- BBC World News
Was Donald Trump the instigator of the assault on the Capitol?
Democratic leaders and some Republicans have demanded that the president answer for the assault on the Washington Capitol on Wednesday afternoon.
They demand that the president be removed from the position he will leave on January 20 when Joe Biden is sworn in as the new president.
“What happened in the United States Capitol was an insurrection against the United States incited by the president. This president should not be in office for another day, “the senator said Thursday. Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Democrats in the Senate.
Members of the House Judiciary Committee also wrote a letter to Vice President Mike Pence urging him to act to impeach Trump.
They accuse him of having stoked an act of insurrection and of “trying to undermine” American democracy.
Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar published a proposal for impeachment (impeachment) against Trump, and there are already reports that the House of Representatives could activate the procedure urgently.
Trump’s speech to thousands of supporters at noon on Wednesday has been seen as the incitement to violence that followed.
What did Trump say?
The president spoke for just over an hour to thousands of supporters who gathered at the Washington Monument, an open space between the White House and the Capitol.
There Trump listed cases of alleged electoral fraud in several states -which he has not been able to verify in court- in the election on November 3.
But he also lashed out at “pathetic” and “weak” Republicans who did not support his demand to stop the certification of votes that would take place moments later in Congress.
“Unbelievable what we have to go through, and have to make your people fight. If they don’t fight, we have to eliminate those who don’t fight,” he harangued his followers.
“We will walk to the Capitol and we will cheer our brave senators and congressmen, “he said, including himself in the march, in which, however, he did not participate. “CWe’ll kill and I’ll be there with your“, he repeated, although after the speech he returned to the White House.
From that moment, he expressed his distrust that Vice President Pence, who by his position was directing the ceremony on Capitol Hill, would do something to stop the certification of votes: “I hope you defend the good of our Constitution and the good of our country. And if not, I will be very disappointed. “
And then he asked “fight like hell” because if not “you will no longer have a country.”
“So we’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol,” he continued. “We’re going to try to give our Republicans, the weak, because the strong don’t need our help, the kind of self-love and audacity they need to take back our country.” .
“I know that everyone present will soon march to the Capitol building to make their voices heard in a peaceful and patriotic way. Today we will see if the Republicans remain firm in favor of the integrity of our elections, “he added.
Before him, Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, told attendees that electoral disputes must be resolved by he “combat”.
Despite the fact that Trump asked to march peacefully, the irruption to the Legislative headquarters was violent. Four people died, including one of his followers for being shot by a policeman.
Was the assault planned?
During the previous weeks, the president marked “January 6 as a day of truth”, explains the BBC’s Washington correspondent, Anthony Zurcher.
“He told his supporters to come to Washington DC and challenge Congress … And on Wednesday morning, the president and his previous speakers started the whirlwind,” he adds.
Trump used Twitter to promote the march. “Big protest in DC on January 6,” he tweeted on December 19, asking to attend as “It’ll be wild!” He said.
Similar tweets came on December 27 and 30, as well as January 1, when he used the hashtag #StopTheSteal (Stop The Theft).
Precisely Stop The Steal is the name of one of the largest groups that was created online hours after last November’s election, according to an investigation by the newspaper The New York Times.
It reached 320,000 members until Facebook eliminated it, so many followers moved to platforms such as Parler and Gab, where the protest on January 6 was organized.
From other groups, such as “Secession of the Red State” (red is the color of the Republicans and blue that of the Democrats), the euphoria heated more as the date approached: “If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism, “read a message.
In the post, which went viral, people shared photos of the weaponry, including assault rifles, that they planned to bring to the rally in the capital.
According to the investigation, there were comments that made a call to “occupy” the Capitol and compel Congress to revoke the November elections.
As was evident later, members of movements like QAnon, Proud Boys and some “influencers” like Tim Gionet they participated in the assault on Congress.
Change of tone
Perhaps due to the possible legal implications, more than 24 hours after the assault, Trump changed his tone this Thursday, condemned the invasion and admitted that in a few days the Democrat Biden will relieve him.
“We have been through an intense election and there are many emotions, but now is the time to calm things down and regain calm,” Trump said in a video at the White House published Thursday night.
“On January 20 a new government will be sworn in. My goal now is to ensure an orderly transfer of power. This moment requires calling for closing wounds and reconciliation,” he said in a conciliatory tone, very different from that exhibited in another video on Wednesday few hours after the assault on the Capitol by his followers.
Trump was “outraged” by the “atrocious attack” on Congress for which many blame him.
But calls for the president to respond to what happened continue to resonate, and in Congress some Democrats are planning the course of action.
“If the vice president and the cabinet refuse to act, Congress should meet again to make a impshechment to the president, “said Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.