Fervent New England supporters of President Donald Trump were among the crowds in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, as mobs broke into the Capitol building in droves to protest President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory.
“Something had to be done,” Marilyn Bittner, a “house flipper” in Maine, told New York magazine.
“They’re not listening to us in the courts or in the Legislature, so it’s reached a point where people are going to break in,” Bittner said, though it was unclear in the report whether she was among the crowds that entered the building.
The riots unfolded as lawmakers began to meet to certify Biden as the 46th president of the United States — a process that was completed later that night. The violence ultimately left four dead, including a 35-year-old Air Force veteran who was shot and killed by an officer after storming into the building, The Washington Post reports.
Outside the halls of Congress, Trump supporters were met with tear gas from law enforcement. Part of the standoff was caught on video by Dianna Ploss, a loyal supporter of the president who founded the Massachusetts 4 Trump organization in 2016.
Ploss, who formerly hosted a conservative New Hampshire talk radio show, can be heard coughing and called the incident an “attack” on protesters. It was also unclear from the video whether she entered the Capitol building.
“I do not think it’s over,” Ploss said of the election in a subsequent video. She added that she was safe. “I think President Trump’s art of the deal is going to come into play because when President Trump is down, … it looks like he’s down and out, that seems to be when he really shines. So I’m not worried about it.”
On Thursday, Trump released a statement committing to an “orderly transition” of power to Biden come Inauguration Day, but he continued to sow doubts about the legitimacy of the election, despite a lack of evidence of fraud.
“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 20th,” Trump said in a statement released by the White House.
A pair of Massachusetts friends who refer to themselves as “Trump Groupies” drove down to Washington to join the protests and were dismayed by the violence that took place, The Boston Globe reports.
“I was very disappointed,” Mary Ann Wilbur, 56, of Braintree, told the newspaper.
Wilbur and Laura Tamagno, 67, of Marblehead, said the incident does not represent all of Trump’s supporters.
“That was really stupid of them,” she said of the members of the crowd that pried their way into the Capitol building. “It is a federal building, and they shouldn’t have done that. … It was wrong. There was no point in it.”
By contrast, the two Bay Staters spent their day watching Trump deliver his remarks and headed to the Capitol to chant and sing the National Anthem with fellow supporters, according to the Globe.
They said they saw a group head up the Capitol building’s back steps afterward.
“They were just waving flags and singing. The people we saw weren’t doing anything bad,” Wilbur said. “I did hear about the chaos that went on inside, but that was not the majority at all — at all.”
David Ellis, a 60-year-old police chief of Troy, New Hampshire, also attended the demonstrations and denounced the break-in committed by others who participated.
He told New York magazine the move “was not going to solve a thing, and then to see the police get treated the way they were, it’s ridiculous.”
Yet, according to the magazine, Ellis did not “second-guess” his choice to go to Washington.
“There’s a lot of Trump supporters that are awesome people,” he said. “Like me.”
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