Trump-Supporting Thugs took over the US Capitol building, disrupting the counting of the electoral votes to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win. Earlier in the day, thousands of his supporters held a rally refusing to accept the election results. In his speech to his supporters, Trump said he would never concede to Biden. The “Save America” march coincided with today’s certification of the electoral college vote scheduled for this afternoon. Trump encouraged his supporters to head to the Capitol to protest the election results.
“This election was stolen from you, from me, from the country…You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You must show strength, and you have to be strong, Trump told his enthusiastic and delusional supporters. The Capitol exploded into chaos, with many congressional members tweeting in the middle of the lockdown.
“We’ve been given gas masks on the House floor. Tear gas has been used in the Rotunda.”-Rep. Gerry Connolly
Congressional members were in the middle of debating election results when the sessions shut down for recess as Capitol police initiated a lockdown. All Congress members were immediately placed on lockdown, with some evacuating, taking refuge in their offices, or sheltering-in-place in various locations.
The angry mob broke through the barriers surrounding the Capitol and bulldozed their way into the Capitol in a rage. Breaking windows, the mob stormed angrily inside, some with pipe bombs, many dressed in Trump paraphernalia and carrying Trump flags. The world watched these thugs surround the Capitol, scaling the walls of Congress, breaking into Nancy Pelosi’s office, and eventually making their way to the main floor. An unknown woman was also shot in the chest and later died. President-Elect Biden spoke to the American people saying, “the scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, do not reflect who we are-It borders on sedition and it must end now,” It’s not protest; it’s insurrection.”
Illinois lawmakers echoed the President Elect’s statement, also blaming Trump for inciting violence and lawlessness.
Illinois Governor Pritzker said Trump should be removed from office immediately, “There is no doubt in my mind that his efforts to encourage a coup represent high treason to this democracy, our Constitution and all Americans; he poses a danger to our nation. He must be impeached and removed from office immediately.”
President Trump and his enablers incited this violence. Shame on every elected official in Congress and elsewhere who fomented this anti-democratic insurrection by extremists. This is not a democracy. This is a disgrace.”-Mayor Lightfoot.
Trump waited hours until telling the mob to go home but continued perpetuating lies about a stolen election and telling his followers, “We love you, “You’re very special.” “I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us,”
What was noticeably missing during this insurrection was law enforcement. Capitol police were overwhelmed by the thousands of Trump-supporting thugs. The mob was left mostly untouched and unchallenged by law enforcement for hours. The national guard was later called restoring order after the 6 pm curfew initiated by the mayor.
In stark contrast and a clear display of white privilege, there were no rubber bullets, little tear gas, and no National Guard present while the mob freely roamed the halls of the nation’s Capitol, wreaking havoc. It was a vastly different display compared to the response to the Black Lives Matter protests in response to the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. In those protests, the Capitol was secured, but protestors were met with an incredible show of force by the national guard and law enforcement, often using physical force, rubber bullets, and tear gas to disperse peaceful protestors. One could argue the response by law enforcement would be incredibly different had the crowd looked different.
Leaders of Congress will reconvene this evening to resume the joint session and certify the election. The Capitol is currently being cleaned before members of congress return.
Interim Managing Editor Danielle Sanders is a writer and journalist living in Chicago. Find her on social media @DanieSandersOfficial.