From the start of the riots that president-elect Joe Biden described as "an insurrection", armed guards were shockingly absent during what was one of the most historically dangerous and violent upheavals in Washington DC. Despite District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser requesting 340 National Guard members, the hundreds of law enforcement officers were quickly overrun by domestic terrorists as they broke windows, desecrated the offices of government officials, and laid armed siege to the Capitol building yesterday afternoon.
As all of this went on, a viral video from on the scene shows a Capitol Police officer buddying up with violent demonstrators and even taking selfies with them. In the video, the officer is seen stopping for a photo in a hallway packed with Trump supporters shortly after they stormed the federal building.
This is a vast departure from law enforcement’s response to Black Lives Matter protests in D.C. last June after protestors congregated in response to the police shooting of George Floyd. Back then, in front of the White House Rose Garden, federal law enforcement officers fired rubber bullets and chemical gas during an otherwise peaceful demonstration. In preparation for BLM protests, more than 4,000 officers were deployed in D.C. even though, at no point, did they attempt to storm the Capitol building. Anti-racism protesters were met with excessive force, tear gas and violence. It is a stark contrast to what we witnessed yesterday.
At the time, outgoing president Donald Trump tweeted about the events saying, "This is Treason, Sedition, Insurrection!" On Wednesday afternoon, after hundreds of people toppled barricades and forced government officials to have to evacuate with gas masks, Trump – only after receiving calls from both Republicans and Democrats and being called out on national television by Biden – released a recorded message expressing his love and support for the rioters, calling them "very special". Oh, and that they should probably go home and quit the whole violent coup business, at least for now.
As the country watched its capital descend into ruin, the president remained in his office, claiming the election was stolen from him and commiserating with rioters who felt "hurt" by the election results. This is what law and order look like, apparently.