In an ongoing and desperate attempt to absolve former President Donald Trump of any responsibility for the seditious and violent riot at the U.S. Capitol last month, One America News Network has latched onto a new boogeyman: a long-dead city planner.
In OAN’s world, the horrific events of Jan. 6 weren’t the result of lies Trump repeated ad nauseam — and that right-wing outlets bolstered — about the 2020 election being stolen from him.
Instead, OAN claimed Thursday morning that Pierre L’Enfant, the French-born American designer whom President George Washington hired in 1791 to draft a plan for the nation’s capital, was to blame for the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. After all, a segment on the network argued, L’Enfant laid out the roads that people would walk upon to access the building some 200 years later.
“There’s no evidence to suggest that President Trump coordinated with city officials to create some sort of route for protesters to go from the White House to the Capitol,” an unknown narrator said in the segment, as a picture of Trump seated at the Resolute Desk flashed across the screen.
The screen then cut from Trump to stock imagery of the Capitol building as the narrator continued.
“Further, it was in fact Pierre L’Enfant, the architect of Washington, D.C. around 200 years prior to the events of January 6, who designed the city to ensure that all roads led to the beacon of democracy he placed at the center of the city,” the voice said.
There’s no evidence of Trump coordinating with city officials “to create some sort of route” because telling people to walk to the Capitol ― as Trump did several times in his speech before the insurrection ― requires no coordination. In the closing lines of his speech that took place directly before the riot, Trump mentioned “Pennsylvania Avenue” three times and urged the crowd to follow it to the Capitol.
If only L’Enfant had had the foresight to envision a completely inaccessible city, devoid of streets, bike paths or walking routes of any kind. Then Trump wouldn’t be in this mess.