On the eve of Thursday’s hearing at which a congressional committee revealed even more damning evidence of former President Donald Trump’s central role in the Capitol insurrection and the broader plot to keep him in power after losing the 2020 election, former Rep. Michele Bachmann told religious-right activists that the insurrection was planned by Trump opponents to make him look bad.
Bachmann, who was at the U.S. Capitol that day, told a Family Research Council town hall on Christian nationalism that the Jan. 6 crowd was “happy” before the violence started. She declared that the attack was a “rebranding exercise” to portray Trump and the MAGA movement as terrorists.
Bachmann is an influential figure on the religious right. She is dean of the School of Government at Pat Robertson’s Regent University and board chair of the Family Research Council, which was the organizer of Wednesday’s event.
Bachman is an ardent election denialist who, like Trump, has refused to accept his defeat. On Election Day 2020, she had assured viewers of Kenneth Copeland’s Victory Network that “the Lord, our God, has sealed this election in the heavenlies and we are going to be rejoicing very soon.” Weeks after the election, she screamed that her vote had been “stolen” on election night, “when Satan was snatching away from America rule by the consent of the governed.” In April 2021, she responded to President Biden’s first State of the Union Speech by saying, “We had a fake election. We’ve had a fake presidency. This is a fake State of the Union address.” A month before, she used her post at Regent to host an “election integrity” conference that gave a platform to Gateway Pundit’s Jim and Joe Hoff and other conspiracy theorists.
Bachmann has also been a fervent promoter of bogus conspiracy theories about the insurrection since hours after the attack. The day after the insurrection, she falsely declared that the Capitol was invaded by left-wing “rabble-rousers paid to put together a coup.” Months later, she told right-wing radio listeners that the insurrection “was a theatrical event that the progressive left put on” to “rebrand Donald Trump as being an insurrectionist and a leader of a terrorist movement.”
She has her story, and she’s sticking to it, evidence be damned.