A violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and forced lawmakers into hiding, in a stunning attempt to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House.
The nation’s elected representatives scrambled to crouch under desks and donned gas marks, while police futilely tried to barricade the building, one of the most jarring scenes ever to unfold in a seat of American political power. A woman was shot and killed inside the Capitol, and Washington’s mayor instituted an evening curfew in an attempt to contain the violence. The rioters were egged on by Trump, who has spent weeks falsely attacking the integrity of the election and had urged his supporters to descend on Washington Wednesday to protest Congress’ formal approval of Biden’s victory.
Together, the protests and the GOP election objections amounted to an almost unthinkable challenge to American democracy and exposed the depths of the divisions that have coursed through the country during Trump’s four years in office. Though the efforts to block Biden from being sworn in on Jan. 20 are sure to fail, the support Trump has received for his efforts to overturn the election results have badly strained the nation’s democratic guardrails.
We dive in with a special evening hour of AirTalk, co-hosted by KPCC politics reporter Libby Denkmann.
With files from the Associated Press
Hal Kempfer, CEO of Global Risk Intelligence and Planning (GRIP), a management consulting firm based in Long Beach, and retired Marine lieutenant colonel; he has worked in military support for homeland security and defense both as an active member of the military and as a civilian
Joanna Mendelson, associate director for the Center on Extremism at the Anti-Defamation League; she tweets @jo_mendelson