As Trumpist rioters roamed openly, finding members of Congress they perceived as rivals, staffers barricaded doors and hid under desks.
In the House speaker’s chair, one rioter leaned back and brought a brown boot to bear on the papers scattered on her desk.
A lectern bearing the Congressional Gold Seal was pulled away elsewhere in the Capitol building and framed documents were stripped from the walls, as Trump banners and Confederate flags were dragged down deserted hallways.
It was Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 6, when Donald Trump’s four-year attack on U.S. democracy, an orgy of violence directed at the heart of the country, reached its inevitable destination.
Employees barricaded their doors in certain offices and concealed under their desks, as though in one of the Active Shooter Lockdowns practiced by the schoolchildren of the country while they were still in school. “Where the hell are the Capitol Police?” one of the workers wrote to a friend of the journalist. The police were overwhelmed, and the large National Guard contingents and federal agents who had softened the nonviolent demonstrations of Black Lives Matter earlier in the summer were nowhere to be seen by night.
Trumpist rioters were free to walk around in the hallways outside as they searched for members of Congress they considered rivals. They made their way into the chamber of the Senate, where the results of the elections were certified minutes ago.
One of the rioters walked up to the podium and yelled “Trump won the election.” according to a reporter at the scene.
As rioters advanced into the Capitol’s gleaming white house, police fired tear gas. According to Washington police, one woman was shot and later succumbed to her injuries.
There was also an explosive device found.
Outside the house, rioters assaulted news crews.
There were also many police officers wounded.
He invoked the specter of “American carnage.” when the ousted president was first sworn into office almost four years ago. He described it as something that had happened before, but it became apparent quite quickly that it was what was yet to come.
As Trump has made clear for months, if it ever tries to spit him out, he is ready to wreak carnage on the political establishment that hoisted him into the most powerful office.
The party that made his rise and then feared him is split, so fragmented that in the southern bastion of Georgia, Republicans lost both Senate seats, results confirmed Wednesday.
Republicans had broken into dueling groups the moment Trumpist foot soldiers stormed the Capitol.
Throughout the Rubicon, a dozen senators and more than a hundred delegates were able to join him and vote against confirming the certified presidential election results in November.
Before it reached its final stop, Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and most Republican senators decided to get off the Trump train, seeking to put an end to the president’s fever pitch that after losing the election, the presidency would be returned to him.
It was Pence’s announcement – who had been ironcladly loyal to the president until then – that he would abide by the Constitution and read the election results rather than seek to change them, which apparently caused the wrath of Trump and set in motion the events that led to the Capitol storming.
A leading member of the latter group, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, allegedly told a loyalist representative, Ted Cruz, as the senators were led to safety, ‘That’s what you get’ – an uncomfortable, desperate epitaph for the party that the Republicans believed they were.
Without breaking down the palace walls and turning the party’s own followers against them, the orange genius that had been out of the bottle for four years, granting Republicans their every wish, was not going back in.
“Trump had said to his supporters less than an hour before storming the Capitol, “We want to be so respectful of everybody—bad people.
And we will have to fight a lot harder.
He encouraged them to march to “save our democracy.” from the White House along the National Mall to the Capitol. He also said that he would walk with them, but that was yet another promise he declined to keep and instead rode his hundred-yard motorcade back to the White House.
He told them to go “peacefully and patriotically,” to Congress, but only for a couple of minutes.