By John Friend
Tens—possibly hundreds—of thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered in the nation’s capital on Jan. 6 to attend rallies and demonstrations highlighting election fraud and voting irregularities in the 2020 election in which Democratic nominee Joe Biden is said to have garnered over 80 million votes—far more than any other presidential candidate in U.S. history.
In late December, President Trump implored his supporters to gather in D.C. this week on the day that the Congress met to count and certify the Electoral College votes. He declared it was “statistically impossible” for him to have lost the election, and that there would be a big protest on Jan. 6 that would “be wild.” Indeed, the day’s events were wild and chaotic, as Trump supporters ultimately stormed the U.S. Capitol building resulting in the death of at least one of the president’s supporters and forcing Congress to halt the Electoral College certification process mid-day before returning later in the evening after law enforcement cleared the building.
Mr. Trump’s legal team had filed a series of lawsuits in various disputed battleground states following the Nov. 4 election with little success, and also organized a number of state congressional sessions to make their case proving widespread election fraud in key districts, which ultimately swung the election in Biden’s favor. Despite the serious evidence uncovered and presented, little to no action has been taken at any level to overturn the election results, and the president’s legal team has not as of yet presented convincing evidence of widespread systemic fraud, though individual, smaller examples abound.
Leading up to the Jan. 6 rally, Trump insisted Vice President Mike Pence “has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” and urged his second-in-command who oversees the electoral counting process to “send them back to the states” that Trump argued wanted “to correct their votes, which they now know were based on irregularities and fraud.”
Trump acolytes and legal analysts had been hyping the much ballyhooed “Pence Card” as a means of rejecting the certification of electoral votes for Biden, which the VP repeatedly rejected.
“It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,” Pence said prior to the joint congressional session.
Mr. Trump spoke at a rally that drew tens of thousands of his supporters early in the day, rehashing the major talking points he and his legal supporters have been highlighting for months regarding election fraud. To close his speech, he told his supporters to march down Pennsylvania Ave. to the U.S. Capitol where Congress was meeting. Thousands soon descended upon the Capitol, and ultimately breached the building, overwhelming law enforcement. CNN reported that the crowd was mysteriously “met with less police force than many of the Black Lives Matter protests” that took place earlier in the year, which caused such massive destruction and mayhem, allowing the mob to “overrun Capitol Hill Police and infiltrate the country’s legislative chambers” with ease.
President Trump issued a short video message following the chaos urging his supporters to “go home” and saying, “We must have peace.” Eventually he called in the National Guard to help quell the crowd and restore order at the Capitol. An emergency curfew was put in place for 6 p.m. across the city, which appears to have been strictly enforced. A 14-year U.S. veteran named Ashli Babbit was fatally shot by law enforcement inside the Capitol building, the details of which are still being investigated.
After Congress reconvened, President-Elect Joe Biden was affirmed as the winner of the 2020 presidential election about 4 a.m., Jan. 7.
John Friend is a freelance writer based in California.