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Was Jan. 6 an Insurrection? A Failed Coup? Cleary Discusses with Politico

August 26, 2022


Matthew R. Cleary

Matthew R. Cleary

It's been more than 18 months since the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and Americans are still struggling to understand what happened that day. Matt Cleary, associate professor of political science and expert in the study of global political instability and polarization, participated in a roundtable of distinguished scholars and writers hosted by Politico to discuss what Jan. 6 should be called.

"Certainly, riot is an easy way to describe it," says Cleary. "Insurrection is better, and I think insurrection would be my preferred term for it. And I agree...that 'coup' is a little too strong, and there are some important differences between what happened on January 6th, on the one hand, and your typical Latin American coup on the other hand," he says.

"The most important being the lack of participation of any military or police forces of the state," Cleary explains. "In fact, Trump the man, the person, could not or did not count on the support of any institutional actors, so far as I know. Not the Supreme Court, not the Congress as a whole, although certainly he has some supporters in Congress, not other important institutions of the state," he says.

Read the full article, "Ask the ‘Coupologists’: Just What Was Jan. 6 Anyway?"

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