Why This Wasn’t a Coup
Here’s the right language for what’s happening in Washington—and why the terminology matters.
What is happening on Capitol Hill? News coverage offers a partial, if incomplete, grasp on the facts. Thousands of pro-Trump protesters, many wearing Make America Great Again hats and waving Blue Lives Matter or Don’t Tread on Me flags, have thronged the area. Mobs, some possibly armed, have smashed windows, overwhelmed the police, and stormed the Capitol building. Tear gas has been deployed in the Rotunda. Security guards and police have been photographed in at least one armed standoff—with whom is unclear—and at least one person has been wheeled out of the building in a stretcher, covered with blood.
Jonathan Tepperman was editor in chief of Foreign Policy from 2018-2020 and is the author of The Fix: How Countries Use Crises to Solve the World’s Worst Problems. Twitter: @j_tepperman
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