As Congress convened to certify the election of President-elect Joe Biden, a mob of angry Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, placing both the Senate and House chambers on lockdown and pausing the certification.
According to the Washington Post, following a speech from President Trump, a group of hundreds marched from the Ellipse to the Capitol. Once they arrived the protesters began to push through the barricades surrounding the building. Interestingly enough, as law enforcement made their way down the Capitol, steps to stop them they were met with boos from the Blue Lives Matter crowd. As the chaos intensified, the Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building and the Cannon House Office Building were evacuated.
Protesters eventually broke past police and made their way into the Capitol building. CNN’s coverage showed the protesters making their way through the statuary hall. At one point, a protester attempted to breach the Senate floor and was in an armed standoff with Capitol Police. The Capitol is current on lockdown and it’s unclear if or when the certification process will resume.
The chaos has resulted in D.C Mayor Muriel Bowser announcing a curfew will go into effect at 6 p.m.
This is straight-up sedition. There are no ways about it. Many on Twitter couldn’t help but note that just this summer Black Lives Matter protesters were tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed so President Trump could take a photo op at a church. It’s just interesting that the same energy wasn’t there for a horde of white folks literally trying to reject democracy.
The strangest thing about this is both the utter lack of preparedness and the fact anyone is surprised. The president has repeatedly claimed for months that the election was stolen, and wheeled out conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory to back up those claims. Conspiracy theories that his most devoted followers ate up, who, mind you, are the same people stormed a state Capitol building because the pandemic impeded their ability to go to Chili’s.
So how the fuck was this surprising to anyone? Why the lack of police presence? Why did they just suddenly forget how to do their job?
Well, we know why.
Update: 1/6/2021, 3:26 p.m. ET: CNN reports that a woman was shot in the chest on Capitol grounds and is in critical condition. It is unclear who shot her and whether she was among those protesting. Sources have told reporters for both the Washington Post and NBC News that a request by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.,) for the National Guard to help stabilize the situation has yet to be approved.
President Trump sent a tweet urging his supporters to “remain peaceful,” which is an odd choice of words considering a person has been shot and none of this is peaceful.
“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!” Trump tweeted.
Update: 1/6/2021, 3:53 p.m. ET: As chaos continues to unfold outside the nation’s Capitol, the New York Times reports that an explosive device was found at the Washington headquarters of the Republican National Committee. The nearby headquarters of the Democratic National Committee was evacuated after a mysterious package was discovered. The device found at the RNC was a pipe bomb and was destroyed by a bomb squad, an RNC official told the Times.
Earlier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was safely evacuated prior to a Trump supporter being captured in a photo sitting in her office. A note was left in her office on a manilla folder that read “we will not back down.”
The New York Times also reports that the Army has activated the entire D.C. National Guard. Over 1,000 troops will be sent to the D.C. Armory and will be stationed at the Capitol and throughout various points around Washington. Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman, issued a statement saying that the guard is being sent to “support” federal enforcement as opposed to taking point on the situation.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued a tweet revealing that following a request from Mayor Bowser, he has authorized members of the Virginia National Guard as well as 200 Virginia State Troopers to assist with the situation.
Update: 1/6/2021 5:21 p.m. ET: Federal agents, the National Guard, and officers in riot gear have arrived at the Capitol as the 6 p.m. curfew established by Mayor Bowser is set to go into effect. There have been various reports that tear gas and flash grenades were being deployed in an effort the clear the rioters from the Capitol.
Update: 1/6/2021 5:54 p.m ET: MSNBC reports that the woman who was shot in the chest earlier at the Capitol has died.
According to CNN, the sergeant-at-arms has declared that the U.S. Capitol Building is now secure. Twenty people could be seen with plastic ties on their wrists and being led into a Capitol police van. Sources have also told CNN that multiple members of Congress are pushing to finish verifying the election tonight.
Update: 1/6/2021 6:14 p.m ET: The New York Times reports that it was Vice President Mike Pence, not President Trump, who gave the order to deploy the D.C. National Guard. It’s unclear why the vice president gave the order and not the president considering that, in only the most technical sense, Donald Trump is still commander-in-chief.
A recent tweet from the president may give some insight as to why he wasn’t the one to make the order.
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” Trump tweeted. “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
This nigga really co-signed a riot. I wish I could be done with today but, alas, the whites are still at it.
Update: 1/6/2021 6:45 p.m ET: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has released a statement saying the House will reconvene later this evening to continue the certification process once they are cleared to return to Congress. In her statement, she labeled the events of today a “shameful assault...on our democracy.”
Update: 1/6/2021 7:13 p.m. ET: Citing the “unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington D.C.” and the president’s violation of its Civic Integrity policy, Twitter has deleted three of President Trump’s tweets from today and blocked his access to the site for 12 hours. Twitter also said future violations will lead to permanent suspension of the president’s account.
Removed from the platform was the video message in which Trump told the rioters at the Capitol to go home—while repeating the lie that the election was stolen; his tweet from earlier today lambasting the vice president for not having “the courage” to hand him the election, as well as his most recent tweet encouraging people to “Remember this day forever.”
Twitter added that Trump’s account will be permanently locked if he doesn’t delete the tweets himself. Facebook first removed the president’s video message from its platform, with the platform’s VP of Integrity Guy Rosen saying, “This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video. We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.”
Updated: 1/6/2021 7:32 p.m. ET: Numerous members of Congress are now calling for President Trump’s removal from office, and Rep. Ilhan Omar has indicated that she has begun drafting articles of impeachment to this end. Among those supporting the move to impeach Trump are Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and new House Judiciary member Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), as well as several other Democrat representatives. No Republican members of Congress have joined the call, but who knows what the rest of this wild night will bring.
Updated: 1/6/2021 8:05 p.m. ET: While hundreds could be seen storming the nation’s Capitol, D.C police said that they have arrested 13 people in connection with Wednesday’s events. They are described as all men ranging from the ages 32 to 40 and from Virginia. A 25-year-old man from Michigan was also among those arrested. None of them were actually from Washington, D.C. D.C Fire added that they transported seven people to the hospital, including the woman who fatally shot earlier in the day.
Updated: 1/6/2021 8:20 p.m. ET: Former President Barack Obama has spoken out about the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol today, issuing a statement in which he said plainly that “we’d be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a surprise,” given the incitement of the sitting president who has continued to lie about the outcome of the presidential election.
“For months now a political party and its accompanying media ecosystem has too often been unwilling to tell their followers the truth,” Obama said. “Now we’re seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo.” He called on Republicans in Congress to stop stoking the fires that led a mob to desecrate the chambers of the Capitol, imploring that they instead “choose America.”
Statement from President Obama
History will rightly remember today’s violence at the Capitol, incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation. But we’d be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise.
For two months now, a political party and its accompanying media ecosystem has too often been unwilling to tell their followers the truth — that this was not a particularly close election and that President-Elect Biden will be inaugurated on January 20. Their fantasy narrative has spiraled further and further from reality, and it builds upon years of sown resentments. Now we’re seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo.
Right now, Republican leaders have a choice made clear in the desecrated chambers of democracy. They can continue down this road and keep stoking the raging fires. Or they can choose reality and take the first steps toward extinguishing the flames. They can choose America.
I’ve been heartened to see many members of the President’s party speak up forcefully today. Their voices add to the examples of Republican state and local election officials in states like Georgia who’ve refused to be intimidated and have discharged their duties honorably. We need more leaders like these — right now and in the days, weeks, and months ahead as President-Elect Biden works to restore a common purpose to our politics. It’s up to all of us as Americans, regardless of party, to support him in that goal.
Senators have returned to the Capitol to complete the certification of the Electoral College votes, reports the Washington Post. It remains to be seen if Republicans will stop objecting to states’ certifications and finally end this farce—and this surreal night.
Updated: 1/6/2021 8:28 p.m. ET: Congress has reconvened to finalize the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win. Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer all gave statements condemning the actions of the rioters at the Capitol today.
While Pence and McConnell sidestepped acknowledging the role the Republican Party played in facilitating today’s events, Schumer did not mince words, explicitly placing the blame on President Donald Trump.
“The president who promoted conspiracy theories that motivated these thugs. The President who exhorted them to come to our nation’s Capitol. The president who egged them on and hardly discourages violence,” Schumer said of Trump.
Update: 1/6/2021 10:07 p.m. ET: KUSI reports that the woman who was shot and killed in the Capitol was Ashli Babbit of San Diego. She was a 14-year veteran who served four tours in the U.S Air Force. The circumstances of her death are still being investigated by the Metropolitan police.
Update: 1/6/21, 11:13 p.m.: Turns out law enforcement in D.C. arrested more people than originally reported. Earlier, D.C. police said they arrested 13. Well, that total increased—to 15.