Four Hours at the Capitol

This new HBO documentary portrays the January 6 riot as more of a temper tantrum than an incipient coup.


Eduardo Nicolas Alvear Gonzalez, the dude in flag pants who was famously recorded smoking pot in the Capitol Rotunda on January 6, 2021, ended up pleading guilty to one nonviolent misdemeanor. In an HBO documentary about the Capitol riot, he explains that he became a Donald Trump supporter after learning that the president was battling a sinister cabal responsible for sexually enslaving 800,000 children a year.

Despite his wacky beliefs, Gonzalez counts as a voice of reason compared to many of the other Trump followers we see and hear in Four Hours at the Capitol. He comes across as a joyful, wonderstruck tourist rather than an angry rioter. He even takes credit for helping to calm things down by sharing his stash with other demonstrators.

This "insurrection" included lots of peaceful trespassers like Gonzalez as well as vandals and thugs who destroyed property, attacked police officers, and terrified legislators. Although former President Jimmy Carter recently claimed the invaders "almost succeeded in preventing the democratic transfer of power," they never came close to doing that. Even the most aggressive of them acted haphazardly, literally not knowing which way to turn, let alone what their ultimate goal was.

The outrageous but hapless assault on the Capitol was a humiliating spectacle for the United States, indisputable evidence of Trump's reckless self-absorption, and a fitting end to a ridiculous presidency. But this movie makes it look more like a temper tantrum than an incipient coup.