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'Threat has only grown:' Reflections on Jan. 6 anniversary

A crowd of Trump supporters extends from the foreground up the steps to the US Capitol building. The crowd carries an array of American flags and Trump flags, as well as yellow Gadsden flags.
Brett Davis
Flickr Creative Commons
An armed mob supporting former president Donald Trump broke into the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress’s certification of Electoral College votes in the presidential election on Jan. 6, 2021.

Last week was the one-year anniversary of the deadly January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, led by an angry mob of Trump supporters. They were trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Reno was one of several cities nationwide that held a rally on the one-year anniversary of that day last week. Mountain West News Bureau Reporter Bert Johnson was at the rally, and spoke to KUNR’s Noah Glick about his coverage.

Noah Glick: So, what did you hear at the rally last week in downtown Reno?

Bert Johnson: Well, this event was organized by Indivisible Northern Nevada. They're a progressive grassroots group, and, so, they were condemning the attack, and also urging people in the community to stay engaged with politics, especially as we're coming up on the midterm elections here in November. That's because many of former President Donald Trump's supporters and a lot of Republican officials have not only continued their efforts to try and undermine the last election, but they're also playing down the severity of the insurrection. And make no mistake: That was a serious and unprecedented event in United States history, and five people died as a result.

Not everyone at the rally was a Democrat, though. For example, I talked to King Dupree; he's a contractor here in Reno and he said he voted for Trump in 2016 but sat out the 2020 election because he was disillusioned. He also disagreed with the insurrection itself. Dupree said if Trump had just been a better president, it might not have happened in the first place.

“Was he providing jobs and was he getting things done? He was; he just was a little crooked about it, and I think if he wasn't so crooked about some of the things that he did, maybe he would have won again,” Dupree said.

Noah Glick: And Nevada’s senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen have both made public statements condemning the attack and Trump's role. They both voted in support of impeachment for his role in that event. I mean, what about other leaders from the state? Did anyone else from Nevada have anything to say about the day?

Bert Johnson: Well, all of our members in Congress have made pretty clear statements against the rioters, including Republican Congressman Mark Amodei. Attorney General Aaron Ford, who's also a Democrat, told reporters earlier in the week that this was an attack on our democratic system of government.

“And as we acknowledge January 6, we must also be crystal clear that this attack and threat to our democracy began long before that fateful day. And that threat has only grown in the last year,” Ford said.

Meanwhile, you've got Republicans, like Adam Laxalt, who's running against Cortez Masto for Senate, who were instrumental in trying to overturn the election results here. He was a leader in the Trump reelection campaign, and he also led a series of lawsuits trying to get votes thrown out, mainly in Clark County, but all of those cases were dismissed for lack of evidence. And another thing that's important to note is that President Joe Biden won the election by almost 7 million votes.

Noah Glick: Is there anything else you heard at the rally aside from talking about the insurrection democracy? Was there other issues being discussed by folks there? Were there other things that you think might become important as we get to the midterm elections this year?

Bert Johnson: Well, I think one of my main takeaways, almost stepping back from politics, is that a lot of people feel really sad and angry about the impact this is having on their communities. You know, I spoke to one woman who came from Lyon County, she's kind of the rare Democrat out there. Obviously, Lyon County, is known as a deep red, deep red area in terms of its politics.

But she was saying, you know, even though she's lived there for a while, she's always been a Democrat, the tone of conversations with Republicans has really changed since January 6. People are angry now, and it's really hard to find any common ground at all, and I think that's probably because, like I was saying, so much of the inflamed rhetoric, so much of the misinformation around the election, around the pandemic, these [things] go beyond politics, and that's having a really negative effect on people's relationships.

The photo included in this story is licensed under Flickr Creative Commons.

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