Fascism expert Ruth Ben-Ghiat stunned CNN's Jim Acosta on Saturday when she explained why Donald Trump needed to travel to the Capitol after his speech on the ellipse on Jan. 6, 2021.
Acosta played a clip of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) speaking at the first prime-time hearing of the House Select Committee Investigating the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.
"Cheney also said Trump had a sophisticated seven-point plan to overturn the election and the chair of the committee, Benny Thompson, called this a coup attempt," Acosta said. "Ruth, you're an expert on coups. What's the significance of that?"
"I was really pleased to see Chairman Thompson use that word because it's the right word for something that's the result of a process that started -- in a sense it started before November 2020... because Trump had been trying to discredit elections for several years and forming his personality cult so the faithful would rally when he summoned them."
"But coups can take months or years to plan and this was a multi-pronged attempt to overthrow our democracy. It's worth reviewing that he tried so many things simultaneously. He had General Michael Flynn trying to have martial law or military intervention and he tried the trickery that happened with the Georgia Secretary of State. And when none of that worked, he went nuclear and did what autocrats have done in the past and used violence, summoned the people there to right this monstrous wrong on his behalf," said Ben-Ghiat, the author of the book Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present.
"It's interesting, what came out recently, is Trump was trying to get to the Capitol on Jan. 6. He couldn't get there. This is consistent, if you're having a coup and summoned everybody and you expect to be anointed as the head of a new illegitimate government, you have to be there," she explained. "There's a phase in coups. They're violent, quick, and then you have the pronouncement of the new order. That's why he was trying to get there."
"Wow," Acosta said. "That is a great point."
Original story CNN News