ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The US Capitol was overrun Wednesday by supporters of President Donald Trump, trying to disrupt the electoral college certification of President-Elect Joe Biden. If you think the scenes from D.C. were a protest, political science professor Timothy Kneeland of Nazareth College says think again.
“What we’re seeing tonight is not a protest,” Kneeland said, “because it’s gone from speech to physical acts to violence to intimidation, and vandalizing federal property.”
Kneeland says many laws were broken, and it shouldn’t be hard to track down the disrupters.
“There are cameras,” he said. “There are selfies. We know who these people are.”
Kneeland says the group, at one time estimated to be as large as 150,000, seemed to be motivated by unfounded claims of election fraud. The outcome, predictable.
“I’m not surprised to see this, because we have seen violence at Trump rallies before,” he said.
Kneeland feels the group was misguided and didn’t have a full understanding of the Constitution.
“Congress really had no power to overturn the election,” Kneeland said, “unless there’s a dispute from the states.”
During the storming of the Capitol, President-Elect Biden challenged President Trump to take to the airwaves and condemn the chaos. Trump eventually did post a video response on Twitter — which led to his account being locked for 12 hours. In the video Trump said to his supporters, “I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us,” adding “But you have to go home now. We have to have peace.”
Despite it all, counting and certification of the electoral college votes continued after the chaos calmed.
“The people’s business will be conducted and we will not be intimidated by a group of people who have somehow taken the law into their own hands,” says Kneeland.