Insurrectionists Backing President Trump Storm US Capitol Building

Following the results of the 2020 election, Pro-Trump rioters incited violence and broke into the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., over false claims that the election process was fraudulent.

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Following the results of the 2020 election, Pro-Trump rioters incited violence and broke into the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., over false claims that the election process was fraudulent.

On Wednesday, Jan. 6, hundreds of rioters, in support of President Donald Trump (R) and his false claims that the election was stolen from him, broke into the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The insurgency came on the day of the congressional vote count to certify President-Elect Joe Biden’s (D) win. 

While the electoral vote count has previously been for mostly ceremonial purposes, the process took on heightened importance this year as several GOP senators were expected, at the time, to object to the results of Mr. Biden’s win in various battleground states, such as Arizona. However, the vote count was suspended shortly after 2 p.m. Eastern Time (E.T.), after lawmakers were evacuated from the building. 

One senior GOP aide, who has an office not far from the Senate floor, said he took a steel rod and barricaded his door when the pro-Trump mob approached. For what seemed like 20 minutes, he said, rioters, banged on his door, trying to break in.”

— Paul Kane

“I was ordered into a gallery [reserved] for family and close friends of senators…Soon, the Senate was sealed off and the session was adjourned. Capitol Police raced around the two-story Senate Chamber locking every set of doors,” Senior Congressional Correspondent for the Washington Post Paul Kane said, speaking of his experience being barricaded in the Capitol. “One senior GOP aide, who has an office not far from the Senate floor, said he took a steel rod and barricaded his door when the pro-Trump mob approached. For what seemed like 20 minutes, he said, rioters, banged on his door, trying to break in.” 

The mob, one of which included a recently elected member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, marched past the Capitol barricades, then proceeded to climb the walls of the Capitol from the northwest side as well as climb the scaffolding to access the second-floor windows. The rioters then toppled barricades and entered the building through a door on the east side. Once inside the building, the rioters ran through the halls, scuffled with police officers stationed inside the capitol, ransacked offices. 

“The violent assault on the Capitol – and disruption of a Constitutionally-mandated meeting of Congress – was undertaken by people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes,” former president George W. Bush (R) said. 

The mutiny appears to have been planned, with posts from the rioters detailing their ambitions dating back to several weeks ago being uncovered. On apps and websites such as Parler, Telegram, and other facets of the far-right corners of the internet, users expressed their plans to “storm the capitol” if Congress did not reject the results of the election. Rioters were photographed at the Capitol wearing articles of clothing indicating the degree of organization invested into the attempted coup, with slogans such as “MAGA Civil War, January 6th, 2021.”     

“The beliefs driving these movements are not rational or logical, and no amount of routine debunking can deter them—especially not from outlets or sources they believe to be ‘fake news,’” Jared Holt of the Atlantic Council, an international affairs institute, said. “I imagine that social-media sites where this organizing occurred are likely to come under increased scrutiny from regulators and public officials as we learn more about the platforms’ roles in the chaos.”

Local authorities announced that the unrest resulted in five dead, including one police officer and four from the mob, one who was fatally shot by the police and three who died of “medical emergencies” during the riot, more than 50 injured, and more than 80 arrests, most of which were due to violations of the 6 p.m. curfew instituted by D.C.’s mayor, Muriel Bowser (D), after the turmoil. Two pipe bombs were recovered in the Capitol area and six firearms were confiscated. Much of the blame for the insurrection has been directed at Mr. Trump, who inflamed his supporter’s agitations through his speech given at the “Save America Rally”  the morning of the riot.

“This was not a close election. You know I say sometimes jokingly, but there’s no joke about it. I have been into elections. I won them both and the second one I won much bigger than the first, okay?,” Mr. Trump said. “Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy. And after this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you…. Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”

Later in the day, however, Mr. Trump appeared to slightly walk back his statements in a message posted to Twitter, telling his followers to go home after the violence had occurred, though he still maintained his false claims of election fraudulency.  

“I know your pain. I know your hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us, it was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side, “ Mr. Trump said.
“But you have to go home now… this was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home, we love you, you’re very special.” 

Lawmakers and citizens alike drew contrast between the differentiating treatment given to Wednesday’s rioters in contrast to Black Lives Matter protesters, most notably during this summer, by both the Trump Administration and law enforcement. Many pointed to contrasting images and videos showing Black Lives Matter protesters being tear-gassed and met with violence and large numbers of heavily armed officers while protesting on the streets, whereas the mob that broke into the Capitol was met with little resistance once inside, allowed to crowd the halls and Senate Chamber.

“The police in Seattle and Portland and DC were more prepared to repress peaceful Black Lives Matter protests than people actually trying to storm the US Capitol,” racial justice lawyer Judith Dianis said. 

Despite the commotion, the Congress was able to reconvene to confirm the electoral college votes after 11 p.m. E.T. Though 127 Republican lawmakers (six Republicans in the Senate and 121 in the House), still objected to the election results, some backing down after previously claiming they would, the presidential win was certified for Mr. Biden. 

The United States and the United States Congress have faced down much greater threats than the unhinged crowd we saw today. We’ve never been deterred before, and we will not be deterred today.”

— Mitch Mcconnell

“The United States and the United States Congress have faced down much greater threats than the unhinged crowd we saw today. We’ve never been deterred before, and we will not be deterred today. They tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed. They failed. They failed to attempt to obstruct the Congress,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mcconnell said. 

Following the chaos, nine high-level Trump Administration officials have resigned. Though Mr. Trump has still refused to concede the results of the election, the nation will go forward with Mr. Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, Jan. 20th.  

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