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The Washington, D.C. insurrection

Richmond, VA  |  January 23, 2021 9:00am  |  By Tom Lappas

Nearly three-quarters of respondents to this month’s Richmond Power Poll blamed Donald Trump for the insurrection in Washington, D.C. last week, but they were more divided about what should happen to him next.

In total, 73% of respondents said Trump was most to blame for the events of Jan. 6, in which thousands of rioters forced their way inside the U.S. Capitol, halting the formal vote by Congress to certify Joe Biden as president-elect and leading to the deaths of two police officers and four rioters. The group cited next as the most blame-worth was the rioters themselves, followed by media outlets and the election process.

About the same percentage of respondents who blamed Trump also said that they thought Biden had won the election fairly. But 19% said they thought there were “serious fraud” issues regardless of who won. Almost 8% said they had some doubt that Biden had won fairly, though there has been no credible information to suggest there was any widespread fraud that altered the outcome.

So what should happen to Trump now? About 42% of respondents said he should be removed from office through whatever means possible, even though his term ends Jan. 20 anyway. Another 39% said he should be allowed to serve out those last few days, while 19% said he should be urged to resign immediately.

The House of Representatives impeached Trump for a second time earlier this week, this time on a single charge of inciting a riot. The Senate will conduct a trial, but it may not begin until Trump already has left office.

As for what should happen to Trump after he leaves office, about 27% of respondents said that his impeachment was warranted and that he also should be charged with criminal acts. Separately, about 23% said they believed the impeachment was justified, while 11% said he should be charged with criminal acts.

Another 35% said Trump should not face any charges and shouldn’t have been impeached, because those steps would only cause more division. Four percent of respondents suggested that Trump had done nothing wrong.