lafayette Square.
The Democratic Party, almost without exception, failed to condemn the violence. Some even tried to justify it.
President Trump called for a strong police response to the unrest, even suggesting that the military become involved if necessary. But Democratic governors resisted calling out the National Guard to defend their own cities. And several retired military leaders had already lent their support for the idea of ousting the president.
Months before, retired Adm. William McRaven wrote an op-ed in the New York Times urging that Trump be removed, “the sooner, the better.”
On June 1, the U.S. Park Police and the Secret Service carried out a plan they had drawn up over the weekend to expand the perimeter fence around the White House, given the ongoing threat to the president and to law enforcement officers. They cleared Lafayette Park, wearing riot gear and firing pepper balls.
Afterwards, Trump gave a speech in which he endorsed peaceful protest but condemned violence. He then walked across the park to the church, and held up a Bible.
The gesture was crucial. It signaled to nervous Americans that the democratically-elected government was still in charge. Moreover, the gesture was a quiet admonishment to the nation about the importance of the rule of law, of good and evil.
From that moment onward, law enforcement began to regain control of Washington, DC, and other cities. Though riots continued throughout the summer in places like Portland, the “color revolution” was defeated, physically and morally.
For that precise reason, the Democrats and the media had to invent a lie: that Trump had ordered the military to remove “peaceful protesters,” using “tear gas,” so that he could hold a Bible (“upside-down,” Biden claimed) for a “photo-op.”
Trump’s own former defense secretary, James Mattis, said Trump was a Nazi-like threat to the Constitution. Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, later apologized for his participation in Trump’s walk across the park.
But it was all “fake news.”
An inspector general’s report for the Department of the Interior confirmed Wednesday that there was no evidence whatsoever that the Park Police had cleared Lafayette Square so that Trump could walk through it. Nor did federal officials use tear gas. That was the Metropolitan Police Department, dispersing rioters nearby. (Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser, who denounced Trump for his actions, is now in court defending her officers’ use of tear gas.)
The Lafayette Square hoax was more than an example of media bias. It was a campaign of disinformation that aimed to demonize President Trump as a would-be dictator, and also to cover up the left’s attempt to overthrow the government.
(Ironically, the mainstream media and Silicon Valley would later suppress real information about Biden and his son’s corrupt dealings with foreign oligarchs and the Chinese government, claiming — falsely — that it was disinformation.)
Democrats and the media have referred to the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, as an “insurrection.” It was violent, and aimed to stop the certification of Biden’s victory in the Electoral College vote. But it was never a serious attempt to overthrow the government.
There is no evidence that anyone who stormed the Capitol that day — not even the most violent among them — had a plan to seize control of the government. After a few hours, they left the Capitol voluntarily.
The riots at Lafayette Square were a real insurrection. The rioters wanted to force Trump out. They did not have to maintain control of the White House to do so: they simply needed to create enough pressure on him to leave.
The Capitol rioters would have had to replace 535 members of Congress if they had wanted to overthrow the government. All the rioters at Lafayette Square needed to do was replace one man. They posed a real danger to democracy, and they knew it.
Furthermore, the rioters believed they had the moral authority to replace Trump. And the Democratic Party, and the mainstream media, agreed. To them, Trump was the embodiment of the “systemic racism” that killed George Floyd.
Trump’s walk across the park to the church was a necessary retort. The higher moral authority was the Judeo-Christian blueprint for justice, in which good and evil are a matter of individual actions, and the rule of law must be respected.
Trump did not attack democracy; he defended it that day.
While the events of January 6 are inexcusable, the rioters never had a real prospect of stopping the transfer of power. Lafayette Square was the real insurrection, the one that nearly succeeded in destroying our constitutional republic.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.