Was US Capitol takeover planned on pro-Trump website? Threads discussed ways supporters could 'storm' building
The US Capitol on Wednesday was stormed by supporters of President Donald Trump as a way of protesting after things took a turn for the worse for the Republican party in Georgia's runoff races. The mob stormed the building just as Congress was tabulating the Electoral College votes to certify Joe Biden as the next US president and just moments after Trump spoke at a rally in Washington. As a result of the violent riots a woman was reportedly shot on the premises and the voting count was suspended.
What shocked the US public and people on social media was the sudden attack on the Capitol but it turns out that the plan to "storm" the Hill may not have been sudden at all. TheDonald.win is a pro-Trump website and on Tuesday was active with users discussing plans to travel to DC for pro-Trump rallies fervently. Among these plans were a subset of threads which included ways that supporters could "storm" or "occupy" US Capitol in order to "make citizens arrests of lawmakers who hold old-fashioned views like honoring state-certified election results," according to a media report. One thread also fantasized about locking all the senators in one room and wrote, "The capitol is our goal. Everything else is a distraction. Every corrupt member of congress locked in one room and surrounded by real Americans is an opportunity that will never present itself again."
In fact, many supporters had expected Trump to march to Capitol along with them after he said at the rally in Washington, "After this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down, we’re going to walk down, anyone you want but I think right here, we’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness" right before his supporters stormed the Capitol. He had also added, "You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated." He then expressed, "I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard. Today we will see whether Republicans stand strong for integrity of our elections, whether or not they stand strong for our country."
The previous day, Eva Malecki, a spokesperson for the US Capitol Police had expressed confidence in their security and said, "While we do not discuss the means, methods, or specific resources used to carry out our protective responsibilities, the United States Capitol Police has comprehensive security plans in place and we continuously monitor and assess new and emerging threats, with the overall goal of keeping those within the Capitol Complex safe and secure.”