Trump should be held accountable for the D.C. riots

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Pro-Trump protesters stormed the Capitol and waved Confederate and Trump 2020 flags as they contested Biden’s presidential victory.

Protesters stormed the United States Capitol Building on Wednesday, Jan. 6 to protest the results of former Vice President Joe Biden winning the election.

The demonstration never began peacefully, but it somehow took a turn for the worse. The protestors, arguably domestic terrorists, stormed the Congress floor with the intent to “capture and assassinate elected officials,” as Justice Department prosecutors ascertained. However, as the demonstration grew increasingly violent, protestors were escorted out of the House Chamber. Only 49 protestors from the Capitol coup have been arrested thus far, while 430 were arrested during the George Floyd protests during May 2020. 

The riots on Jan. 6 at the Capitol were immoral, unpatriotic, and distasteful. The rioters acted in the misguided belief fueled by President Donald Trump that our withstanding tradition of the peaceful transfer of power according to the outcome of free and fair elections was at risk. However, that is not a valid excuse for storming the symbol of our democracy, the destruction of property, and the total disregard they showed for the law enforcement. 

Not only was there total disregard for law enforcement, but there was also police complacency for the protestors. Footage has since emerged showing a police officer allowing protestors to move beyond barricades. Police officers were also recorded taking pictures and selfies with the protestors, almost as a point of pride. 

Trump’s inciting rhetoric prompted a mob of thousands of people to storm the U.S. Capitol Building.

In response to his provocation of protesters and rioters, Trump was impeached for the second time on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Courtesy of CNN)

“We are going to walk down to the Capitol and we are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women,” Trump said in his fiery speech to protestors. “We are probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness you have to show strength you have to be strong.”

Within minutes of the speech, his followers were tweeting about it.

“President Trump just announced he will lead his tens of thousands of supporters in a march on the Capitol after the speech!!! Best President, EVER,” said one of Trump’s followers.

Many Americans expressed their disgust at Trump’s actions and the anti-Semitic behavior of the demonstrators. 

“Being Jewish in the wake of what happened at the Capitol is incredibly terrifying. Seeing people wearing t-shirts that say ‘6 million wasn’t enough’ (referencing the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust) infiltrating such a secure place, then Trump telling those same people ‘We love you. You’re very special’… it’s beyond words,” said Ellie Pena, senior. 

In the original Black Lives Matter protests earlier this summer, Trump called the protestors “thugs” and said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” in a tweet addressing the George Floyd march. However, Trump defended the recent mob attack in a tweet, saying that “these are things that happen when a scared landslide victory is stripped away.” His Twitter has since been banned and he’s restricted on other platforms. The parallel between the two protests is striking, showing Trump’s blatant bias for his supporters. 

Black Lives Matter protestors were unfairly decried as “thugs” while the Capitol rioters were hailed as patriots and defended by some Republicans. (Courtesy of ABC News)

On the other hand, some students believe that Trump isn’t responsible for the protests that turned violent.

“Trump shouldn’t be held accountable for a coup,” said Max Aschinberg, junior. “He said some bad stuff but CNN and other large Democrats said worse stuff during the BLM riots and they weren’t held accountable.”

Many Republicans have defended Trump’s words, claiming he never prompted the rioters to that level of violence. However, even after the violence began, he told the rioters he loved them. That’s unacceptable. 

What does this mean for the future of our nation? Trump has now reached a historical high of two impeachments due to his actions before the coup on Jan. 3. This not only demonstrates the deep political divide our nation is suffering right now but also shows the weakness of America as a country has. Notable Republicans such as Mitch McConnell have already begun to separate themselves from Trump, in a last attempt to purge him from the party. Not only is America divided between conservative and liberal, but parties are now split over Trump’s irrational actions.