WASHINGTON (WNCN) — Back in June, President Donald Trump threatened protesters who toppled statues with arrest and lengthy prison sentences after a night of protests near the White House.
“I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent…..” Trump tweeted .
In July, the president followed up those thoughts in a tweet, calling out protesters who demonstrated against racial injustice as federal forces were deployed to Portland and threatening a minimum of 10 years in prison.
“Anarchists, Agitators or Protestors who vandalize or damage our Federal Courthouse in Portland, or any Federal Buildings in any of our Cities or States, will be prosecuted under our recently re-enacted Statues & Monuments Act. MINIMUM TEN YEARS IN PRISON. Don’t do it! @DHSgov,” he tweeted.
Amid the violence at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday as Congress convened to certify the Electoral College vote, the president’s tweet resurfaced, in sort of a full circle fashion.
Users on Twitter began retweeting and commenting on the July 27, 2020, remarks, many waiting to see if the president will stand by his comments in the form of prosecution and prison time for those who protested and barged into the Capitol. The tweet has since gained thousands of additional comments, retweets, and shares.
The U.S. Capitol locked ended up on lockdown with lawmakers inside as violent clashes broke out between supporters of President Donald Trump and police.
An announcement was played inside the Capitol as lawmakers were meeting and expected to vote to affirm Joe Biden’s victory. Due to an “external security threat,” no one could enter or exit the Capitol complex, the recording said. Vice President Mike Pence has been evacuated safely.
Protesters tore down metal barricades at the bottom of the Capitol’s steps and were met by officers in riot gear. Some tried to push past the officers who held shields and officers could be seen firing pepper spray into the crowd to keep them back. Some in the crowd were shouting “traitors” as officers tried to keep them back.
Videos posted online showed protesters fighting with Capitol Police officers as police fired pepper spray to keep them back.
President-elect Joe Biden later addressed the nation as chaos descended upon Washington.
Immediately after Biden’s comments, President Donald Trump tweeted out a video where he said the election was stolen from him but he called for peace.
In addressing those on Capitol Hill, Trump said “we love you, you are very special.”
“It’s not a protest, it’s insurrection,” Biden said during his 8-minute speech.
Biden went on to say that what is happening at the Capitol “do not represent who we are.”
He said those in the Capitol are “extremists.”
“This is not dissent, it’s disorder. It borders on sedition, and it must end. Now,” Biden said.
Biden’s condemnation came after violent protesters breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, forcing a delay in the constitutional process to affirm the president-elect’s victory in the November election.
Biden addressed the violent protests as authorities struggled to take control of a chaotic situation at the Capitol that led to the evacuation of lawmakers.