For two months, President Donald Trump has spewed false claims that he won the November election and falsely accused Democrats of trying to "steal" the White House. And as the lame-duck president has refused to accept reality, he has called on his supporters to fight for him.
Today, throngs of Trump sympathizers and members of far-right extremist groups stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., where both houses of Congress were meeting to complete the formality of certifying the votes of the Electoral College. As darkness fell, Trump supporters had overwhelmed Capitol police, and the building remained on lockdown.
Who could have seen this coming?
Literally everybody, except the Florida Republicans who have indulged the president's baseless claims of election fraud. Now, the same lawmakers who coddled Trump and fanned the flames of his delusions are condemning the violent uprising the president's supporters are staging in Washington D.C.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who did not take a stance ahead of the Electoral College vote certification, referred to today's events as "3rd world style anti-American anarchy" and pleaded with the president to intervene.
There is nothing patriotic about what is occurring on Capitol Hill. This is 3rd world style anti-American anarchy.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 6, 2021
Mr. President @realDonaldTrump the men & women of law enforcement are under assault. It is crucial you help restore order by sending resources to assist the police and ask those doing this to stand down.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 6, 2021
Just before noon, Florida Sen. Rick Scott released a statement on Twitter saying he would "likely" challenge the election results in Pennsylvania, one of the swing states President-Elect Joe Biden won. His statement cast doubt on the validity of the election and opined that the election in Pennsylvania "pose[s] a serious threat to the integrity of future elections."
Less than four hours later, Scott condemned the rioters and said that what's happening in D.C. is "not what our country stands for."
Everyone has a right to peacefully protest. No one has a right to commit violence. What happened today at the Capitol is disgraceful and un-American. It is not what our country stands for.— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) January 6, 2021
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stood behind Trump's claims of voter fraud and made appearances on Fox News to question the integrity of the election. DeSantis also pondered the possibility that legislatures in some battleground states might appoint Trump electors to override the popular vote.
Then DeSantis, too, tweeted this afternoon that the rioting in D.C. was "unacceptable." (Given that the governor has made it his mission to criminalize acts of protesting in Florida, it will be interesting to see what consequences he might suggest for the insurrectionists up north.)
My statement from earlier today: pic.twitter.com/aoUN17dXi4— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) January 6, 2021
Last year, newly minted Florida Congressman Carlos A. Giménez, who'd just left office as Miami-Dade County's mayor, joined a chorus of lawmakers who urged Trump not to concede the election to Biden.
Today, Giménez called the "lawlessness" at the U.S. Capitol "abhorrent and disgusting" and implored Trump — the man who, during last year's nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, co-opted a racially tinged phrase uttered by a white police chief in Miami in 1968: "When the looting starts, the shooting starts" — to tell the rioters to disperse.
This lawlessness is abhorrent and disgusting. This is not who we are as a nation and does not represent our values. All engaging in violence must be apprehended and punished. I pray for the safety of our Capitol Police who are working tirelessly to ensure everyone is kept safe.— Congressman Carlos A. Gimenez (@RepCarlos) January 6, 2021
Mr. President @realDonaldTrump please take a firm stance and help us restore order in the Capitol. This is unacceptable and dangerous. Capitol Police needs additional officers and resources now. We need you to urgently call on these protestors to disperse.— Congressman Carlos A. Gimenez (@RepCarlos) January 6, 2021
Last month, Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart backed one of Trump's lawsuits challenging the election results.
Today he tweeted that the "lawlessness and violence" at the Capitol were unacceptable.
We must protect and revere law our enforcement officers who put their lives on the line each day for our safety.— Mario Diaz-Balart (@MarioDB) January 6, 2021
While peaceful protests are an integral part of our democracy, lawlessness and violence are NOT acceptable.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody also backed a lawsuit to overturn the results of the election. Today, she tweeted that the United States is "a nation founded on rule of law and respect for those who uphold it."
We are a nation founded on a rule of law and respect for those who uphold it. Violence against law enforcement officers attempting to keep the peace is unacceptable and anyone who attacks an officer should be brought to justice.— AG Ashley Moody (@AGAshleyMoody) January 6, 2021
This afternoon, Trump released a one-minute recorded video statement urging his supporters to go home and advocating for peace and "law and order." But he spent much of the video reiterating his false claims that election had been "stolen from us" and that he had won in a "landslide." Twitter attached a disclaimer to the video stating that the president's claims were disputed and disabled responses to or sharing of the post "due to a risk of violence."
Not long afterward, Florida Congressman Charlie Crist, who served as Florida's Republican governor in the mid-2000s but later switched to the Democratic Party, tweeted that the president ought to be removed via invocation of the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The 25th Amendment allows for the removal of a President. It's time to remove the President.— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) January 6, 2021
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