An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

At the end of President-elect Joe Biden’s speech insisting, over and over, that the riots weren’t a reflection of the America he knew and loved, Biden quoted Abraham Lincoln, the last president to preside over a nation turning to widespread violence to express its political divisions.

“He went on to say, ‘The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just. A way, which if followed, the world will forever applaud and God must forever bless.’ The way is playing here too,” Biden said. “It’s the way of democracy, of respect, of decency, of honor and commitment as patriots to this nation.”

Georgia’s runoff election, the last peaceful demonstration of democracy before the rioting at the Capitol, went to challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, giving Democrats control of the Senate. Ossoff and Warnock unseated the Republican incumbents with the kind of thin margins you’d expect from a runoff triggered because November’s election didn’t garner any candidate 50 percent of the vote. Warnock became the first Black Senator in Georgia. Today, chaos erupted as Congress tried to have its own peaceful demonstration: Vice President Mike Pence defied President Donald Trump’s wishes to overturn the election, stating he simply couldn’t, and so Congress had just started to ratify Biden’s victory when the riots broke out. 

In response, Biden called for Trump to “step up” and denounce the protests in a televised address. Trump responded via Twitter in a video calling for peace and telling his supporters to “go home,” although Twitter later removed it and locked the president’s account. But the president also repeated his baseless claims of fraud, saying “we had an election that was stolen from us,” and he said he “loved” the people who stormed the Capitol, calling them “very special.” His comments once again sparked leaders of prominent positions to call for social media to silence Trump even after today. 

“What is happening right now at the Capitol is a direct result of the fear and disinformation that has been spewed consistently from the Oval Office,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. “President Trump has a responsibility to call for an end to this violence and unrest that he has sowed. His campaign of disinformation is a clear and present danger to our democracy.”

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who led the effort to protest the Electoral College results along with prominent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, lending credence to Trump’s baseless claims, called for the violence to end. “Those who attacked police and broke the law must be prosecuted,” Hawley wrote, “and Congress must get back to work and finish its job.”

Some legislators wanted to finish the count Wednesday, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to her colleagues that they would finish that evening or as soon as the Capitol was “cleared for use.”

As night fell, Trump once again turned to Twitter to praise those responsible for the siege that stopped democracy: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” Trump wrote (though it was also removed later). “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”

But Biden, in his remarks, wanted to be clear that the halt to democracy was only temporary: “Notwithstanding what I saw today, we’re seeing today, I remain optimistic about the incredible opportunities,” Biden said. “There’s never been anything we can’t do, when we do it together. This God-awful display today, is bringing it home to every Republican and Democrat and Independent in the nation that we must step up.”

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of articles showing different viewpoints on the topic.

Impeach Trump Again – The Atlantic – 1/6/2021
Trump has today broken his oath in even more spectacular fashion. The seeds sown by Republican obeisance and congressional quiescence have now yielded their bitter harvest. With his incitement of a direct assault on the people’s house, the president has forfeited his claim to finish his term.

Conservative media members erupt with anger over protesters storming Capitol: ‘This is domestic terrorism’ – Fox News – 1/6/2021
The View’s Meghan McCain tweeted any mob members should be labeled domestic terrorists. Commentary writer John Podhoretz wrote Trump bore responsibility for the violence at the Capitol and should be removed from office. […] Dispatch editor Stephen Hayes also called for Trump to be impeached and removed from office.

DC Activists Brace for “Klanuary” as Trump Supporters March – Teen Vogue – 1/6/2021
With Trump supporters and far-right extremists in the streets again, local activists and organizers have found themselves divided on what to do; they say the MPD has consistently failed to show up proactively, but now the National Guard has been deployed.

Chaos at the Capitol: Virginia Troopers, National Guard Deployed to Disperse Pro-Trump Rioters – National Review – 1/6/2021
“What does it say to the nearly half of the country that believes this election was rigged if we vote, not even to consider the claims of illegality and fraud in this election,” Cruz said, while acknowledging that if Democrats stick together, “Joe Biden will almost certainly be certified as the next president of the United States.” The protestors stormed the Capitol soon after Cruz finished speaking.

Twitter appends “violence” warning to Trump tweets as insurrectionists storm Capitol – Ars Technica – 1/6/2021
“Extremists must be taken at their word,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a written statement. “First there was volatile rhetoric online, then explicit calls to violence and now people are acting on those calls in the nation’s capital and flagrantly breaking the law. It must end now.”

Report: Defense Officials Uncomfortable With Optics Of National Guard Deployment – Daily Caller – 1/6/2021
Department of Defense officials were reportedly hesitant to approve the further deployment of National Guard forces because “they do not want the images of uniformed troops [marching] on the Capitol.” […] President Donald Trump did end up directing the National Guard to help suppress the riots at the Capitol mid-afternoon Wednesday, reported Fox News.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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