Immediately after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, all corners of the political spectrum repudiated the mob of President Trump’s supporters.
Yet within days, prominent Republicans, party officials, conservative media voices and rank-and-file voters began making a rhetorical shift to try to downplay the group’s violent actions.
The shift is revealing about how conspiracy theories, deflection and political incentives play off one another in Mr. Trump’s G.O.P.
But any window of reflection now seems to be closing as Republicans try to pass blame and to compare last summer’s lawlessness, which was condemned by Democrats, to an attack on Congress, which was inspired by Mr. Trump.
“The violence at the Capitol was shameful,” Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, tweeted at 6:55 a.m. the morning after the attack.
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