'I'll be with you,' Trump said earlier in the day, encouraging his supporters to march on the building.
Mobs of violent Donald Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday on direct orders from Trump himself, who encouraged protesters gathered in the District of Columbia to march to the building to help Republicans steal the 2020 election.
At a rally earlier Wednesday, Trump told his supporters, "I'll be with you" on a march down the National Mall to the Capitol, where lawmakers were gathering to formally certify President-elect Joe Biden's win. Republicans are attempting to block that certification by objecting to the electoral vote state by state, though that effort is mostly certain to fail.
After Trump's speech, hordes of Trump supporters violently pushed past federal police officers to enter the Capitol building, forcing the building into lockdown due to security threats.
Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding over the certification, was whisked off the Senate floor amid security concerns.
As the protesters breached the Capitol, Trump again appeared to egg them on, tweeting a direct attack against Pence — who earlier in the day said he would not block the Electoral College votes from being certified.
"Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!" Trump tweeted.
Shortly after, Trump tweeted at his supporters to "stay peaceful," but they had already forced their way into the building. Some reportedly began breaking windows, and at least one supporter reportedly took over the Senate dais to yell that "Trump won [the] election."
Trump has been egging on his supporters for days, lying to them about a stolen election and encouraging them multiple times to travel to Washington, D.C., to pressure congressional lawmakers to refuse to accept Biden's victory. The effort was a last-ditch attempt to cling onto power, after dozens of courts threw out his legal challenges, leading the Electoral College to vote on Dec. 14 to seal Biden's win.
"January 6th. See you in D.C." Trump tweeted on Jan. 1, linking to a video filled with lies and conspiracies about how the election was stolen from him.
"I will be speaking at the SAVE AMERICA RALLY tomorrow on the Ellipse at 11AM Eastern. Arrive early — doors open at 7AM Eastern. BIG CROWDS!" Trump tweeted on Tuesday.
Video on Wednesday also showed Trump supporters violently clashing with and attacking police officers, some of whom were seen to be visibly injured.
The violence led Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser to implement a curfew starting at 6 p.m. ET to try to stop the violence from spreading throughout the city.
This all comes the day after Trump issued an order demanding that "antifa" — a loose movement of antifascists — be labeled a terrorist organization as he ignored the violence his own supporters were carrying out in the District of Columbia.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.