The chaos in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday January 6th unfolded after President Donald Trump spent weeks whipping up his supporters with false allegations of fraud in the Nov. 3 election, culminating in a call to march to the building that represents U.S. democracy. Trump, who has refused to concede his loss to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, had urged his supporters multiple times to come to Washington for a rally on Wednesday, the day the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate were scheduled to certify the results of the Electoral College. Appearing at what could be his last rally as the sitting president, Trump exhorted his supporters “to fight.”

As a result It took just a few hours for pro-Trump rioters to storm the U.S. Capitol .Thousands of President Donald Trump‘s supporters gathered outside in D.C. on Wednesday and moved from the Mall to the Capitol, forcing their way into the building. Motivated by the president, the rioters stormed the Capitol and were photographed scaling the building’s walls, breaking windows, roaming through the building, looting and vandalizing, including in congressional chambers and lawmaker offices. Rioters also ripped an American flag off of a flagpole outside the Capitol building and replaced it with a Trump flag.

The massive mob in turn delayed the counting of the electoral votes cast in the 2020 presidential election, as lawyers were forced to evacuate the Capitol. Washington D.C.’s and Virginia’s National Guards were activated to respond to the chaos, and Mayor Bowser issued a curfew beginning at 6 p.m. The supporters of President Donald Trump who rioted in the US Capitol building on Wednesday had been openly planning for weeks on both mainstream social media and the pro-Trump internet. On forums like TheDonald, a niche website formed after Reddit banned the subreddit of the same name, they promised violence against lawmakers, police, and journalists if Congress did not reject the results of the 2020 election. President Trump had even tweeted on Dec. 19: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” President-elect Joe Biden called for an end to the violence amid the chaos on Wednesday, imploring the 45th president to call his supporters off by saying in part, “President Trump, step up.” Throughout the day, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle condemned the rioters’ violence, and former presidents Jimmy CarterGeorge W. BushBill Clinton and Barack Obama  all spoke out.

The president, 74, tweeted a video to the rioters, saying, “We love you, you’re very special,, “I know you’re hurt and doubling down on the baseless claims that the election was “stolen from us” in the clip before adding, “We have to have peace, . We have to have law and order, so go home.” He posted another message that called the mob “great patriots” who were reacting to an election victory “viciously stripped away.” Twitter later hid three tweets and locked Trump’s account. Members of President Donald Trump’s failed presidential campaign played key roles in orchestrating the Washington rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Associated Press review of records, undercutting claims the event was the brainchild of the president’s grassroots supporters. A pro-Trump nonprofit group called Women for America First hosted the “Save America Rally” on Jan. 6 at the Ellipse, an oval-shaped, federally owned patch of land near the White House. The riot at the Capitol, incited by Trump’s comments before and during his speech at the Ellipse, has led to a reckoning unprecedented in American history. The president told the crowd to march to the Capitol and that “you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

Three White House aides resigned after the violence at the Capitol and more were considering resigning before the end of Trump’s term. Trump’s failure to rein in his supporters stood in sharp contrast to his attitude last summer when he threatened arrests and the use of force to break up protests against racial inequality. During the Black Lives Matter protests, Trump discussed using the military in response, and an area near the White House was forcibly cleared for him to stage a photo-op in front of a church, holding a Bible. Democrats and some Republicans blamed Trump for inciting the violence.  “Today’s violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump,” Jim Mattis, a former defense secretary under Trump, said in a statement. Senator Mitt Romney, a former Republican presidential nominee, called it an “insurrection incited by the president of the United States

Ultimately The Jan. 6 riot  left five people dead and highlighted a number of failures by security forces assigned to the Capitol, an intelligence failure or both. How could security forces in the nation’s capital be so swiftly and completely overwhelmed by rioters who stated their plans openly on a range of social media sites? `

Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman, who took the helm of the force following the riot. Pittman said that on Jan. 4, former Chief Steven Sund had asked the Capitol Police Board, a three-member oversight body, to declare a state of emergency in advance of President Donald Trump’s rally on the Ellipse and to request National Guard troops to protect the Capitol. Pittman said the board denied both requests. She said on the day of the insurrection, Sund again “lobbied the Board for authorization to bring in the National Guard, but he was not granted authorization for over an hour.” Pittman described the events as a “terrorist attack” and said the department “should have been more prepared.” In her first congressional testimony following the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, she acknowledged her department’s “failings” during the insurrection and said its members “fully expect to answer to you and the American people.”

By Alizé Utteryn 07/01/2021

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