Videos, photographs, and witness accounts from the harrowing attack reinforce the fact that the mob of hundreds that scaled walls, smashed windows, and stole from the Capitol did, in fact, behave like domestic terrorists.
It was "one of the darkest days in the history of our nation," said President-elect Joe Biden as he denounced the attack by the violent mob on the US Capitol.
Calling it an "unprecedented assault on our democracy," Biden slammed the rioters who waved Trump flags, wore MAGA hats, and donned on other Trump paraphernalia as they stormed through the building and had a standoff with uniformed officers.
As Biden spoke during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, he decided to not mince words label them for the way they behaved, like domestic terrorists.
"They weren't protesters. Don't dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. It's that basic. It's that simple," Biden said, as quoted by NBC News. "And I wish we could say we couldn't see it coming, but that's not true. We could see it coming."
Biden, who is days away from taking over the White House, also recalled a conversation he had with his granddaughter about how the police department and law enforcement officials would have treated the rioters differently if the color of their skin was different.
Here’s the scary moment when protesters initially got into the building from the first floor and made their way outside Senate chamber. pic.twitter.com/CfVIBsgywK— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 6, 2021
"No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn't have been treated very, very differently from the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol," Biden said. "We all know that's true. And it's unacceptable. Totally unacceptable."
Noting that Trump's words instigated the insurrection that took place on Wednesday, January 6, Biden went on to say that he has been a "president who's made his contempt for our democracy, the Constitution, the rule of law clear in everything he has done."
"Our president is not above the law," Biden also added. "Justice serves the people. It doesn't protect the powerful."
The violent assault on the Capitol has so far claimed the lives of four people and another police officer, while a number of others were left injured. Videos, photographs, and witness accounts from the harrowing attack reinforce the fact that the mob of hundreds that smashed windows, scaled walls, and stole from the Capitol did, in fact, behave like domestic terrorists.
Police officers are holding them steps away from the Senate chamber, which is locked. Senators are inside. I see a few confederate flags. pic.twitter.com/YI7X7KmuUG— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 6, 2021
"It escalated to a level that nobody had ever seen before," said Associated Press photographer Andrew Harnik, who has covered a number of protests in Washington DC before but had seen nothing like what happened in the US Capitol, according to People.
Recalling how things escalated in the afternoon, Harnik said that at around 1:45 pm, "There was a big group of people congregating at the steps up the center of the building. And there was a police line kind of holding them back, and really within a minute or so, I could see this line collapse. The people outside stormed up the stairs and took over the East front landing in front of the doors that lead directly into the Capitol rotunda, which is the space that you see heads of state lie in state... I could hear broken glass and shouting, and then some sort of large explosion went off outside."
A little while after that, the 39-year-old photographer was ushered into the chamber to be locked inside with members of Congress.
The security team began evacuating people from the room, but the doors began to break at around 2:45 pm. "It was clear that there were people on the other side trying to get in. Within the next few minutes, we could hear popping noises, and the glass breaking," Harnik recalled.
It was only by around 5:40 in the evening that day when the building was cleared. By then, Trump had made a show of calling for peace, but instead of condemning the violence, he told the protesters, "Go home. We love you, you're very special," as reported by BBC.
Harnik, who resumed taking pictures that evening of the trash and debris left behind, told People, "Even for the people who cover politics in Washington day in and day out -- we're used to some pretty dicey protests where people clash with the police and people get pepper-sprayed. But this was, this was just something that nobody had ever experienced before."