While both Houses of Congress were deliberating over the electoral votes of the various states Wednesday, January 6, preparatory to the final confirmation of the election of Joseph Biden as President of the United States, an originally peaceful protest outside became a riot and violently disrupted the proceedings. As of this writing, it is unclear when those constitutionally mandated proceedings will resume.
Vice President Pence, on Capitol Hill to serve as the President of the Senate and officiate over the count, had to be rushed out of the Senate chamber by his secret service detail, in advance of a broader evacuation of the whole Capitol complex. And least one person was reportedly shot and harmed within the dome as rioters breached a series of security perimeters and, eventually, faced guns at pointblank range at the entrance to the House chamber.
This storming of the Capitol began soon after President Trump gave a speech telling his supporters that he will “never concede” that Biden has been lawfully elected.
Trump suggested that Vice-President Pence had been in a position to reverse the “steal” of the election, and had failed to do so. Trump told his supporters, “You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength.”
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One widespread view of the storming is that the crowd heeded the President’s call, showing “strength” in the sense they understood him to mean it.
“The coup attempt initiated by outgoing President Trump has been despicable. Today, it became violent. If blood is shed, it will be on his hands. These actions, fueled by lies and wild conspiracy theories espoused by President Trump, must be unequivocally condemned by every corner of our society.” Those were the words of a statement issued by the Attorney General of the State of New York, the President’s home state.