The rioting at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6 left many Americans shocked and stunned. On the day Congress convened to confirm that President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 election, thousands of President Donald Trump’s supporters were in Washington for demonstrations against the confirmation of what they and the President have baselessly claimed was a stolen election.
Things quickly escalated to violence as rioters stormed the Capitol in the early afternoon, breaking windows, vandalizing property and laying siege to the congressional chambers. Members of Congress were rushed to safety as rioters occupied offices and hallways. By the end of the chaos, four people were reported dead, including one woman who was shot.
“The Capitol Police were unprepared for the sheer size of the protest,” David Gomez, a retired FBI executive, told the Wall Street Journal. Once the rioters barged into the Capitol, other federal law enforcement agencies were slow to respond, either out of deference to President Trump or because of a lack of experience with dealing with riots, which isn’t their primary mission, Mr. Gomez said.
“Up until they breached the Capitol, the possibility existed that it was going to be a large protest that didn’t cross those barricades. Once they did that [law enforcement personnel] were overwhelmed and couldn’t respond quickly enough,” he said.
Across social media, notables reacted to what transpired in Washington, D.C.