America Speaks: Do they think President Trump is responsible for the events at the Capitol?

Candice JaimungalSocial Media Contributor
January 15, 2021, 8:00 PM UTC

In a recent Economist/YouGov poll, two in five Americans say President Trump has a lot of responsibility for the takeover of the Capitol by pro-Trump supporters.  

Related: One week later, what do Americans make of the Capitol attack? 

We asked YouGov Chat users to dig deeper on the issue and tell us why they do or don’t believe Trump is responsible for the events at the Capitol. You can join the conversation here.  

“He is the one that told them to do it, he said he would be there beside them as well.” 

Some YouGov Chat users say Trump is responsible because he directed his supporters to the Capitol... 

  • “His address to his followers clearly urged them to riot / storm the capital, as have his constant verbiage about an election loss.” 

  • “He has fired these people up for months and then specifically directed them down to the Capitol.” 

  • “He called for the protest. He riled up the crowd. They wouldn't have been there if he hadn't called for them to gather.” 

  • “He held a rally for his supporters and told them to go to the Capitol even going so far as to lie and tell them he would be there with them...”  

  • “He called them to the capital, urged them on, incited them and directed them.”  

While others say his rhetoric and actions before January 6 also make him responsible.  

  • “Trump has repeatedly made comments that his fanatics should be ready to take action, he told the Proud Boys to stand back and stand by, he’s emboldened a demographic of the population by fueling their anger with lies.” 

  • “Because he incited his people to do this not only on the day of, but for his entire goddamn presidency.” 

  • “During a televised debate he told Proud Boys to stand down and stand by. Then he gave a speech encouraging his violent, angry supporters to march on the Capitol. He knew exactly what he was supporting, yet he wants none of the blame.” 

  • “He’s fed these people lies and conspiracies until they were angry and emboldened enough to attempt a coup based on a lie of a falsified elected.”  

“He didn't tell anyone to STORM THE CAPITOL.” 

But not all Chat users believe Trump is fully responsible for the events at the Capitol. Among respondents who say the President is somewhat responsible or not responsible at all, many say his words were misconstrued.  

  • “I believe his messages were not interpreted correctly and were a bit vague.” 

  • “Because of what he said about marching down Pennsylvania Avenue and going to the Capitol on live television. He didn’t tell people to start an insurrection, but he did tell people to show up at the Capitol.” 

  • “He encouraged people to stand firm, but I don't believe he told them to incite violence.” 

  • “He should have made it clear to all to be peaceful and don't break any laws.” 

Others say the President should not be held accountable for the actions of others... 

  • “Because people act on their own one person can't be held accountable for their actions it was a protest that got out of hand...” 

  • “You cannot hold an individual responsible for the actions of the crowd, he didn't tell them to go overthrow the government during his speech.” 

  • “Because people are responsible for their OWN actions.” 

  • “He didn't force the people to break into the capitol, he urged for them to not be violent. People need to learn to make their own decisions and deal with the consequences.” 

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Every day, members of YouGov Chat are asked to share their opinion on a topic in the news. We allow anyone to take part in these chats, and do not display or weight results in real-time. Instead, to make the experience informative but still interactive, the chat displays weighted data from YouGov Direct to show them how the rest of the country voted. This enables us to pose the question to all, while retaining data accuracy and validity when communicating results.       


YouGov chat seeks to add to the ‘what?’ (the quantitative poll result) by finding the ‘why?” (qualitative open ends) in a member’s own words. Learn more about YouGov Chat here.        

Image: Getty