Shocking scenes rocked America on Wednesday night as thousands of Trump supporters rioted in Washington DC and stormed the Capitol building leaving four people dead.
In one of the darkest days in American history, a legion of Trump supporters overwhelmed law enforcement in an attempted coup to try and stop the election count which was happening in the Senate, where Joe Biden would have been confirmed as the president-elect.
Although the count did eventually resume the appalling scenes that proceeded it overshadowed almost everything else. Donald Trump’s meek efforts to quell the rioters saw his Twitter account suspended and a video deleted where he told supporters to go home but not before spreading more baseless claims about voter fraud.
The numerous Trump supporters who were involved in the violence were in Washington DC for Trump’s ‘Save America March’ outside of the White House, which featured many Trump allies who supported conspiracy theories and arguably whipped the crowd up into a frenzy with some choice words.
The show was started by Alabama congressman Mo Brooks who told the crowd "today is the day that American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass." Brooks would later call the violence in the US Capitol ‘despicable.’
Next, right-wing activist Katrina Pierson spoke and said that “we’re not gonna complain, we’re not gonna cry in the streets” a statement which could not have aged more badly.
Members of the Trump family then started arriving. Firstly Eric Trump gave something of a rallying cry as he told the spectators that “we will never stop fighting for you.”
After his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle had spoken, Donald Trump Jr boldly called out Republican politicians for not supporting Trump’s baseless claims about election fraud adding “This isn't their Republican Party anymore. This is Donald Trump's Republican Party!”
Trump Jr then tells the crowd “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.” Trump Jr would also later condemn the violence.
As the crowd starts to shout ‘fight for Trump’ Donald Jr strangely adds “these guys better fight for Trump because if they're not, guess what? I’m gonna be in your backyard in a couple of months.”
Newly elected congressman Madison Cawthorn is next on stage and calls his fellow members of Congress “cowards.”
Next, we see the return of renowned public speaker Rudy Giuliani who starts off by saying “Every single thing that has been outlined as the plan for today is perfectly legal.” Another poorly aged statement.
While promoting baseless conspiracy theories about voting machines, Giuliani adds “let’s have trial by combat” which warrants a huge cheer from the crowd. Giuliani would later say that the rioters were “on the right side of history.”
After Giuliani finishes the same ‘dystopian’ campaign video that was played at Trump rallies during the election is played to the crowd.
After a while, Trump arrives on stage and immediately hypes up the crowd by claiming that there are “hundreds of thousands” in attendance and that “they are not going to take it any longer.”
Trump adds “we will never concede and we will not take it anymore.”
The president actually compares the US to “third world countries”. A few hours later people would be associating the scenes in Washington with third-world countries and failed states.
Trump continues to whip up sentiment against Republicans, claiming that some of them are “weak” and that “we have to primary the hell out of the ones that don’t fight.”
Although this has nothing to do with what would follow, to hear the president say “explosions of bulls**t” is probably the most un-presidential thing ever said during a major speech by the leader of the free world.
Another klaxon here as Trump tells the crowd “you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength.”
More anti-Republican sentiment, as Trump says “we gotta get rid of the weak congresspeople. The Liz Cheneys of the world.”
Trump wraps up his speech with perhaps the biggest red flag of the entire day. “We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Ave and we’re going to. the Capitol and we’re going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones because the strong ones don't need any of our help, we're to try and get them the kind of pride and boldness they need to take back our country. So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Ave.”
While none of these speeches made a direct call for violence it’s easy to see how the rhetoric on display here soon spiralled out of control and led to chaos and destruction.