A Staten Island legislator who's a key backer of city police unions in Albany said shocking footage of a right-wing mob's confrontations with police officers at the U.S. Capitol Building during an attempt to stop the process that gave Joe Biden the presidency punctured President Trump's claims that his most-loyal followers staunchly supported cops.
"It was stunning," State Sen. Diane Savino said in a Feb. 11 phone interview of the videos shown in the U.S. Senate Chamber during the first two days of Mr. Trump's impeachment trial. "What we had already seen was stunning enough—the mob storming into the Capitol, the officer whose face was squeezed into the door—but the really scary one was to see the Capitol Police jammed into the hall trying to hold them off."
Called Cops 'Traitors'
The presentation by Democratic Members of the House of Representatives to the Senate also included previously unheard audio of the rioters both outside the Capitol and after they had forced their way inside. It included some of them cursing out officers and calling them "pigs," with one man shouting, "Get the f--- out of here, you traitors."
Once inside the building, one of the insurrectionists could be heard shouting at the police officers—who actually work for Congress—"We are listening to Trump—your boss!" His exclamation set off chants from the mob of "Treason! Treason!"
The ugliness of the crowd's behavior after Mr. Trump urged them, during a speech on the Ellipse near the White House, to go to the Capitol, saying that "if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore," was why Republican Senators who said the impeachment trial would frustrate attempts to unify the nation were mistaken, said Ms. Savino, a Democrat who represents one of the city's most-conservative districts.
"Saying we just need to move past this is really infuriating," she said. Noting that the new footage showed a gallows with a noose installed on the Capitol lawn and that the rioters were calling for the hanging of Mr. Trump's Vice President, Mike Pence, for not blocking certification of the Electoral College vote, and the shooting of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Ms. Savino added, "The fact that more people didn't die that day is what's really shocking."
5 Deaths, 2 Suicides
Five people died during the rampage, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick and a woman who was trampled in the chaos by her fellow intruders. Two police officers, one a member of the Capitol Police, the other an officer with the Washington, D.C. Metro force who responded to the scene, subsequently took their own lives.
The anti-police rhetoric from some of the rioters, Ms. Savino continued, showed that "the narrative of pretending all the time that the Trump supporters 'backed the Blue' is just nonsense. These are people who were loyal to just one person."
And that loyalty wasn't necessarily reciprocated, she said, given that Mr. Trump, after telling the crowd gathered for his speech that he would accompany them to the Capitol, instead returned to the White House and watched TV coverage of the violent invasion.
"These are people he wouldn't cross the street to spit on if they were on fire," Ms. Savino said. "He has contempt for people who would follow him into an insurrection. And they thought he would follow them."
'What Have They Gotten?'
Her district, which includes a slice of western Brooklyn as well as Staten Island, has a large contingent of voters who remain loyal to Mr. Trump, even after the attempt to sabotage a democratic election. Ms. Savino was mystified by the former President's continuing hold on blue-collar white voters.
"I don't understand it," she said. "I don't know what they think they've gotten out of his administration. Nothing really changed dramatically for the working class the past four years. Maybe it's his machismo or the feeling among white working-class men that they're losing their place in this society."
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