Poll: Half of GOP believe Capitol riot falsehoods

In the months after a mob of Trump supporters staged a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, the former president and his allies have pushed false and misleading narratives about the siege that left five dead.

And these false claims appear to be resonating with Republican voters. An exclusive Reuters/Ipsos poll out Monday shows about half of Republicans believe the Capitol attack was largely a non-violent protest, or that it was the handiwork of left-wing activists "trying to make Trump look bad."

In a recent interview with Fox News, Trump said the rioters posed "zero threat." Other prominent Republicans, such as Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, have publicly questioned whether Trump supporters were behind the riot.

Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz made a similar claim the very day of the deadly attack.

"Some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters, they were masquerading as Trump supporters."

That theory was debunked by the director of the FBI last month.

"We have not seen evidence of that at this date, certainly."

Hundreds of Trump supporters - motivated by the ex-presidents false claims of a stolen election - climbed the walls of the Capitol building, smashed windows, beat and assaulted police officers and forced their way into Congress where lawmakers inside were voting to certify Democratic President Joe Biden's election victory.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll found that the same false claims of election fraud that motivated the rioters remain very much in vogue within the former president's party: six in ten still believe the November election was "stolen" from him.

It's a claim Trump repeated in February.

"This election was rigged."

A spokesperson for the Republican National Committee said its members condemned the Capitol attack. A representative for Trump did not respond to requests for comment. According to the Reuters poll, Trump remains the most popular figure in the party with a majority of Republicans saying he should seek the White House again in 2024.

Video Transcript

- In the months after a mob of Trump supporters staged a deadly raid at the US Capitol, the former president and his allies have pushed false and misleading narratives about the siege that left five dead. And those false claims appear to be resonating with Republican voters. An exclusive Reuters/Ipsos poll out Monday shows about half of Republicans believe the Capitol riot was largely a non-violent protest or that it was the handiwork of left wing activists, quote, "trying to make Trump look bad." In a recent interview with Fox News, Trump said the rioters posed, quote, "zero threat."

Other prominent Republicans, such as Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, have publicly questioned whether Trump supporters were behind the riot. Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz made a similar claim the very day of the deadly attack.

MATT GAETZ: Some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters. They were masquerading as Trump supporters and in fact were members of the violent terrorist group Antifa.

- That theory was debunked by the director of the FBI last month.

DICK DURBIN: Based on your investigation so far, do you have any evidence that the Capitol attack was organized by, quote, "fake Trump protesters?"

CHRISTOPHER WRAY: We have not seen evidence of that at this stage, sir.

- Hundreds of Trump supporters, motivated by the ex-president's false claims of a stolen election, climbed the walls of the Capitol building, smashed windows, beat and assaulted police officers, and forced their way into Congress, where lawmakers inside were voting to certify Democratic President Joe Biden's election victory.

DONALD TRUMP: They rigged an election. They rigged it like they've never rigged an election before.

- The Reuters/Ipsos poll found that the same false claims of election fraud that motivated the rioters remain very much in vogue within the former president's party. 6 in 10 believe the November election was, quote, "stolen from him." It's a claim Trump repeated in February.

DONALD TRUMP: This election was rigged. And the Supreme Court and other courts didn't want to do anything about it.

- A spokesperson for the Republican National Committee said its members condemned the Capitol attack. A representative for Trump did not respond to requests for comment. According to the Reuters poll, Trump remains the most popular figure in the party, with a majority of Republicans saying he should seek the White House again in 2024.