There is a presumption that the supporters of President Donald Trump who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday were extremists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, conspiracy theorists and others in the far-right. But what one historian said he witnessed watching the riot unfold was "normal" Americans waging a civil war.
Taking to Twitter on Sunday, Terry Bouton said that he and his wife went to the event, not to participate but to observe. Among the things he saw, he called "country club Republicans" and "evangelicals in Jesus caps," not "QAnon kooks" who were cheering on the violence.
While there were undoubtedly extremists there with QAnon signs and shirts, Bouton argued that these aren't merely fringe members of the Republican Party, he explained, they were the Republican Party.
"We eavesdropped on conversations for hours and no one expressed the slightest concern about the large number of white supremacists and para-military spewing violent rhetoric," said Bouton. "Even the man in the 'Camp Auschwitz' sweatshirt wasn't beyond the pale. They were all 'patriots.'"
He noted that he was certain there were Republicans there horrified by what was happening, and some of those have spoken out, but they were clearly the exception. Trump told the crowd he would march with them to the Capitol, and the groups set out to walk from the Trump speech site to the building.
"I'm sure there were Republicans there who were horrified by what was happening. But the most common emotions we witnessed by nearly everyone were jubilation at the take over and anger at Democrats, Mike Pence, non-Trump supporting Republicans, and the Capitol Police," wrote Bouton.
Bouton's first book removed the idolization of Founding Fathers to show their efforts to quash democracy after the Revolutionary War.
Thus far 20 of the people identified at the Capitol have been arrested on federal charges. TMZ created a list of over 100 photos of people spotted at the U.S. Capitol during the insurrection.