Two of the speakers were current members of the House of Representatives: Mo Brooks and Madison Cawthorn, the former telling the crowd to “start taking down names and kicking ass” and the latter urging them to hold members of Congress “accountable” if they didn’t try to overturn the election. A motion to censure Brooks didn’t get through the House Ethics Committee.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was another public official of the state, accusing states that counted their votes and named President Biden the winner of having “capitulated.” After the attack on the Capitol, he did not join every other state attorney general in signing on to a statement condemning the violence. Paxton faces legal trouble, but it’s not because of this—it’s because he’s extremely corrupt.
Other speakers included Trump’s sons Don Jr. and Eric, as well as Trump campaign fundraiser/Don’s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle and Eric’s wife, Lara. Daddy Trump “has more fight in him than every other one combined, and they need to stand up and we need to march on the Capitol today,” Eric told the crowd. Don Jr. said, “You have an opportunity today: You can be a hero, or you can be a zero. And the choice is yours but we are all watching.”
Then there was the usual assortment of Trump hangers-on, people eager to elevate themselves by associating with him, to suck up to him by lying to his supporters, to bask in the cheering of an angry crowd themselves: former campaign adviser Katrina Pierson; personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani; “Women for America First” head Amy Kremer, who had done much of the rally organizing; law professor and conspiracy theorist John Eastman; former Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones, who announced from the stage that he was becoming a Republican.
All of these people are terrible in one way or another. They all participated in inciting the crowd to violence—to believing that violence was righteous rather than an effort to overturn a democratic election. The public officials who participated—Brooks, Cawthorn, Paxton—bear some special blame for encouraging an attack on democracy itself and, in the former two cases, on their own coworkers. So, yeah, they should all be shunned and disdained and booed when they show their faces in public.
But Donald Trump is the root of it all. Trump is the one who refused to concede the election and instead tried to overturn it and to undermine the legitimacy of U.S. democracy. Trump is the one who pressured Mike Pence to try to block the congressional counting of the electoral votes, something Pence was very clear he could not do. Trump is the one who called the crowd there on that day to disrupt that constitutional process. The crowd was not there to hear Katrina Pierson or John Eastman or even Eric and Don Jr. They were there because Donald Trump summoned them, and once they were there, he told them what to do: “fight like hell” and march on the Capitol.