On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence began to oversee the long-awaited joint session of Congress that would nationally certify the 2020 election results, which saw President-elect Joe Biden defeat outgoing President Donald Trump by 32 electoral votes.
Fueled by Trump's lies that widespread election fraud coordinated by Democrats tipped the election to Biden, a faction of Trump's supporters believed that Pence would wield power he doesn't actually have in order to overturn the election results.
As the proceedings began, Trump addressed attendees of a "Save America" rally where he continued to repeat his election conspiracy lies.
He told the crowd:
"We're never going to take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong."
Though he alluded to peaceful protests, Trump repeatedly told attendees to "fight" and encouraged them to walk to the Capitol building to make their position known to lawmakers.
They listened, and as the House and Senate separately debated the validity of Arizona's electoral votes, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, throwing the day's proceedings into chaos and forcing Pence to evacuate.
Journalists and lawmakers inside the building were instructed to take refuge in Capitol offices or behind seats and tables in the gallery.
Tear gas has been deployed inside the U.S. Capitol.
As the attempted coup raged on, the President fired off a tweet urging his supporters to "Stay peaceful!"
Trump's tweet was seen as too little, too late, with swathes of people pointing to his months-long smear campaign of election integrity as the impetus of the violence.
Trump has repeatedly told militias like the Proud Boys to "stand by" and has spent the last few weeks encouraging his supporters to descend upon D.C. during the joint session.
His critics are calling for much more than a tweet.
Government buildings in D.C. are on lockdown.
UPDATE 1/6/2021, 4:29 PM:
The President has since issued another tweet calling for peace and a video urging his supporters to "go home" while continuing to lie that the election was stolen.
Trump told his supporters that he loves them and that they're "special."