GOP mainstreams its Jan. 6 fringe

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Traditionalist Republicans breathed a sigh of relief when Donald Trump canceled his Thursday news conference, then another when the GOP in Georgia’s Cobb County called off its planned vigil for people charged in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

But every indication is that the reprieve will be fleeting.

Exactly one year after one of the darkest days in American democracy, the image the party will convey is not an exemplary one. Across the country, Republican activists are still planning rallies and vigils in more than a dozen states for Jan. 6 participants they depict as “patriots” or “political prisoners.” Stars of the party’s right-wing are lining up to appear on conservative media in a day of counter programming designed to downplay the seriousness of the attack on the Capitol. Trump himself will be back behind a microphone next week in Arizona, where he will repeat his lie that the election was rigged.

Trump’s baseless claims about the outcome — and the idea that the Jan. 6 riot was something other than a violent assault on the halls of government — are no longer fringe elements of the GOP, but part of

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