If you’re like the majority of the US, you’re probably feeling pretty shell-shocked by the events on Capitol Hill yesterday. What happened? Why did it happen? And – most importantly – will it happen again?
In an effort to break this down as thoroughly as possible, I’ve had to break this article into two sections. Why Capitol Hill was stormed, and what happened at the capitol hill riots and the aftermath. This article will address, first and foremost… why did they riot at Capitol Hill?
Or – more to-the-point – how Trump instigated what some are calling the start of a “second civil war” while social media conglomerates and lawyers watched, basically.
Why Did A Mob March On Capitol Hill?
The short answer? Because Trump.
But if you don’t like to accept blanket statement as fact (you’re probably not part of the pro-Trump movement), then here’s the blow-by-blow of how things spun so far out of control.
Prior to the 2020 election: Trump attempted to shut down the voting by mail process several times through various tactics. Though no one has any definite proof (that I’ve seen), most of us suspect it’s because he had a feeling he was going to lose and was attempting to hold onto his power. This failed, obviously.
During the 2020 election: Back in November, Trump was already crying about the election being rigged, about the voting system being fraudulent, and about Sharpies being partly to blame for America’s presidential woes. Which, if you remember, was his whole platform to start with, his stall tactic when he thought he lost to Hillary, and was the comment he revoked when he found out he actually won in 2016.
Post 2020 election: For the few weeks following the election – and Trump’s loss – Trump took to the Supreme Court to basically sue America’s democratic process. Also, Sharpies were brought up again. Additionally, Twitter started adding warning labels such as “Voter fraud claim disputed” and other false-claim warnings to hundreds of Trump’s tweets.
After he was laughed out of the Supreme Court: Which he brought his case to a total of 68 time, the democratic process was still a lie according to Trump. But no one would listen to Trump in court, so he started doubling-down on his lies about voter fraud and attacking the media – as per usual – in every speech, almost every Twitter post, and in his Facebook posts.
Jan 6th: There are too many things that happened on the 6th for this article, but here are the key points:
- Congress was supposed to count the votes to certify Biden’s win.
- Pence told Trump that, while he would be there for the vote count, he would not have the ability to overturn the ruling like Trump wanted.
- Trump got, well, Trump and called Pence soft and started berating him – and Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short for the advice he gave to the VP.
- Trump made a speech that was over an hour long – not too far from where the votes were supposed to be counted – and Trump made it crystal clear he was furious with Pence and he wanted the people gathered on the National Mall to go to the Capitol immediately after his speech.
- There were several important quotes from this speech made by Trump, his son, and his lawyer that were – in no uncertain terms – a call to arms.
- Then Trump took to social media, obviously.
Here’s the entire speech, if you want to watch it:
But, if you don’t, the key quotes from the speech are:
Trump’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, addressing the crowd and calling for “trial by combat” against the Democrats to win the election. Trump’s son, Trump Jr., addressing Republicans who didn’t support the pro-Trump efforts with a thinly-veiled threat of, “We’re coming for you.”
And, finally, President Trump himself taking the stage for over an hour to say things like, “And we are going to have to fight much harder. And Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us, and if he doesn’t, that will be a sad day for our country. Because you’re sworn to uphold our Constitution.” before telling his supporters to “walk down to the Capitol.”
What Happened On Social Media
Yeah, that’s worth a whole section of an article. Let that sink in real quick.
After his speech, Trump took to social media. Namely his platform of choice, Twitter, where he further fanned the flames of discord he lit in his speech earlier that day. Of course, Twitter started fact-checking Trump’s tweets months ago, and the ones that were disputed are noted below.
Trump tweeted gems (that are still up as of now) such as;
“Get smart Republicans. FIGHT!”
“If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency. Many States want to decertify the mistake they made in certifying incorrect & even fraudulent numbers in a process NOT approved by their State Legislatures (which it must be). Mike can send it back!” (Disputed)
“Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd is so happy with the fake voter tabulation process that he can’t even get the words out straight. Sad to watch!” (Disputed)
“States want to correct their votes, which they now know were based on irregularities and fraud, plus corrupt process never received legislative approval. All Mike Pence has to do is send them back to the States, AND WE WIN. Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!” (Disputed)
At several points earlier in the day, Pence was thrown under the bus for not being able to save Trump’s presidency. And hard. After Pence said he would not intervene, Lin Wood, the Trump-allied attorney who has pushed to overturn the election, tweeted a baseless allegation that Pence “is a TRAITOR, a Communist Sympathizer & a Child Molester. Lock him up.” The tweet has not been flagged by Twitter.
Meanwhile, Trump added a few more tweets stoking violence, such as “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our constitution.” And “USA demands the truth!” (Removed)
And this last Tweet is, more or less, what sparked everything.
And once the violence broke out on Capitol Hill? Trump blamed his favorite escape goat: Antifa. Obviously. Antifa actors playing Trump supporters, because obviously Trump supporters aren’t violent, they’re about law and order.
When, in reality, on other pro-Trump platforms such as the forum, TheDonald.win, many called for more violence than they were seeing:
“THIS IS WHY TRUMP CALLED US TO DC TODAY! STORM THE [expletive] CAPITOL!!!” said user RedWhiteBlue15. “You fight now or get thrown into a camp later. … They are going to take EVERYTHING FROM YOU INCLUDING YOUR HUMANITY!”
And on Parlor, a site that’s popular with Trump supporters, there were comments called for more violence and to learn from Antifa:
“Disappointing. Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler, Schumer, Romney all got away,” wrote one poster. “DC is a target rich environment. Hope to see some of the DemonRat residences getting torched. Antifa knows how to do it. Learn from them.”
And another post that read, “[I hope] they are all dragged outside and executed one by one in front of the camera, after being forced to admit their [sic] wrong doing for the world to see. Hanging is too good for demons,”
Eventually, President Elect Biden and VP Pence called on Trump to tell his supporters to go home. Which Trump did… sort of… but also continued to cry voter fraud, told his mob they were “special” and said he loved them, and all but read them a bedtime story, before Twitter – FINALLY – suspended his account for violating their TOS and made him remove some of his tweets.
Facebook followed suit with a suspension of his Facebook and, Facebook-owned, Instagram accounts. With one Facebook employee saying, “Do we really want Facebook to be a platform that enabled the second civil war,” while imploring Facebook execs to take videos down, according to a document obtained by The Washington Post.
Though the suspensions on social media will be relatively short-lived, and Trump was already back on Twitter last night with a video condemning the mob he sent out in the first place side-by-side with the speech that did it. Facebook and Instagram, however, are indefinitely suspended.
Meanwhile, In The Real World
Shortly after Trump’s speech, as he asked his supporters to do, a Trump-styled lynch-mob like group of hundreds of supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol. Lawmakers evacuated and one assailant was shot by police. Which, given how many protestors were shot during Trump’s law and order demands amid peaceful George Floyd protests is nothing short of shocking.
Many mob-members went on a hunt for VP Pence who was hung out to dry by his president and other pro-Trump supporters earlier that day.