Pro-Trump message board held Capitol-storming plans, but police were still overwhelmed
Andrew Kerr, DCNF
- Before the march Wednesday that turned into a riot at the Capitol building, several Trump openly discussed plans for violence online.
- “Encircle congress. Make sure they can’t leave. Primary objective,” one user wrote in the pro-Trump internet forum, TheDonald.Win, on Monday.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund’s immediate resignation on Thursday for his failure to safeguard the Capitol building as lawmakers were certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.
Police were overwhelmed by the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday, despite some Trump supporters openly discussing plans for violence at the Capitol on internet forums weeks before the scheduled rally.
“I fully plan to incite people to storm the Capitol Building and run ALL the politicians out of it. Belts and Whips strongly recommended,” one user posted to the pro-Trump forum TheDonald.Win on Monday.
Another user wrote on Sunday they should “storm the capitol” if Congress ignores Trump’s unsubstantiated evidence of voter fraud. The post was first reported by BuzzFeed News.
Posts on the far-right forum indicate that users were fed up with nothing but talk of widespread voter fraud from President Donald Trump and his allies since his election defeat in November.
All but one of the 62 lawsuits filed by Trump and his allies alleging voter fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election have failed in court, according to USA Today.
“I’m actually disappointed that this is yet another Stop the Steal rally because I want this all to be over and done with soon,” one user wrote in response to a post highlighting a now-deleted Trump tweet promoting his speech Wednesday. “Stop the steal rallies do nothing unless we start physically removing traitors from office.”
“Who’s ready for mass hangings and firing squads?” another user said on Wednesday before the riots broke out.
“Needs to be a show of force as opposed tojust (sic) another rally where they wait for us to go home,” another user wrote to the forum on Wednesday.
“Encircle congress. Make sure they can’t leave. Primary objective,” replied another user.
“I’m thinking it will be literal war on that day,” one user posted to the forum, according to the Daily Beast. “Where we’ll storm offices and physically remove and even kill all the D.C. traitors and reclaim the country.”
Advance Democracy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting good governance, found that more than 50% of the top posts on TheDonald on Monday discussing Congress’s vote to certify the electoral college results “featured unmoderated calls for violence in the top five responses,” according to BuzzFeed News.
Advance Democracy also found calls for violence in the lead-up to the riots on Parler, Twitter and TikTok, BuzzFeed News reported.
A major figure in the organization of the Wednesday protest, Ali Alexander, said on Dec. 23 that they plan to “occupy just outside the CAPITOL on Jan 6,” Frontline PBS reported.
“If D.C. escalates… so do we,” Alexander wrote on his Parler account last week, Frontline added.
The night before the Capitol riots, Alexander led a crowd in chants of “Victory or death” at Freedom Plaza. The following morning, Wednesday, Alexander tweeted that it was the “First official day of the rebellion.”
Far-right activist and "Stop the Steal" leader Ali Alexander in Freedom Plaza leads the crowd in a "Victory or death!" chant. pic.twitter.com/RW27eA8oh5
— Zachary Petrizzo (@ZTPetrizzo) January 5, 2021
After violence broke out at the Capitol on Wednesday, Alexander released a video in which he stated: “I don’t disavow this. I do not denounce this.”
“This is completely peaceful, looks like so far, and there are a couple of agitators that I obviously don’t endorse, but this is completely peaceful,” he added.
This is Ali Alexander, leader of the so-called Stop the Steal campaign, saying: “I don’t disavow this. I do not denounce this.” pic.twitter.com/0mP0xThAYP
— Kristen Doerer (@k2doe) January 6, 2021
Alexander later suggested in a tweet that Antifa was responsible for the rioting at the Capitol, however, many of the individuals pictured storming the building during the riot have been positively identified as Trump supporters.
Four people died during the riots, according to Washington D.C. police. A female Air Force veteran was fatally shot by a police officer inside the Capitol building as she tried to jump over a window and three others died from “separate medical emergencies,” Metropolitan Police Chief Robert J. Contee III said Wednesday.
Contee also said police recovered pipe bombs found outside the Republican and Democratic national committees. A cooler that contained a gun and Molotov cocktails was also recovered on Capitol grounds, Contee said.
Members of Congress railed against the Capitol police and other security officials on Thursday for their failure to safeguard the Capitol as lawmakers were certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.
“How could they fail so miserably?” said South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. “We’re 20 years from 9/11. Yesterday they could have blown the building up. They could have killed us all. They could have destroyed the government.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund’s immediate resignation on Thursday, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would fire Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Mike Stenger if he hasn’t resigned by the time Democrats regain the majority when Georgia Sen.-elects Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are sworn in.