A note from Editor Steve Hull: Some people on social media criticized this story and some suggested we take it down. Scores of Trump supporters who were at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday were staying in Bethesda. I wrote the story and believe it was important to find out what motivated the people, why they thought it was OK to do what they did, and why they believe what they do, when what they believe has been disproven by facts. I agree that the original version of the story lacked some necessary context, which has been added. We invite your feedback on the story in the comments section below or by contacting Managing Editor Andrew Schotz at email@example.com.
To get to Washington, D.C., to support President Donald Trump, Brent and Amber drove 13 hours from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Rob from the Dallas area made it in 22 hours, stopping only to get gas and to take a brief nap in his car.
A 63-year-old woman drove 25 hours over three days from Wyoming
Brent, Amber, Rob and the woman — all of whom spoke on the condition that their full name not be used — were among eight Trump supporters who Bethesda Beat spoke to Wednesday evening. They had just emerged from the Bethesda Metro stop after returning from the protests and siege at the U.S. Capitol.
They came great distances as part of a movement that still thinks Donald Trump deserves a second term as president, even though he lost the election to Joe Biden and has spread lies about why he should have won.
Two months after the election, Trump and his followers continue to pin their hopes on conspiracy theories and so-called “evidence” of fraud that courts and state election officials have debunked dozens of times.
Yet, as Trump loyalists, thousands of them descended on D.C. to support him, ignoring established facts and realities. What started as a rally on Wednesday turned violent when an angry mob stormed the U.S. Capitol while a ratification process of the election results was underway, forcing hundreds of members of Congress to evacuate and seek safe shelter.
Some of the people who attended a daytime rally in D.C. on Wednesday ended up in Bethesda later in the evening, staying in local hotels.
Most of the Trump supporters who spoke to Bethesda Beat after taking the Metro to Bethesda agreed that the movement went too far with the Capitol siege. One, however, said she was part of the group that entered the building. All peddled conspiracy theories and seemed undeterred by the facts.
Brent, clutching a “Trump — Four More Years” flag, said he and his wife, Amber, came to D.C. from Michigan “to support what’s right because what’s going on in the election is not close to what I believe actually happened.”
He added: “If we don’t stand up for it now, we won’t have a country left in four more years. Everyone says, wait four more years and let him [Trump] run again. It doesn’t work that way.”
Brent, a farmer, said he disagreed with the Trump supporters who broke into the Capitol. “We were there to make a point, but we didn’t have to carry it that far,” he said.
Rob, who lives in the Dallas area, said he came to D.C. “because the future of our country is at stake.” He said Trump “clearly won the election and clearly the Marxists have decided to try to take it away.”
Rob said he believes Trump will remain president, even after Congress reconvenes to affirm the Electoral College’s decision in favor of Biden.
“I believe Trump is going to come through with the Insurrection Act or an executive order that was implemented in 2018 that says in the event of foreign interference, he can implement certain measures,” Rob said. “China is very much involved. I believe Biden is very much in the back pocket of the Chinese government — and many other senators and congressman, as well.”
Rob said Trump supporters had “no right” to storm into the Capitol.
“We are not there to be violent or to be uncivil,” he said. “… I do believe in civil peaceful protesting of what’s going on — at least, at this point. But I do not believe in going in there and doing what they did. I think that was stupid.”
The woman from Wyoming said she went inside the Capitol three times and was pepper sprayed twice.
When asked if she was afraid when she was confronted by police, she said, “Hell, no. You know what I am afraid of? Socialism.”
“I’m 63, so I’ve seen these elections come and go,” said the woman, who was staying at the Bethesda Hyatt. “The thing that bothers me about this election, and Trump told us way before, it’s not going to be legitimate.
“We all knew it wouldn’t be legit. Legit I can handle. If Biden wins, he wins, that’s cool. But you can’t stay in a basement and win,” she said, referring to Biden staying at home and making only online appearances while COVID-19 was rapidly spreading.
“I think the thing that really got me was the four years of the harassment that my president wasn’t legit and all of a sudden, I have a basement president that’s legit.”
A Trump supporter from Indiana who also spoke on the condition that his name not be used disagreed with others who were interviewed, saying he thought people had the right to go into the Capitol.
“The Capitol building belongs to the people, not the government,” he said. “And maybe this is what it takes to prove our point, to show our point. If I had gotten there sooner, I would have tried to get in, too.
“I’m fed up with it. I’ve had enough. I didn’t drive all the way here from Indiana just to be told to go home.
“I don’t believe in violence. We didn’t bring any offensive weapons, but we want to show our point and prove our point, if necessary.”
“We didn’t burn any buildings down, start any fires, loot anything,” he said. “We didn’t do any of that stuff.”