Coup attempt by outgoing president Donald Trump quelled. Photo: Gage Skidmore.
A coup attempt by outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump was foiled by National Guard soldiers early today after mobs, incited by the president, temporarily seized control of the U.S. legislative houses, known as the Capitol.
“What happened here today was an insurrection,” Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican and former presidential candidate, said this evening on the floors of Congress. Romney said the insurrection was incited by outgoing President Trump.
Senator Chuck Schumer said today will live in “infamy,” echoing the words used by President Franklin Roosevelt after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Schumer will soon be senate majority leader, following victory by Democrats in the two contested seats in Georgia yesterday.
An unidentified woman was shot dead during the brief seizure and occupation of the Capitol, and it’s not clear who shot her.
Trump himself had summoned the mob through social media to come to Washington, D.C., where members of the House of Representatives and senators are debating the certification of the election of Joe Biden as president in November. Biden, who defeated Trump, is to be sworn in on Jan. 20.
Trump has been spreading lies and conspiracy theories since his defeat, claiming that the election was rigged and that he’s actually the rightful president. He has lost about 60 lawsuits challenging the outcome of the election in key states including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, and other states where he lost.
Trump then encouraged Republican lawmakers to oppose the certification of Biden’s election, which is traditionally a routine parliamentary procedure. In normal circumstances, the sitting vice president would preside over the formal recognition of the votes submitted to Congress by each state. Trump has managed to convince many Republican lawmakers to commit to voting against certification of Biden’s victory. Trump hoped enough lawmakers would vote against certification, throwing the election into confusion. This would then open the door for the election to be decided by Congress, where Trump hoped lawmakers would elect him president.
There is no chance this could even happen. Even though Republicans control the senate for now, Democrats control the House of Representatives. Both houses would have to reject certification for the Biden electors to be rejected. Trump started to put pressure on Vice President Mike Pence earlier this week. Trump implied, falsely, that Pence could “do something” to prevent certification, even though Pence has no such power and is reported to have told the president the same thing this week.
Then, earlier this morning, Trump addressed in person the mob of thousands of people he’d invited to Washington and told them to march to the Capitol. Thousands then headed to the parliament buildings and stormed into the citadel of U.S. democracy.
Many of the domestic terrorists were allowed past the barricades in front of the Capitol, raising questions about whether some sympathized with the attackers.
Once the terrorists entered the building they began to vandalize offices, including that of Senator Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat and Speaker of the House of Representatives. The attack occurred when the certification debate had started and FBI agents and police quickly rushed lawmakers to secure locations. When they returned to continue deliberations on certifcation tonight, more than two dozen armed soldiers stood outside the chambers.
The terrorists seized control of the Capitol for several hours before they were flushed out by soldiers of the National Guard, ended the brief coup instigated by outgoing president Trump.