by Ciaran Mathews | January 29, 2021 10:19 am
In order to understand the assault of the capitol Capitol on January 6th, it is also important to understand the events that took place in the weeks and months leading up to that day.
Starting as early as May, President Donald Trump began to spew his rhetoric against mail-in voting, placing doubts of the practice into many of his supporters’ minds. A CNBC article from May 26 quotes one of President Trump’s tweets.
“There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that mail-in Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent.” Trump said.
The baseless claims were present throughout this past summer. Trump notably touted conspiracy theories that ballots were being printed in foreign countries.
“RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!” said Trump in a tweet on June 22nd.
These claims were a stark contrast to the Trump’s campaign message in October, when they put out the ad campaign,
“Vote Like President Trump, Request your Ballot”
The Trump Campaign spent at least $2.5 million on twelve ads that targeted at least 11 million people.
Days after the election on November 3rd took place, Trump began to seemingly declare victory in a handful of battleground states.
“We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead. Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan if, in fact, there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported!” Trump tweeted on November 4th.
Trump’s fanbase and many GOP members continued to rally around these baseless claims of election fraud in the days and weeks after the election. The former Presidents campaign filed 62 lawsuits that contested election processes, vote counting, and the vote certification process in multiple states.
Almost all of these lawsuits were dismissed or dropped due to a lack of evidence. Judges, lawyers, and other people who observed cases labeled them as “frivolous” and “without merit.” Even with lawsuits being filed, and immediately thrown out, often being thrown out by judges that President Trump appointed himself, the President and his supporters, including right wing news groups such as “NewsMax” and “One America News” continued the false rhetoric of election fraud. Eventually leading to the threat of legal action by voting machine companies such as Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic
A few hours prior to the storming of the Capitol, Trump gave a speech to supporters in the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally. Once again, he continued his rhetoric questioning the number of votes Biden has received.
“And by the way, does anybody believe that Joe had 80 million votes? Does anybody believe that? He had 80 million computer votes. It’s a disgrace.” said Trump to a rally of supporters
Months of expressing doubt about the electoral process finally boiled down to January 6th. The unprecedented storming of the capitol sent waves of shock across the nation as many watched it all unfold on the evening news. Insurrectionists, fueled by misinformation by the sitting President and various misinformation campaigns on social media, attempted to halt the American electoral process in the name of “patriotism”.
As a result, five people were killed in the riots, with many more injured. Four were protestors, one notably shot in the capitol building, and one was a United States Capitol Police officer. Many more insurrectionists have been arrested and/or charged for their actions.
Despite the attempt to derail the process, Joe Biden was certified as President of the United States in the early hours of January 7th. In order to prevent another conflict, over 20,000 National Guardsmen and police force were deployed to DC in the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration.
On January 13th, President Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives in a bipartisan effort, unlike his first impeachment. The Senate trial to convict Trump will play in the backdrop of Biden’s first weeks of the presidency.
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