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The woman who publicly identified her mother as one of the participants of a clash between two groups in Washington DC a day ahead of the Capitol Hill riots, said she had gone through “a little guilt” but had no regret because what “they did was horrific.”
In a now-viral video, Theresa Duke, mother of Helena Duke, could be seen getting punched by a security guard outside the Capitol, where supporters of Donald Trump clashed with a counter-protest group on the day prior to the insurrection.
On 7 January, Helena shared the video of her mother, with the caption, “hi mom remember the time you told me I shouldn’t go to BLM protests bc they could get violent...this you?”
Providing more context on why she outed her mother, Helena said, “I think it was really liberating what I did because my mom has been really mentally abusive my whole life. And um, this was like going public, how she has treated me, so," she said. "I don’t think, I have any regrets,” she concluded.
Since then, Theresa has lost her job as UMass Memorial in Massachusetts, which said that her termination was linked to her involvement in “violent events at the nation’s capitol.”
Appearing on TMZ, Helena said that she had no idea that her mother had gone to the Capitol and would have completely been in the dark about it if it were not for the viral video. “She actually told me that she was going to get a medical procedure done with my aunt,” she said. Helena believes her mother did not disclose her plans to her because “she knew what she was doing was wrong maybe.”
hi mom remember the time you told me I shouldn’t go to BLM protests bc they could get violent...this you? https://t.co/9ZkbAq0ehO
— Helena Duke (@duke_helena) January 7, 2021
She also said that her mother was radicalised by Mr Trump about a year into his presidency.
The Boston Herald reported that Ms Duke was among a crowd of “like-minded supporters of Mr Trump" at Washington DC on 5 January, “looking for a place to eat” when a pro-Trump group clashed with a “counter-protest” group around the Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House.
According to the report, Duke allegedly saw a woman, who was later identified as law enforcement officer Ashanti Smith, filming the crowd. She reached for the phone and that is when Smith allegedly punched her in the face. It led to Ms Duke’s sister, Anne Lorenz, punching Smith twice, the Boston Herald reported, quoting a police report.
Helena ventured to offer TMZ an explanation behind her mother’s behaviour.
“She has been a Democrat her whole life up until the Trump presidency where after about the first year of his presidency, she returned from a Democrat to a radically right person and it was very unsettling and the things that she would say, I was taken back by," said Helena.
"I was like, ‘what are you talking about’ because she did come up with a lot of conspiracy theories. I’d present her with educated point and facts that I have studied or researched because I would want to be as unbiased as possible. And she would just be like, ‘nope, that’s not right.' And it was just all unsettling because it would happen really quickly,” she said.