The nation continues to reel from the unprecedented siege of the United States Capitol last week by pro-Trump extremists who believed the Republican lie that Democrats stole the 2020 presidential election through widespread election fraud, delivering a false victory to President-elect Joe Biden.
The rioters, some of whom were equipped with flex cuffs and pepper spray, targeted lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence. The insurrectionists regarded Pence as a traitor for not throwing out electoral votes for Biden during the day's joint congressional session to certify the President-elect's victory. They even called for Pence's hanging and erected a gallows outside the Capitol.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump for inciting the insurrection—which left at least five people dead—through his remarks at a rally of supporters just before the riot and through his months-long smear campaign against the integrity of U.S. elections.
It was a historic impeachment not just because Trump is the first U.S. President to be impeached more than once, but because 10 House Republicans voted in favor, making it the most bipartisan impeachment in American history.
Given the violence on display from pro-Trump rioters last week, security measures are heightening around D.C. ahead of Biden's inauguration next week. Officials have urged Americans not to travel to D.C. for the inauguration and fences have been erected around a number of federal buildings. There are currently more U.S. troops in the nation's capital than in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
One of the Republicans to vote in favor of impeachment—Congressman Peter Meijer of Michigan—elaborated to MSNBC's Hallie Jackson about the violent threats from Trump supporters since his vote.
Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) said that he is buying body armor to protect himself and his family after voting to impeac… https://t.co/qkdRiDj0Sd— Sarah Reese Jones (@Sarah Reese Jones) 1610659273.0
Meijer made it clear that his resolve wouldn't weaken in the face of death threats before saying:
"I have colleagues who are now traveling with armed escorts out of the fear for their safety. Many of us are altering our routines, working to get body armor, which is a reimbursable purchase that we can make. It's sad that we have to get to that point."
Jackson asked if Meijer was making those adjustments, to which he responded:
"In this unprecedented environment, with this unprecedented degree of fear, of divisiveness, hatred, we have to account for every scenario."
Lawmakers were recently briefed on potential threats planned for the Inauguration in a phone call one House Democrat described as "chilling" and "horrifying."
People agreed that Trump's inciting rhetoric led to the dystopian atmosphere in the nation's capital.
Anyone still think that Trump isn't an authoritarian? Rep. Meijer is not part of the opposition but someone guilty… https://t.co/TH1uOVee7h— Ruth Ben-Ghiat (@Ruth Ben-Ghiat) 1610639466.0
Trump let this white supremacy and violence out of Pandora box. I hope someone has some idea how to close it. https://t.co/vpL6ZalnNv— Molly Jong-Fast🏡 (@Molly Jong-Fast🏡) 1610638524.0
The republican party has radicalized domestic terrorists by lying about the election for two months and telling Big… https://t.co/T8TGAR9S8q— Bill Pascrell, Jr. (@Bill Pascrell, Jr.) 1610639173.0
I still find it so hard to believe that this is happening in America https://t.co/SToRBSTluc— Bill Reno (@Bill Reno) 1610649984.0
Terrifying and heartbreaking reality. https://t.co/oZUpyg7Sn5— Miriam Linderman 🇨🇦 (@Miriam Linderman 🇨🇦) 1610639744.0
Another indicator of how things have spiraled out of control. 😢😬. This is the danger of misinformation and people… https://t.co/QN5e3zBuTM— John Downs (@John Downs) 1610655821.0
As pro-Trump lawmakers urge the country to "move on" from accountability measures in the name of "unity" and "healing," people pointed to the violent threats faced by Trump's critics in Congress.
So is this “unity” or “healing?" https://t.co/k4UTwR8Wb6— Renée Graham 🏳️🌈 (@Renée Graham 🏳️🌈) 1610656851.0
“We want healing." https://t.co/hxzxH93iD2— Young Daddy (@Young Daddy) 1610639000.0
Peace and unity 🙄 https://t.co/gyZ5VWcZvb— Trevor Wheeler (@Trevor Wheeler) 1610641414.0
President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be inaugurated on January 20th in a largely virtual ceremony.