Arrests, Confusion and Outrage Follow Trump Coup Attempt

The U.S. government this week still staggers after the invasion of the U.S. Capitol building. Thousands of Trump supporters, egged on by their outgoing president and U.S. politicians looking to undermine the nation’s democratic process, stormed the building, shattering doors and windows and vandalizing property. The mob delayed, but did not prevent, the certification of the Electoral College tally awarding the presidency to Joe Biden, but it resulted in the deaths of five people as of January 8. The death toll could increase further over the next few days. 

Citizens were horrified at the violence, which amounted to no less than a paramilitary coup to overthrow the democratically-elected head of the incoming government and install loser Donald Trump, who garnered both fewer popular votes and Electoral College votes in the November election 2020. 

“What we saw today are violent acts meant to subvert the peaceful transfer of power, the very hallmark of our democracy. The American people have voted, and the states have certified their electoral votes. A peaceful transition to President-elect Biden is the only patriotic path forward,” said American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony D. Romero.  

Monica Hopkins, executive director of the ACLU’s District of Columbia branch, said her organization would “denounce the attempt to subvert our government and the will of the voters and condemn this armed assault on our democracy.” 

Emotional responses went well beyond ACLU press releases, however.  

The Department of Justice charged a West Virginia Republican legislator for illegally entering Capitol in connection with the attempted coup, after he was dumb enough and arrogant enough to record a video of himself storming the U.S. Capitol with the mob. 

Derrick Evans, a state representative who won a seat last November from an incumbent Democrat, can be heard shouting “Bring the tear gas. We don’t care. We’re taking this country back whether you like it or not. Today’s a test run. We’re taking this country back!” 

Evans, who quickly deleted the video—but not quickly enough—had refused to resign from his elected post just hours before the DOJ announced his charges. Evans can be seen being arrested later at his home in this Jan. 8 video. (Be sure to make note of the woman describing herself as Evans’ grandmother. She can be heard sarcastically telling reporters “Thank you, Mr. Trump, for inviting a riot at the White House.” That part is extra crispy and delicious!) 

Like Evans, many rioters are suddenly discovering the fallout is following them back home. Authorities also arrested the CEO and owner of marketing consulting firm Cogensia, and a tattoo artist. Bradley Rukstales, 52, issued an apology for his participation in an attempted coup. 

“In a moment of extremely poor judgment following the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, I followed hundreds of others through an open set of doors to the Capitol building to see what was taking place inside,” Rukstales said. “My decision to enter the Capitol was wrong, and I am deeply regretful to have done so.” 

The Cogensia board of directors immediately fired Rukstales, despite his eloquence. 

Other people sad they got caught include Rouse’s Market co-owner Donald Rouse Sr. and Rouse’s human resource director, Steve Galtier, who immediately found their market chain boycotted after they posed with authoritarians. The grocery chain has multiple locations across Mississippi and Louisiana. 

Many Black onlookers who watched the attempted coup play out were shocked that losing jobs and getting arrested appears to be the worst of it so far. Capitol Police were comparatively kind to the anti-democratic marauders, especially after authorities gassed Black Lives Matter protesters to clear them from around nearby St. John’s Church, just so Trump could do a photo shoot with a Bible he held backwards. 

“They’ve killed us for less,” raged the NAACP Twitter account. 

MSNBC commentator and host Joy Reid, who is Black, delivered a damning account of where white insurrectionists found all that confidence. 

“White Americans aren’t afraid of the cops. White Americans are never afraid of the cops, even when they’re committing insurrection, even when they’re engaged in an attempt to occupy our Capitol to steal the votes of people who look like me because in their mind, they own this country, they own that Capitol, they own the cops,” Reid announced. “The cops work for them, and people like me have no damn right to try to elect a president because we don’t get to pick the president. They get to pick the president.” 

Multiple camera angles actually do show Capitol police opening doors and allowing the mob into the building. Other footage shows police taking selfies with invaders. It’s also clear participants of the failed coup had been planning the attack for weeks. White supremacist message board 8kun, featured posts (you don’t actually have to click this; I’m just doing due diligence with this one, but really, please, don’t give them clicks) by users openly discussing the upcoming siege. 

“You can go to Washington on Jan 6 and help storm the Capital,” said one 8kun user the day before the attack. “As many Patriots as can be. We will storm the government buildings, kill cops, kill security guards, kill federal employees and agents, and demand a recount.” … OH. 

 

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