By Makenna Adams
On January 6, around 1:15 pm, a mob of pro-Trump protesters stormed the Capitol building. Breaking up the gathered Senators, Congressmembers, and journalists in a meeting regarding Biden’s inauguration, the insurrectionists destroyed the harmony of the day with their final idiotic hurrah in the name of Trump.
The attack on the Capitol involved planning. Various online sites, including ones called “Stop the Steal,” “MyMilitia.com” and a Facebook group called “Red State Secession,” brought the protesters together. Rallied by a tweet from Trump published on December 23, which said “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild,” protesters thought they had a duty to stop the confirmation hearing of Joe Biden.
Flying in from all over the country, many protesters gathered in D.C. a few days prior to the event. Other local residents joined them the morning of the attack in Ellipse, a park in D.C. located just south of the White House, for a rally held by none other than Trump himself. In a speech that took more than an hour, Trump repeated his claims that the election was fraudulent and that he had won, and also targeted his vice president Mike Pence. Reportedly, Pence had angered Trump earlier when he explained that Trump could not overturn Biden’s win. Since, Trump has denounced Pence almost entirely.
The Capitol siege began around 1:15pm. Violence ensued after two men at the front of the gathered mob pushed down a preliminary barrier and rushed officers who were behind a second barrier. Rallying others to follow, the instigators caught the officers on the scene off guard. Past the barricades, the insurrectionists made their way to the Capitol’s west side, looking to interrupt the meeting that had begun concerning Biden’s inauguration. The rioters also used ropes and barricades to scale the walls outside the Capitol.
Most of the rioters were armed with deadly weapons. Knives and guns were the most popular and protestors did not hesitate to use their fists against those who tried to stop them. Once inside, rioters hesitated, unsure of what to do next, until they decided that the best thing to do was loiter, take selfies, and destroy offices of officials. Adam Johnson from Florida stole Nancy Pelosi’s lectern and was captured in the act on camera with a massive grin. Rioters found Pelosi’s office a popular destination as well. A white nationalist known as Baked Alaska live streamed from inside the Congresswoman’s office. Another man, Richard Barnett, put his feet up on her desk and stole a letter addressed to her. He confessed to the New York Times proudly saying he “wrote her a nasty note,” too.
Many protestors, like Barnett, were arrested once they had been identified. Barnett himself was charged with “entering and remaining on restricting grounds, violent entry, and theft of public property,” and many protestors earned similar convictions. Rallied by Trump’s calls to overturn the election, the rioters felt the best course of action was to ransack offices, break glass, litter the building, destroy furniture, and, disgustingly, smear feces on the walls. Give me a break.
Protestors appeared to be awaiting further instruction from Trump. It wasn’t until Trump urged via Twitter, in a video that got taken down by Twitter’s safety team and got Trump’s account suspended, for his rioters to “go home.” But Trump did not condemn the rioters, rather, he called them “very special” and assured them, “we love you.”