Democrats last night demanded answers as to how rioters were able to storm the US Capitol so easily – amid claims that Donald Trump refused to send in the National Guard.
Videos shared on social media showed police apparently opening fences for the mob and taking selfies with them, prompting suspicions that some of them sympathised with the invasion.
Amid the chaos, Mr Trump initially ‘rebuffed and resisted’ a request to mobilise the National Guard, the New York Times reported.
This meant Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials had to step into the breach to raise troops.
The scenes of carnage sparked outrage in Washington over the fact that the Capitol Police force, which has 1,879 officers and a budget of £380million, was unable to carry out its most basic function. It seemingly had no excuse for being so unprepared, as Trump supporters had telegraphed their intentions on social media and online forums, with posts on website Reddit stating: ‘Storm the Capitol’.
Another post online said they would ‘break into Congress and drag these politicians out onto the streets’.
Representative Tim Ryan, the House appropriator, said that there were ‘strategic mistakes from the beginning’ by law enforcement. He said: ‘I think it’s pretty clear that there’s going to be a number of people who are going to be without employment very, very soon because this is an embarrassment – both on behalf of the mob and the President, and the insurrection and the attempted coup, but also the lack of professional planning and dealing with what we knew was going to occur’.
Amid the chaos, Donald Trump (pictured on Wednesday) initially ‘rebuffed and resisted’ a request to mobilise the National Guard, the New York Times reported. This meant Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials had to step into the breach to raise troops
And Representative Maxine Waters tweeted: ‘I had an hour-long conversation with the Chief of Police four days ago. He assured me the terrorists would not be allowed on the plaza and Capitol secured. What the hell?’ Videos shared online showed police completely outnumbered by rioters who streamed past them.
After Twitter ban, he’s now barred from Facebook
The President’s Facebook and Instagram accounts have been suspended ‘indefinitely’.
Social media boss Mark Zuckerberg said the ‘shocking events’ spurred his decision.
Mr Zuckerberg accused Mr Trump of ‘using our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government’. He added: ‘We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our services are simply too great.’
It came after Twitter, Mr Trump’s social media platform of choice, suspended his account for 12 hours.
However, White House deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino tweeted on his behalf: ‘Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20.’
One Capitol Police officer – his badge clearly visible – posed for a selfie with a rioter who smiled broadly as he took the image. Another held a woman’s hand to steady her as she walked down the Capitol steps.
Mr Ryan said: ‘I have no idea why that would be permissible. That’s unacceptable… We’ll be looking at all of that’. Meanwhile, Kim Dine, who was chief of the Capitol Police from 2012 to 2016, said: ‘It’s like watching a real-life horror movie.
‘I mean, we train and plan and budget every day, basically, to have this not happen. How it happened, I can’t figure that out’.
Security experts said that the police had completely underestimated the size of the crowd and their intentions. Many of the officers who were guarding the Capitol were not even dressed in riot gear and were wearing street clothes.
The treatment was a stark contrast to the thousands of officers deployed to Washington last June for a protest over the death of George Floyd.
A photograph from the Lincoln Memorial shows armed law enforcement agents standing 6ft apart for what was an overwhelmingly peaceful protest. The New York Times reported that Mr Trump’s refusal to send in the National Guard sparked outrage among even his closest allies.
He was reportedly so angry at Mr Pence for refusing to stop the certification of the election results that he would not act. The eventual authorisation of the troops was said to have been undertaken by Mr Pence and Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel.
The Army activated 1,100 troops of the DC National Guard while Virginia’s governor dispatched members of the Virginia Guard along with 200 Virginia State Troopers. Later into the evening Capitol Police and federal law enforcement agencies mounted a massive show of force to secure the Capitol building. Washington mayor Muriel Bowser declared a 6pm curfew and a state of emergency in the city for the next 15 days until the inauguration.
Officers arrested 68 people, including seven for illegal weapon possession and 61 for curfew violations and unlawful entry.