When we think of radicalized Republicans who launched assaults in response to Donald Trump’s lies, we tend to think of violence on Jan. 6. But as we were reminded yesterday, the campaign of terror was far broader, and unfolded far from Washington, D.C.
NBC News highlighted one of the more memorable, albeit painful, moments from the testimony:
In testimony, [Georgia election worker Shaye Moss] described how people came into her grandmother’s house looking to find her and her mother and trying to make a “citizen’s arrest.” ... “I felt so helpless and horrible for her,” Moss recalled. “She was screaming. I told her to close the door and don’t open the door for anyone.”
Moss hadn’t done anything wrong, but Donald Trump targeted her directly, and it put her in serious danger: She and her family faced threats of physical violence.
“I don’t want anyone knowing my name,” she testified. “I don’t want to go anywhere with my mom because she might yell my name out over the grocery aisle or something. I don’t go to the grocery store at all. I haven’t been anywhere at all. I’ve gained about 60 pounds. I just don’t do nothing anymore. I don’t want to go anywhere.”
Alas, she wasn’t alone. Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, testified about Trump followers harassing him and his family, and even breaking into the home of his son’s widow. Rusty Bowers, Arizona’s Republican state House Speaker, had Trump followers outside his home as his ailing daughter was dying.
Viewers also saw a deposition from Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who testified about Republicans, fueled by Trump’s lies, showing up at her home. The Democratic official said she honestly didn’t know whether her home would come under attack.
“Are they coming with guns?” Benson asked. “Are they going to attack my House? I’m in here with my kid. You know, I’m trying to put him to bed. And so it was — yeah, that was the scariest moment just not knowing what was going to happen.”
We’re not just talking about a few random cranks saying obnoxious things via social media. This is a dynamic in which Americans who did nothing wrong were terrorized by fanatics who believed nonsensical garbage from their corrupt leader.
Trump not only could’ve stopped lying, he also could’ve called on his followers not to scare, harass, and break into the homes of innocent people. He chose not to.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democratic member of the House select committee, made a comment toward the end of the hearing that resonated.
“If the most powerful person in the world can bring the full weight of the presidency down on an ordinary citizen who is merely doing her job with a lie as big and heavy as a mountain, who among us is safe?” the House Intelligence Committee chairman asked. “None of us is. None of us.”
Trump didn’t see his job as protecting Americans; he saw his job as targeting Americans who got in his way.
The House Jan. 6 committee is holding its fifth public hearing on Thursday, June 23 at 3 p.m. ET. Get expert analysis in real-time on our liveblog at msnbc.com/jan6hearings.