On a day that will live on in infamy, questions remain about how rioters from a public protest were allowed to storm the Capitol building in Washington DC, resulting in the shooting death of one woman.
Images circulating online give a glimpse into how the Trump-inspired mob was able to wreak havoc on the home of the country’s democracy.
Police and security guards were outnumbered and in some cases appeared to appease the rioters.
A video posted on TikTok and circulating on social media shows police removing barricades and appearing to usher in the mob as they headed for the Capitol building.
CNN anchor Don Lemon decried the police response live on air late Wednesday night (local time).
“If you look at the video, these people were being ushered in by police,” he said.
“I don’t think it was about not being prepared, how could you not be prepared ... We always have to preface this was not all officers, but there were officers taking selfies with these people. There were officers allowing these people in.”
The astounding restraint and inaction from police has sparked widespread condemnation from both sides of politics and stands in stark contrast to how law enforcement responded to previous demonstrations in the capital when law enforcement used tear gas and rubber bullets against Black Lives Matter protesters, as well as the violent removal of peaceful demonstrators for a presidential photo-op last year.
The rioters on Wednesday (local time) showed little concern for law enforcement and smiled for the cameras.
Police likely to be ‘fired’
In response to the backlash, those in charge of funding the Capitol Police vowed to investigate the law enforcement response to the Trump mob and suggested a number of officers would be fired.
Tim Ryan, a democrat from Ohio, told reporters: “I think it’s pretty clear that there’s going to be a number of people who are going to be without employment very, very soon.
“This is an embarrassment — both on behalf of the mob and the president, and the insurrection and the attempted coup, but also the lack of professional planning and dealing with what we knew was going to occur.”
He noted the footage showing police removing barricades to allow the mob to approach the Capitol building.
“I have no idea why that would be permissible,” he said. “That’s unacceptable. … We’ll be looking at all of that.”
Republican members face reality after inciting mob
The appalling scenes in Washington have spooked some Trump loyalists from a baseless plan to challenge the Senate confirmation of the Electoral College vote as the ground moves beneath their feet.
A number of Republicans who previously supported the plan, have since said they will no longer engage in the disruptive plot which has been labelled as ridiculous and meritless by legal scholars.
Senator Kelly Loeffler, who was just defeated in her Georgia runoff election, was among those to back away. Prior to her election loss, she promised at a Trump rally on Monday (local time) to object to Electoral College votes.
“I cannot now in good conscience object to the certification of these electors,” she said on the chamber floor in a stunning about face.
Indiana Senator Mike Braun and Washington representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers also backed away from the futile objection.
“What we have seen today is unlawful and unacceptable. I have decided I will vote to uphold the Electoral College results and I encourage Donald Trump to condemn and put an end to this madness,” Ms McMorris Rodgers said.
Supporters back away from Trump: ‘Enough is enough’
One of the most senior Republicans, South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham who backed Trump tirelessly after he won the 2016 election, also changed his tune – telling the president “enough is enough”.
Joe Biden “is the legitimate president of the United States,” he said.
It come as the Republican party tries to now distance itself from the president and his response to rioters, after he told them he “loved” them and they were “very special people”.
Mitt Romney, perhaps the only Republican to consistently denounce Trump’s election lies, applauded his fellow party members for now standing up for the integrity of the poll and backing away from their unconstitutional objections.
“We gather due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of supporters who he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months, and stirred to action this very morning,” Romney said.
“What happened here today was an insurrection incited by the president of the United States. Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy.
“Fairly or not, they’ll be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history – that will be their legacy.
“The best way we can show respect to the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth,” he said to applause from Democrats on the Senate floor.
While an objection to Arizona’s Electoral College vote was rejected by the Senate, a similar process is expected to be brought for Pennsylvania.
Once the process is dismissed, Joe Biden will be inaugurated on January 20.
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