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As a mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday, Donald Trump was reportedly unconcerned about the destruction or insurrection taking place but instead how the violent extremists appeared “low-class”.
The president’s ardent loyalists breached security measures and clashed with police, injuring at least 14 people and killing one officer, in the wake of Mr Trump’s fiery speech filled with falsities about the 2020 election.
Mr Trump had called on the audience, which had gathered in DC from across America, to march to the Capitol building as Congress convened to certify the results of his electoral defeat to President-elect Joe Biden.
What followed was a violent and historic scene: QAnon conspiracy theorists dressed in furs, domestic terrorists waving confederate flags, and hundreds of men and women in Trump campaign gear ransacking lawmakers’ offices. Some took the Senate dais and echoed the president’s false claims of voter fraud.
Mr Trump was apparently turned off by the chaotic scene, although not due to the assault on the US government but according to New York Magazine, because his supporters looked “low-class”.
“He doesn’t like low class things,” an anonymous White House source told the magazine.
Other reports indicated the president’s disapproval of his supporters’ appearances while attacking the Capitol, rather than focusing on how to end the disorder.
The Washington Post cited sources who said Mr Trump was more upset about how the mob looked “low-class” than how it was disrupting the work of government. A close adviser to the president told the newspaper Mr Trump was “bemused” by the attacks.
Mr Trump was also reportedly furious that Vice President Mike Pence declined to intervene in the certification of the national vote. However the vice president serves in a mostly-symbolic role throughout the typically mundane procedures and could not have stepped in to override.
But that’s exactly what the president wanted him to do: In a tweet on the morning of the riots, Mr Trump wrote: “If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. He has the absolute right to do it.”
The vice president did not have the “absolute right” to override the will of the American people. Mr Trump went on to release a video during the Capitol mob attacks in which he continued to promote outright falsities surrounding the election. Twitter temporarily blocked the president’s account on Wednesday before issuing a permanent ban on Friday.
A wave of social media platforms have since suspended the president from posting for at least the next two weeks, with Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying the president would not be given back control of his account until an orderly transition of power could be conducted.
Several of those social media platforms cited specific threats that had been made for follow-up attacks, as well as the president’s encouragement of the mob that stormed the Capitol, for their blocks on his accounts.