On Jan. 6, Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran, was shot during the insurrection while trying to climb through a broken glass door in the Speaker’s lobby. She was part of the violent mob bent on stopping the peaceful transfer of power and, ostensibly, trying to harm or kill political leaders like Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi before they could certify Joe Biden’s campaign win in defiance of Donald Trump’s (ongoing) Big Lie. Trump defenders have tried out various rationalizations for the attack on the Capitol Building (It was an antifa false flag! It was just a picnic!) but seem to have settled on flipping the script and playing the victim. For this to be true, Babbitt must be a martyr.
It matters little that Babbitt was not the “innocent, wonderful, incredible woman” that Trump claims she was. From Trump’s public comments, it appears that all he knows about Babbitt—who appears to have been caught up in QAnon conspiracy theories regarding his Big Lie—is that she was part of the group rampaging through the Capitol on his behalf.
This is a very old script, which is why historians are comparing the story Trump is telling now about Babbitt to one from nine decades back about Horst Wessel, the famed Nazi “martyr.”