GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine in a new op-ed said she initially thought the Capitol siege was the work of the Iranians.
"My first thought was that the Iranians had followed through on their threat to strike the Capitol," Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote.
Though it's true tensions between the US and Iran have been heightened in recent weeks, it was no secret that pro-Trump extremist groups were planning to come to the Capitol and potentially engage in violence on January 6.
The mob that stormed that Capitol was mostly white and visibly pro-Trump.
Trump had also urged his supporters to come to the nation's capital on January 6, advertising a "wild" protest to take place that day.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a new op-ed said she initially thought "the Iranians" were attacking when a mostly white, pro-Trump mob descended upon the Capitol on January 6.
"My first thought was that the Iranians had followed through on their threat to strike the Capitol, but a police officer took over the podium and explained that violent demonstrators had breached the entire perimeter of the Capitol and were inside," Collins wrote in the Bangor Daily News.
The mob that stormed the Capitol wore "Make America Great Again" hats or carried Trump flags to exhibit their support for the president. The insurrection was also filled with members or sympathizers of extremist groups, who had made their plans for unrest at the Capitol quite clear online in the weeks and days leading up to the riot.
Trump had also announced that he would deliver a speech to thousands of supporters outside of the White House on January 6, so it was no secret that a large group of people angry about the outcome of the election would be in and around Capitol Hill that day. Trump had advertised a "wild" protest to occur on January 6. The president in his speech last Wednesday encouraged supporters to march to the Capitol building just before the riot, which ultimately resulted in five deaths.
While it's true that there's been heightened concerns about the potential for a clash between the US and Iran in recent weeks, which was tied to the anniversary of Qassem Soleimani's death, there were consistent warning signs about the potential for violence in Washington, DC, on January 6.
"Everyone who was a law enforcement officer or a reporter knew exactly what these hate groups were planning," Washington, DC, Attorney General Karl A. Racine told MSNBC on Friday. "They were planning to descend on Washington, DC, ground center was the Capitol, and they were planning to charge and, as Rudy Giuliani indicated, to do combat justice at the Capitol."
Along these lines, Collins was mocked and derided online for initially believing the riot could've been the work of Iran.
—Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) January 11, 2021
—Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) January 11, 2021
—Hamza Shaban (@hshaban) January 11, 2021
Collins has often been criticized for publicly criticizing Trump but backing the president during crucial votes. This was particularly true after Collins lambasted Trump over his dealings with Ukraine but voted to acquit him during the president's impeachment trial last February.
The Maine Republican was re-elected to the Senate in November.
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