An attempted bank robber who doesn’t hurt anybody is still guilty of attempted bank robbery. If someone gets hurt, though, the penalties are greater even if the robber didn’t intend harm.
This is how I think about what Donald Trump did last week. Of course the violence makes everything worse. But whatever blame he deserves for inciting a mob—and I think he deserves quite a lot—the ransacking of the Capitol should be understood as merely compounding the original caper: to steal the election he lost.
Let’s look at the record.
For months, Trump dodged answering whether he’d respect the results of the 2020 election. Why? Because, as he often says, he likes to keep his options open.