By Patrice Moriarty
On January 6, 2021, a group of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to protest the decision to confirm Joe Biden as the president-elect. What started as a protest quickly turned to a riot and became out of control. As these events went on people were looking for someone to blame and what they found was that the President of the United States incited these riots. First, the president had a rally in front of the White House where Donald Trump, his son (Donal Trump Jr.) and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, all spoke telling the supporters to march down to the Capitol building where a vote was going to take place to confirm Joseph R. Biden as the next president of the United States. They had said that they would walk with the supporters but did not. When the supporters got to the protest like they had claimed they would, they instead pushed past barriers and police to get into the Capitol building. A woman was shot and killed and since then we have found out that four other people died as a consequence of the riot. The government officials were evacuated from the Capitol building until rioters were removed. The people wanted to go into the Capitol building, destroy the votes, and take government officials hostage and possibly kill them. After the rioters were outside the building, the government officials reconvened and confirmed Joe Biden as the president-elect. Trump has now been banned from Twitter and Facebook, hashtags and websites surrounding the attempted coup in the Capitol have now also been banned, and he has been impeached for the second time, making history as the only president to be impeached twice..
At the rally, hours before the riot, President Trump said his supporters should “Walk down to the Capitol” and that “We are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we are probably not cheering so much for some of them… because we will never take back our country with weakness.” In this statement, it is clear that he is telling his supporters to storm down to the United States Capitol building and cheer for what they wanted and protest what they didn’t like. That alone is their first amendment right, the right to peacefully assemble. The part where this turns into inciting a riot is saying, “We will never take back our country with weakness.” That is encouraging violence, which is not a peaceful assembly.
After this, Rudy Guliani contributed to the hysteria by adding, “If we’re wrong, we will be made fools of, but if we’re right a lot of them will go to jail,” followed by “Let’s have a trial by combat!” Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, was also encouraging the violence by telling people to physically fight to get what they wanted, not peacefully protest. Trump’s son stated at the rally before the riot, “You can be a hero, or you can be a zero. And the choice is yours. But we are all watching. The whole world is watching, folks. Choose wisely.” After this rally, many extreme Trump supporters did march down to the Capitol where American Senators, Vice President Pence, Congressmen, and Congresswomen were trying to confirm Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election, and decide if there was voter fraud and or cheating involved.. They arrived at 1:10 pm, only 10 minutes after the meeting had started. They had President Trump’s words in their ears and a mission on their mind. They had been lied to for months about the reality of the presidential election that took place in November. Trump had said that the election was “stolen” and that he will “never concede” and even went so far as claiming victory when the election was happening and ordering for them to “STOP THE COUNT” via Twitter.
At 1:33 pm the rioters had passed Saturday Hall and were now heading to the House and Senate. The police had now realized that they could not handle this mob on their own and were asking for backup. The rioters were quickly becoming more and more violent and were making their way closer and closer to the Capitol building.
At 1:46 pm the Trump extremists were at the doors of the Capitol building and were trying to get into the Capitol no matter how much damage they did. Rep. Elaine Luria was now on Twitter stating that “Supporters of the President are trying to force their way into the Capitol and I can hear what sounds like multiple gunshots.” She was sadly not wrong, as a woman had been shot. 2:11 pm, rioters passed the police at the West side of the Capitol and were also trying to get into the building. They were very determined and climbed the walls, ready to tell Government officials what was on their minds. Ready to speak for President Trump, ready to take away our democracy
Thirteen minutes later Trump Tweeted that “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!” Thus condoning the violence and egging on his followers further. Increasing the anger of the mob.
After being begged by many people Trump released a statement to Twitter “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!” A minute after, pictures of Capitol windows being broken were released. At 2:44 pm shots were reportedly fired in the House chamber and 3 minutes later it was confirmed that rioters were in the chamber.
At 3:13 p.m. Trump had been begged again to give a stronger statement, denouncing the violence and he tweeted “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!” This tweet did nothing to stop the violence as the President tweeted that rioters should “remain peaceful” when they were already in the Capitol and shots were fired.
At 3:34 pm it is reported that the woman who was shot is in critical condition. Not soon after she passes away and we learn a woman by the name of Ashli Babbitt died at age 34 and was a strong Trump supporter. She was the first person to die from the riot and unfortunately, not the last.
At 4:17 pm President Trump posts a video to Twitter from outside the white house after hours of people begging and demanding that he does. He states that “We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side.” Repeating the lies that he has stood by since November and then stating “But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. … So go home. We love you, you’re very special. … I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.” At this point the American people are outraged by the language that Trump used, calling rioters “very special people” while back in May 2020 he made a statement towards mostly peaceful protesters who were protesting for the Black Lives Matter movement saying, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The hypocrisy of his statements left many with broken hearts and the knowledge that President Trump is in fact a white supremacist that is not fit to run this country.
Shortly after this, back up came and helped take the rioters outside of the Capitol building, some holding hands with rioters while back in May Black Lives Matter (BLM) protestors were tear-gassed so that Trump could have a photo-op in front of a church which was more hypocrisy being pointed out. At 8 p.m. the Congress reconvened and many objections were dropped and eventually, congress confirmed Biden as the President-elect.
Many people are throwing around accusations about whose fault (other than the president) it was and how people should be punished. Others are deflecting and talking about the issues that Democrats have had in the past when protesting the elections or even talking about how some BLM protests had turned into riots. The fact of the matter is that Americans are getting worse and worse at peacefully protesting. Whether it be that peaceful protests are taking place and no one is listening, or that protests are going straight to the extreme of rioting or “taking back their country” with violence, protests are no longer safe. The worst thing about this is that the majority of protestors want to be peaceful but there is a minority that wants chaos and violence. These people are called anarchists and they will wreck whole movements to create a crazy show. Back in the summer of 2020, many teenagers, including myself, were told by their parents that they should not go to protests because it was too dangerous. These anarchists were taking over the BLM movement and you couldn’t be sure if you would be caught in a scene of chaos. It has been proven in the past that protests are one of the best ways to make a change so what do we do when that can’t happen safely anymore? What do we do when we start having to hide our opinions for fear of our lives?
You may think that I am being too extreme but the aftermath of this “protest” turned riot is devastating. Five people are dead, at least 14 officers were injured, two pipe bombs were recovered and there was a truck found with 11 homemade bombs in it, a handgun, and a rifle.
This attack has left us with many questions and feeling like “why was this allowed to happen?” or “how did this happen?” or that “this is very unpatriotic”. One anonymous student states, “when I first heard about it I was shocked and as I kept reading about it I was getting angrier and angrier. The difference between the language of this and Black Lives Matter protest is maddening.” There is no debate that the riot on Capitol Hill and BLM protests can not be compared. One was a political party throwing a fit and the other was a whole race of people protesting to show that their lives matter even though they are being treated like they don’t. Another anonymous student says, “Seeing that the Capitol of the United States was being stormed by Trump supporters was not something I took lightly. Just in February of 2020, I walked through that building myself. At age 13 I had to go through large amounts of security just to get in on a school trip. The fact that these rioters were able to get up the steps and to break windows to get into a government building shows a lot about the events of that day. If that was the Black Lives Matter movement, people wouldn’t have made it up the first step.” Many people, including this student, were dumbfounded at the military preparation for a BLM protest compared to an actual riot. The security in DC may be heavy now but many people find it to be “too little, too late.” The student also says, “Our Nation’s capital could not be protected, some of our most powerful political leaders were put in danger, other countries look at us as a joke. We are in the middle of a Pandemic and President Donald Trump has held superspreaders rallies with no masks or social distancing.” To remind all of you, this pure act of anarchy happened as COVID-19 cases were at an all-time high. America has stopped acting as a community and other countries are noticing.
All this awful event we know that we have officially made history in the worst way possible. Our country is on the tipping point and it is a scary time to be an American. Trump’s second impeachment trial has taken place and he is impeached again, there will now be a trial in the Senate to see if he will be removed from office. If removed from office he will lose 200k from his pension every year, lose 1 million dollars in travel allowance, a lifetime of secret service protection, and will lose the ability to run in 2024 or any other presidential election. We also know that this is a time for our country to come together. Instead of hating each other, it is a time for forgiveness and reflection. Understanding that you were wrong is nothing to be ashamed of, it is quite honorable and forgiveness is the greatest gift out there. Our country could easily fall apart but it could also come together and become even stronger than before.
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