“It went from being one of the greatest experiences of my life to one of the worst,” he told Sapulpa Times on the phone, early Friday afternoon.
The voice on the other end, who agreed to speak with us on the condition of anonymity, had just gotten back into town early that morning and was running on only twelve hours of sleep in the last several days.
“Sorry,” he said, pausing. “This is still pretty hard.”
What began as a crowded but peaceful rally in support of the president and the senators who were planning to object to the electoral vote turned violent on Wednesday, as rioters breached the Capitol building during the counting process, forcing an evacuation of the legislators and resulting in the death of five people, including an unarmed woman inside the building, and a D.C. police officer.
“ninety-nine percent of us who were there did not want this,” the man continued.
By his account, the Trump rally at the beginning of the day was crowded, but exciting.
“I’ve never seen so many people,” he said. “Every race, religion…gay couples, everybody was there to support him.”
The caller told Sapulpa Times that he was wrestling with whether or not to attend the rally, but ultimately decided to go because “this man did not have to do this,” he said, referring to President Trump. “He could have retired to live a good life. For all the crap he put up with…well, I decided to go in order to support him and support the senators that were going to object.”
He said there was such an excitement in the atmosphere and no hint of what was to come. “It was very crowded, and Trump started so late, and we were so far back, that we couldn’t hear what he was saying.” He said that word began to spread around the crowd that the vote count had started, so he began to walk with thousands of others up the hill to the Capitol Building.
“You have to understand, there were 65-year-old veterans walking up this hill. Old ladies had to be helped up the hill. It was an amazing thing to see. You could see that the crowd was unified, and it helped you understand the power of our voice.”
The man said that by the time he reached the west side of the Capitol building, word was getting out that that the building had been breached. “They (the police) weren’t prepared, and they should’ve been. They knew…I’ve never seen so many people.”
He told us that even in the sea of Trump supporters, it was easy to spot outsiders here and there. “Antifa was definitely there,” he said. “They weren’t real Trump supporters. They were walking around and weren’t listening to anything he was saying. They might have a MAGA hat on, but they were mostly dressed in black, carrying skateboards. One had a billy club sticking out of his backpack.”
He said he stood at the west side of the building for “I don’t know how long,” as reports began filtering through the crowd that a woman had been shot. He and the group he was with turned to leave and had to be rerouted because of a pipe bomb that was found nearby.
“On the way back to the hotel, we received the amber alert that the city was going under curfew. All the restaurants were closed. I had to eat beef jerky and water for dinner that night.”
He said the next morning, the mood was somber and the tension was high. “You could that the hotel staff, they weren’t rude, but you could tell, they wanted us gone.”
He says he doesn’t think assaulting the Capitol did anything to help the cause of the Trump supporter crowd. “I don’t agree. In fact, I think it hurt our cause,” he said, though he’s not sure the act was carried out by true Trump supporters.
“Have you seen the list of monuments inside the building that were damaged during the riot? Do you know the number? It’s zero.” Remarking on the lack of damage to the offices, and the fact that Congress was able to get back to certifying the votes so quickly, he expressed serious doubts that it was a disorganized attack. “Somehow, someway, it’s quite possible that went down exactly the way somebody planned if you catch my drift. It’s all highly suspect.”
Social Media and E-Commerce platforms muzzle the president
President Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts have been suspended indefinitely, and after a 12-hour suspension, Mr. Trump was let back onto Twitter, but a short while later his account was banned indefinitely, as well. Trump had released a video condemning the actions of the rioters, saying they “defiled the seat of American democracy.”
Meanwhile, online e-commerce platform Shopify announced that they were terminating all its stores affiliated with the president.
Other allies of President Trump are feeling the heat as well, as Simon and Schuster announced they will be canceling the publication of Senator Josh Hawley’s upcoming book.
In addition, a number of White House officials have resigned in the days following the riot at Washington D.C.