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The DC protests attacked one final American bedrock on Trump’s behalf

Published Jan 6th, 2021 9:00PM EST
DC protests

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  • The nation was transfixed on Wednesday by the dramatic and unsettling scenes of Washington DC protests and mob-like behavior that occurred, disrupting Congress’ process of certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win.
  • One person was shot and died during the chaos and rioting Wednesday in Washington DC.
  • Facebook and Twitter took dramatic action to limit content shared by President Trump in response to Wednesday’s protests.

Here’s one of many depressing indicators of just how bad the DC protests got on Wednesday, temporarily disrupting the congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. Things devolved to such a degree that Facebook actually found a spine and did something it pretty much never, ever does, fearing the wrath of its legions of conservative users — the biggest social network actually took down the bizarre video President Trump shared to his social accounts, in which he at one point told the Trump-loving mob that stormed the US Capitol complex that “We love you. You’re very special.”

Facebook vice president of integrity Guy Rosen explained in a tweet why the social giant decided to remove Trump’s video: “This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video. We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.” In an official Facebook company blog post, Rosen along with Facebook vice president of global policy management Monika Bickert went on to explain that the company has been removing content as fast as it can from Facebook’s myriad platforms that includes any of the following: Praise of any kind about what’s happening in Washington DC today, calls to re-stage violence there, any calls for protests peaceful or otherwise that violate the DC curfew, and videos and photos from the protestors. “At this point,” the Facebook executives say in the blog post, “they represent promotion of criminal activity which violates our policies.” Later on Wednesday, Facebook confirmed it’s blocked President Trump from posting for 24 hours.

What this news underscores is how the chaos we saw today in Washington DC — with a mob of what former President George W. Bush called “insurrectionists” fomenting anarchy and violence — was many things: A political story, a national security story, as well as a tech story. And that’s because Twitter, too, took dramatic action in response to inflammatory tweets from President Trump amid the clashes between police and the rioting mob. Three of Trump’s tweets as of the time of this writing have been removed by the company, and Twitter went on to take the extraordinary step of locking President Trump’s account for 12 hours as well as adding the stunning warning that “Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.”

Meantime, here are some of the other remarkable, unsettling, and terrifying scenes from the nation’s capital on Wednesday:

Events unfolded at breathtaking speed in the wake of the DC protests, and here is a rundown of some of the latest news unfolding as of early evening on Wednesday:

  • Some political leaders, like Republican Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont, responded to today’s events by calling on President Trump to either resign or be removed from office immediately.
  • At least one Republican, Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, decided to reverse course and drop her challenge of the November election results.
  • CNN’s Kaitlan Collins noted that “The US Capitol was breached today for the first time since 1814, when the British attacked it and set it on fire during the war of 1812.” That’s per the director of scholarship and operations with the US Capitol Historical Society.
  • Former President George W. Bush called Wednesday’s clashes, which shut down the House and Senate chambers and sent legislators cowering and taking cover, “sickening.” In a statement, Bush continued: “This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic — not our democratic republic. I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement.”
  • Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin said on CNN that the last time he saw something like this was when he was deployed to Iraq and called on President Trump to end his encouragement of the protestors.
  • At least two strategically-placed explosive devices were found in DC today.
  • Mark Esper, President Trump’s second Secretary of Defense, tweeted: “The perpetrators who committed this illegal act were inspired by partisan misinformation and patently false claims about the election. This must end now for the good of the republic.”
  • In a statement he released Wednesday evening, President Obama said that today’s violence was “incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election.”
Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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