January 6 Was Not A Coup

JUNE 20, 2022

Was there a coup attempt on January 6? For the answer to be “yes,” there had to have been a realistic path by which some action on that day could have resulted in Donald Trump remaining president of the United States.

Watching the show trial on television, you could believe it might have been possible. The special committee’s TV show is dedicated to convincing a lay audience the Trump administration came “that close” to tossing away our democracy, with some mechanism almost clicking into place that would have left Trump in power.

It would be easier to take the Democrats seriously if they would coolly outline just how Trump could have stayed in office without the military, who were clearly not taking a partisan stance on January 6. Absent that, you had political theater and a riot, not a coup attempt. Think back to the 1960s and ask yourself if occupying the administration building on campus would have stopped the Vietnam War in its tracks. This is politically much ado about not much, except Democratic Party 2024 electioneering.

To stage a coup, you need tanks on the White House lawn. Instead, America transitioned peacefully from one administration to another. That hard reality is wholly missing from the Democrats’ January 6 committee hearings and all the frou-frou that accompanies them.

Could Trump have used the Capitol riot to declare martial law and stay in power? No. The president cannot use the military domestically in a way Congress does not agree with. The “web of laws” Congress enacted to govern the domestic activities of the armed forces—including the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the use of federal troops to execute the law without express congressional authorization—would stop Trump cold.