Trump supporters swarmed the U.S. capitol during today's Senate debate over the Electoral College votes.
This article was originally published at 3:55 p.m. on January 6. It was updated at 5:50 p.m. on January 6.
Less than a year after Black Lives Matter protesters were met with tear gas, rubber bullets, and countless instances of brutality from police officers across the country, Trump supporters are being let off rather easy for...also protesting.
January 6 marked the Senate debate over the Electoral College count, during which the soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and various other Trump cronies asserted that Joe Biden did not win the 2020 election (though he did) and the current president would have been reelected in a landslide if it weren't for massive voter fraud (which didn't exist).
As Senators debated in the capitol, a swarm of protestors — donning Trump swag, MAGA hats, and, yes, Confederate flags—began encroaching in. At around 2 PM EST, however, Capitol Police notified everyone inside the building to shelter in place. The protesters had, in fact, breached the capitol building.
A Timeline: Here's Video Evidence of What's Going On
First, Trump supporters began gathering outside the Capitol steps. As they inched up the steps, it appeared as though police officers did little to hold them back — save for a few spritzes of pepper spray.
View from inside the Capitol as people gather on the West Front. The Capitol is currently on lockdown. https://t.co/XKNKWNbHxZ— Caroline Brehman (@Caroline Brehman)1609959899.0
Whoa: Trump supporters going at it with the police on the steps of the Capitol as Congress counts the Electoral Col… https://t.co/xr73tTSmHP— philip lewis (@philip lewis)1609956924.0
It's a far cry from the violence that police enacted on Black Lives Matter protesters last summer.
This is WILD https://t.co/dC8whGzIgw— philip lewis (@philip lewis)1609957919.0
Protesters then raised a cross outside of the Capitol (unclear if they plan on nailing Trump to it).
The Capitol's front doors were shattered as protesters then came inside, demanding to see senators.
Holy shit https://t.co/dofEG2SmqP— Jim Newell (@Jim Newell)1609960908.0
Video of Capitol breakin. Trump protesters are demanding to see senators https://t.co/w7jTNYAedd— Steven Nelson (@Steven Nelson)1609960776.0
Protesters were able to walk throughout the building with little to no pushback from security.
They breached the Capitol https://t.co/tWKxojW2Hr— Matt Laslo (@Matt Laslo)1609960531.0
Protesters began getting violent with police officers in an attempt to reach the senate chamber. Chants of "U.S.A." echo throughout the building.
Police and Trump supporters are going at it INSIDE of the Capitol. Never thought we’d see something like this https://t.co/MqBJoKYHbP— philip lewis (@philip lewis)1609962379.0
DC police reported that one person had been shot inside the capitol. MSNBC shared a clip in which a bloodied woman was shown leaving the capitol on a stretcher.
BREAKING: DC paramedic source tells me one person shot in Capitol. CPR in progress— Lindsay Watts (@Lindsay Watts)1609963311.0
MSNBC just showed video of a bloodied woman on a stretcher being taken from the Capitol (I won’t show the video b… https://t.co/rst32DQ7bS— philip lewis (@philip lewis)1609963598.0
Protestors found their way to the senate chamber. No tear gas, no rubber bullets.
A source reportedly told Aaron C. Davis, investigative reporter for the Washington Post, that the Defense Department denied a request by DC officials to deploy the National Guard to the capitol.
BREAKING: A source tells me The Defense Department has just denied a request by DC officials to deploy the National Guard to the US Capitol.— Aaron C. Davis (@Aaron C. Davis)1609962905.0
President Trump's advice: "Stay peaceful," coming from the same man who told Black Lives Matter protesters, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts."
Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1609961938.0
Despite bipartisan demands, Trump does not strengthen his language at all.
Reports of violence and injuries, including a woman shot in the neck, confirm escalating violence. Later in the evening, MSNBC confirmed that the woman who was shot had died.
Pro-Trump rioters have breached the US Capitol and one woman has been shot as the building is engulfed in chaos aft… https://t.co/aMJQq74oJ5— CNN (@CNN)1609966127.0
BREAKING: The woman has died, several law enforcement officials say - @PeteWilliamsNBC https://t.co/iwXCYHj6IT— MSNBC (@MSNBC)1609973306.0
After a confusing delay, more DC National Guard troops are finally mobilized to quell the mob.
LATEST: Trump has ordered the National Guard to the Capitol after his supporters breached barricades and broke wind… https://t.co/AwLoGMWNJe— Bloomberg (@Bloomberg)1609965928.0
The quarterback said "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." And then he tried to apologize. And only made it worse.
Drew Brees, a man who makes literally millions of dollars for throwing a ball, has come under fire for insensitive comments he made about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.
"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said in the interview with Yahoo Finance. He clarified that this was in part because he envisioned his grandfathers, who fought in World War II, during the National Anthem. He continued, saying, "And is everything right with our country right now? No. It's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution."
This isn't the first time Brees made it clear that he cares more for the idea of a make-believe unified America than he does for actual human lives. In 2016, he criticized Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the anthem, saying it was "disrespectful to the American flag" and "an oxymoron" because the flag gave critics the right to speak out in the first place.
Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of racist police brutality
Of course, the flag's alleged ideals have been proven to only be applicable to wealthy, white men—men like Brees. Sure, his grandfathers did a noble thing when they fought under the US flag during WWII, and no one, including Kaepernick, has ever said that sacrifice isn't worth respecting. Thanks to the sacrifices of many people (including the enslaved Black backs upon which this country was built, including the scores of routinely abused Black soldiers who fought for American lives), America has offered opportunity and peace for many, many people. In particular, Ole' Glory has been very kind to men like Brees: rich, white men who still control the majority of the power and the wealth in the United States.
But what about the rest of us, Drew? What about George Floyd whose neck was crushed by a police officer who kneeled on him so casually that he didn't even take his hand out of his pocket? What about Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot for the crime of being Black and going for a jog? What about Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was murdered by police in her home in the middle of the night for a crime that had nothing to do with her? What about Tony McDade, Drew–have you heard his name? Have you heard about the 38-year-old Black trans man who was gunned down in Florida last week? Do you understand why these people's family's may harbor just a bit of disrespect for your precious flag?
Is it possible for you to realize, Drew, that your wish for "unity" is not a wish for progress, but a wish to maintain the status quo? When you call for unity under the American flag, you're talking about your flag, the flag that represents a long, sordid history of racial oppression and violence. There is no unity where there is no justice. When you say that "we are all in this together," what you're saying is that we all have roles to play in the version of society that has served you so well. For your part, you'll be a rich, white man, and for Black people's part, they'll continue to be victims of state-sanctioned murders– but hopefully more quietly, hopefully in a manner that doesn't make you uncomfortable?
When you say, "We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution," what you mean to say is that POC and their allies are at fault. Sure, you probably agree that Derek Chauvin took it a bit too far, and you probably feel a little self-conscious that he's brought all this "Black rights" stuff up again. But when you say "all," you place blame on the victims who are dying under a broken system. And what, exactly, do you expect POC to do differently, Drew? Ahmaud Arbery was just out jogging, and still he died. George Floyd was just trying to pay a cashier, and still he died. POC and their allies try to peacefully protest by marching in the streets or taking a knee at a football game, and still white people condemn and criticize. Still the police shoot.
After much criticism, Brees did attempt an apology on Instagram, where he posted a hilariously corny stock photo of a Black and white hand clasped together. His caption, though possibly well-intentioned, made it even clearer that his understanding of the movement for Black lives is thoroughly lacking.
Highlights of the "apology" include his immediate attempt to exonerate himself from culpability, claiming that his words were misconstrued, saying of his previous statement: "Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character." Unfortunately, Drew, white people like you are the "enemy," as you put it, because by default you are at the very least part of the problem. No one is accusing you of being an overt racist, Drew; no one thinks you actively and consciously detest Black people. But your lack of empathy, your apathy, and your unwillingness to unlearn your own biases are precisely what has persisted in the hearts and minds of well-meaning white Americans for centuries.
Next, you say, "I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the Black community in this movement." No, Drew. Just no. Black people don't need white people's savior complexes to interfere in their organizing; what they need is for us to shut up and listen. What they need is for us to get our knees off of their necks.
Finally, you say, "I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy." This, Drew, is suspiciously similar to saying, "But I'm one of the good whites!" The fact of the matter is that feeling the need to prove your allyship is not about helping a movement; it's about feeding your own ego. Not only that, but your emphasis on "ALWAYS" does a pretty good job of making it clear that you don't think you have a racist bone in your body and that you have taken great offense at any accusations to the contrary. I have some news for you, Drew: Every white person is racist. Sure, the levels vary, and while you may not be actively and consciously discriminating against POC, you have been brought up in a racist system, and your implicit biases are as strong as any other white person's. Your job now is to unlearn those biases and confront those subtle prejudices in yourself and in other white people. Maybe the first step in doing so is just shutting your f*cking mouth about kneeling at football games. Maybe you should even consider taking a knee yourself.
For other non-BIPOC trying to be better allies, check out one of these 68+ anti-racism resources.