Most Americans blame former President Donald Trump, at least in part, for a mob of hundreds invading the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, according to a new Public Religion Research Institute survey.

About 57% of U.S. adults surveyed said Trump bears a lot of responsibility for the violent actions of the rioters, with another 16% saying he bears at least a little responsibility. The survey, published Thursday, found about 25% said the former president is not at all responsible.

White evangelical Protestants, who have been a significant part of Trump’s base, stood apart from other religious groups on this question. Only 23% of white evangelicals said Trump bears a lot of responsibility for the riot, compared to 74% of all Protestants of color who said the same. 

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 232-197 on Jan. 13 to impeach Trump for his role in the insurrection, making him the first president to be impeached twice.

Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Then-President Donald Trump speaks at his “Save America March” rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021 ― right before rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol.

In addition to blaming Trump for the riot, many Americans pinned a lot of responsibility on conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (57%) and on white supremacist groups (62%). Members of several white supremacist groups were reportedly present at the riot.

White evangelical Protestants again stood out on these questions. Only about 30% placed a lot of blame on conservative media platforms, while 43% placed a lot of blame on white supremacist groups.


PRRI also found an uptick in the percentage of Americans who say Trump’s decisions and behavior as president encouraged white supremacists. About 64% of Americans agreed with that sentiment in January, compared to 57% last September. 

Americans are also more likely to say that harsh and violent language in politics contributes “a lot” to violent actions in society. About 60% said this in January, compared to 51% in September. 

Mihoko Owada/STAR MAX/IPx

More than 170 people have been charged by the Justice Department for the violence and destruction at the Capitol building on Jan. 6.

The storming of the U.S. Capitol followed a rally, dubbed the “Save America March,” where Trump and other Republicans exhorted the crowd with debunked claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen due to massive voter fraud. During the rally, Trump called on his supporters to “fight much harder” and “show strength,” before pledging to march to the Capitol with them ― a promise he didn’t keep. 

“If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Trump said at the rally. 

The riot at the Capitol, which disrupted Congress as it tried to certify President Joe Biden’s win, led to five deaths.

PRRI’s survey was conducted online between Jan. 15 and Jan. 18, with a national sample of 1,019 adults participating.

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