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(Video: Fox News)
Chad Pergram, a congressional correspondent for Fox News out of D.C, penned an article describing his experiences at the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, and in which he raises what he believes are two key questions:
“Why did the riot happen on January 6 of all days?”
“Why did the riot go on for so long?”
Pergram said he was on the air for more than fifteen hours on that day exactly one year ago. He wrote that he and other colleagues expected Republican lawmakers to contest up to six states in the Electoral College certification, something not unprecedented as it has happened a number of times after a presidential election.
For instance, Democrats challenged the certification of electoral votes for former-President George W. Bush in both 2001 and 2005, the latter move prompting a brief debate in the House and Senate over electors from Ohio. Incidentally, not a single elector challenged Barack Obama’s reelection in 2013.
In terms of Pergram’s first question, the date of Jan. 6 is significant because it is one of only two times that the House and Senate convene in a Joint Session of Congress, the other being the State of the Union address.
The Capitol building is often the site of demonstrations, probably innumerable and thus not always a national news story. Security forces there expect protests and they reportedly expected them on Jan. 6, as well. However, multiple sources told Fox News in the days preceding the certification that their greatest security concern was a “lone wolf.” Their long-standing assessment was also that foreign terrorists, an airplane or a bomb were the greatest danger to the Capitol.
As such, Pergram wrote, “The Capitol Police were outmanned, out planned, and out-frenzied by the mob that day. It is hard to defend an institution as important as the United States Capitol on a day as crucial as certifying the Electoral College when you face a deficit in all three categories.”
While it was delayed, the certification of President Joe Biden did indeed take place.
Pergram’s second question of why it took so long to quash the unrest is but an untold (or possibly hidden) tale.
With its own police force, the Capitol is believed to be impenetrable at certain levels. The citadel of American democracy incarnate. But, Pergram says there weren’t nearly enough police to repel the humanity that forced its way into the building, though the only fatal violence was incurred by Ashli Babbitt, the unarmed woman and Air Force veteran who was shot and killed by Capitol Police Officer Michael Byrd.
Pergram said that security officials and lawmakers on both sides believe that a quicker response from then-President Donald Trump would have kept the protest from devolving into chaos.
Discrepancies abound as to when the National Guard was ordered to the Capitol.
“Current House Sergeant at Arms William Walker was in charge of the Washington, D.C., National Guard on 1/6. Walker said he expected to get the green light from the Pentagon to thwart the riot early in the afternoon. The Guard never got the orders to swing into action for three hours. An Army report disputed that it took too long to respond,” Pergram wrote.
Former Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller told a House panel last year that if troops went to the Capitol, there were “fears that the President would invoke the Insurrection Act to politicize the military in an anti-democratic manner.”
Meaning, in other words, that Miller believed Trump would militarize the situation to his advantage, declaring with the force of the military behind him that he was indeed the winner.
Miller told the committee that there was “heightened commentary in the media about the possibility of a military coup or that advisors to the President were advocating the declaration of martial law.”
But a coup never happened.
Still, the questions Pergram raises have yet to be answered and will likely go the way of a Warren Commission-style report, mostly filled with blacked-out paragraphs.
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