Assault on Capitol Hill utterly despicable - GulfToday

Assault on Capitol Hill utterly despicable

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the West wall of the the US Capitol on  Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.  File/Reuters

Pro-Trump rioters climbed on walls at the US Capitol during a protest against the certification of the 2020 US presidential election results by the US Congress. Reuters

The United States is considered the ultimate shining bastion of democracy in the world, but what happened on Wednesday was anything but democratic, utterly despicable and should be roundly condemned. Like rogue elephants running amok, hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol in a stunning bid to overturn his election defeat. They clashed with police in the hallways and barrelled their way through the security barricades. In the ensuing chaos, four people, including a woman, died, and 52 people were arrested.

The attack on the sterling symbol of American democracy was totally uncalled for. Some besieged the House of Representatives chamber while lawmakers were inside, banging on its doors and forcing suspension of the certification debate. Security officers piled furniture against the chamber’s door and drew their pistols before helping lawmakers and others escape.

National Guard troops, FBI agents and US Secret Service were reportedly deployed to help overwhelmed Capitol police. Guard troops and police pushed protesters away from the Capitol after the curfew took effect.

Hours later, both houses of Congress resumed their work on certifying Biden’s Electoral College win with debate stretching into the early hours of Thursday.  They ultimately approved his victory. Police struggled for more than three hours after the invasion to clear the Capitol of Trump supporters before declaring the building secure shortly after 5.30pm.

One man can change the course of events. It was a blatant example of rabble-rousing and the GOP leader is surely to blame.

The assault on the Capitol was the culmination of months of divisive and escalating rhetoric around the Nov. 3 election, with Trump repeatedly making false claims that the vote was rigged and urging his supporters to help him overturn his loss. When people are in their seventies, they normally are expected to sober down, be more courteous: for after all, the elderly are considered the bellwether of wisdom, who inspire the young. But Trump thinks age is just a number; self-promotion is the cardinal virtue, regardless of age.

He refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he lost. He addressed thousands of supporters near the White House and told them to march on the Capitol to express their anger at the voting process.

He told his supporters to pressure their elected officials to reject the results, urging them “to fight.”

Little wonder then that he faced flak for his repulsive act. “There is no question that the President formed the mob, the President incited the mob, the President addressed the mob. He lit the flame,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney said on Twitter.

The shock of the assault on the Capitol seemed to soften the resolve of some Republicans who had supported Trump’s efforts to convince Americans of his baseless claims of fraud.

Biden, a Democrat who defeated the Republican president in the November election and is due to take office on Jan. 20, said the activity of the protesters “borders on sedition.”

Social media giants were quick to react. Twitter Inc later restricted users from retweeting Trump’s video, and Facebook Inc took it down entirely, citing the risk of violence. Twitter said later it had locked the account of Trump for 12 hours over “repeated and severe violations” of the social media platform’s “civic integrity” rules and threatened permanent suspension.

The mayhem stunned world leaders. “Trump and his supporters must accept the decision of American voters at last and stop trampling on democracy,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.

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