A video featuring a police officer being dragged down a flight of stairs at the U.S. Capitol Building was released Monday by The Washington Post. The video is one of many that revealed the violence on display at the Capitol after a group of rioters stormed the building Jan. 6.
The rioters attempted to interrupt a congressional meeting to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. Those who stormed the Capitol were incited by the president himself, who earlier that same day held a rally outside of the White House and convinced his supporters to march to the Capitol and “stop the steal.”
“Together we will drain the Washington swamp, and we will clean up the corruption in our nation’s Capitol,” President Donald Trump told his supporters the morning of Jan. 6.
The violent actions of those who attacked the Capitol bring to light the hypocrisy of many supporters of Trump.
The rioters were supporters of Trump, having voted Republican in the past and believed themselves to be aligned with such views. But their actions and demands opposed the usual values of the Republican Party, such as supporting law enforcement, a weaker federal government and the Electoral College, historically a key part of American presidential elections.
The riot took place months after the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in summer 2020 which incited countermovements such as Blue Lives Matter, a group supporting American law enforcement.
Some of the Trump supporters who barged the Capitol were patrons of this countermovement, waving the “thin blue line” flag that represents Blue Lives Matter, according to The Washington Post. But the 50 police officers who were injured and the four others involved in either side of the riots who lost their lives during the breach would imply otherwise.
The rioters’ hypocrisy was evident when some screamed “traitor” toward police who were protecting the Capitol and even more so when officer Brian Sicknick died hours after the riots from injuries sustained at the Capitol, developing a blood clot and having a stroke after being sprayed twice by mace.
Trump supporters’ sudden disdain for police officers reveals they were never on the side of police to begin with. Rather, they were attempting to create a movement to counter Black Lives Matter protests to oppose what they believed to be an anti-police agenda.
The rioters showed up in Washington, D.C. last week to dispute the outcome of several states which certified their votes for Biden despite contention over potential voter fraud. This undermining of state decisions went against Republican philosophy that individual states should have more control over election outcomes than the federal government.
“It was never intended by our Founders that Congress have the power to overturn state-certified elections,” tweeted Republican Sen. Rand Paul on Jan. 6 after the riots subsided.
Capitol rioters also acted hypocritically when they demanded the eradication of the Electoral College, which would usually be considered a liberal idea.
Many Republicans believe that the Electoral College ensures equal representation of citizens in all states. Without the institution, some believe Republicans would cease to win the presidency going forward as, with the exception of 2004, Democratic candidates have won the popular vote every election since 1992. The push for the elimination of the Electoral College would be counterproductive to what could actually help the party in future elections.
Those who breached the Capitol oppose many of the views of the Republican Party because they are not truly Republicans. Their allegiance is to the president and not to the values of the GOP.
Some media outlets aligned with the Republican Party continue to endorse the events that took place Wednesday, proving their intentions are not to provide the news but to push Trump’s agenda.
“My allegiance isn’t to democracy. My allegiance isn’t to the Constitution. My allegiance is to Donald J. Trump,” tweeted Liberty Hangout, a conservative media commentary outlet, on Jan. 6.
Those against Trump associate Republicans with the ideology expressed by Liberty Hangout, but many who identify as Republicans don’t feel the same way as the popular media outlet. Over one-third of Republicans, or about 4,000 of the 12,648 surveyed, disapproved of Trump’s messages to constituents after he lost the election, according to a November 2020 survey by the Pew Research Center.
Many Republicans claim the participants of the riots were not Republicans, but instead strayed conservatives who are not associated with the Republican Party, according to a PBS survey of 875 people. The survey found that only 18% of 674 Republicans endorsed the riots. After the riots, Congress reconvened and four senators who planned to vote in Trump’s favor backed out.
To de-escalate the extremism formed from the Trump supporters who charged the Capitol on Wednesday, powerful Republican representatives should begin supporting more moderate candidates to convince their constituents to hit the reset button on the party’s reputation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already spoken out against the Capitol Hill rioters, telling associates that he hopes recent talks of impeaching Trump will come to fruition to effectively excommunicate him and his beliefs from the Republican Party.
Long respected Republican politicians have spoken out against the Capitol riots and should promote future moderate candidates to reconstruct the Republican Party. Moderate representatives will bring a calm after the storm and hopefully a time of reflection and reconciliation for those persuaded by conspiracies that discarded traditional Republican values.