Pro-Trump protests outside of the Capitol building turned violent Wednesday afternoon, resulting in riots and breaching of the Capitol building.
Several crowds formed outside of the Capitol Wednesday while congress convened to vote on the approbation of the electoral college and the 2020 presidential election. The senate had to stop it’s proceedings during Sen. James Lankford’s speech as an instructional aide interrupted saying that there were protesters inside the building. Congressional lawmakers were then evacuated from the Capitol, and a congressional source stated that the House Office Building and Madison Library of Congress Building was evacuated after suspicious packages were found near the area. D.C mayor, Muriel E. Bowser, imposed a citywide curfew from 6 p.m to 6 a.m. According to the Washington Post, “Thursday, Bowser said no one would be allowed out in the city” (FOX).
Capitol police were unable to contain the waves of rioters as they breached the capitol building. Many were able to reach the floor of the house and senate chambers. Trump urged for the support of capitol police and law enforcement via Twitter, saying “They are truly on the side of our country.” In a Twitter statement by Kayleigh Mcenany at 12:36 p.m PST, “… the National Guard is on the way along with other federal protective services. We reiterate President Trump’s call against violence and to remain peaceful.”
Trump urged his supporters twice on Twitter to respect law enforcement. In a video posted to Twitter, President Trump told his supporters “You have to go home now,” and said that “we have to have peace.” Twitter attached a warning to the video that said its claims were “disputed” and that the tweet could not be shared or replied to “due to a risk of violence.” President Trump concluded the video by saying that his supporters should be peaceful. “So go home,” he told them. “We love you. You’re very special.”
Police seized five guns and arrested at least 13 people during the rally involving supporters of President Trump at the Capitol on Wednesday, Chief Robert J. Contee of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department said on Wednesday. Chief Contee said the firearms included handguns and long guns. He also noted that none of the people arrested were residents of the District of Columbia. At the same news conference, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called the violent protests, where Trump supporters looted and vandalized congressional offices, “shameful” and “unpatriotic.”
One person was shot inside the Capitol after a mob of Trump supporters breached the building, Chief Robert J. Contee of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department said on Wednesday. Chief Contee did not immediately provide more information about the person who was shot or the person’s condition. “I can confirm that one civilian was reported to have sustained a gunshot wound inside the Capitol,” Chief Contee said, adding that the local police would be leading the investigation.
A video posted to Twitter earlier on Wednesday appeared to show a woman being shot inside the Capitol. The woman seemed to climb onto a small ledge next to a doorway inside the building immediately before a single loud bang was heard. The woman, draped in a flag, fell to the ground at the top of a stairwell. A man with a helmet and a military-style rifle stood next to her after she fell, and shouts of “police” could be heard as a man in a suit approached the woman and crouched next to her. “Where’s she hit?” people yelled as blood streamed around her mouth (NY Times). The woman, later identified as Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old San Diego resident and 14-year military veteran, died Wednesday evening (NBC San Diego).
Joe Biden stated via a speech on ABC News live and paraphrased on Twitter at 1:15 p.m, “Let me be very clear: the scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not represent who we are. What we are seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent, it’s disorder. It borders on sedition, and it must end. Now.” The sergeant-at-arms, who is responsible for Congress’s security, told lawmakers and reporters that the Capitol was secure, though lawmakers, staff and reporters continued to shelter in much of the Capitol complex through the afternoon and evening. Lawmakers in both parties called for the certification process of the Electoral College votes to resume with the securing of the building.
Earlier in the day, Trump spoke from a stage framed by signs for the “Save America Marc,” at a podium flanked by American flags. As with his signature “Make America Great Again” rallies that became the hallmark of two presidential campaigns, Trump was met by a sea of supporters decked out in red baseball caps and star-spangled shirts. His remarks were preceded by a recorded highlight reel of campaigns and speeches through the years. He gestured early in the speech to the Washington Monument, saying his crowd of supporters stretched across the mall and vowing that he would not become another victim of cancel culture.
Trump’s rally came as Congress was set to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, which the president has repeatedly claimed was marred by widespread organized fraud, though he has not provided much evidence. Speakers who addressed the throngs prior to the president included his son Donald Trump Jr., freshman North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn, Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, and a number of others (NY Post).
ARTICLE: YULIANIE HERNANDEZ
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: THE NEW YORK TIMES