WASHINGTON — A side-by-side image of the U.S. Capitol from President Donald Trump's inauguration and from Wednesday when a violent mob of Trump's supporters rioted at the building showed a stark contrast.
The Reuters images showed the front of the capitol on Jan. 20, 2017. It was a bright, slightly overcast day. The newly refurbished Capitol exterior was adorned with American flags and red, white and blue banners and bunting. Hundreds of people were seated for the swearing-in of Trump with a military detail and band below the podium.
The other photo, from the same angle but closer, was from Wednesday's riot.
The skies were darkened by smoke. Trump supporters could be seen scattered across the campus. "Keep America Great" flags were draped over the walls.
The mob stormed the Capitol on Wednesday and forced lawmakers into hiding, in a stunning attempt to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House.
The nation’s elected representatives scrambled to crouch under desks and donned gas marks, while police futilely tried to barricade the building, one of the most jarring scenes ever to unfold in a seat of American political power. A woman was shot and killed inside the Capitol during the chaos, and Washington’s mayor instituted an evening curfew in an attempt to contain the violence.
The rioters were egged on by Trump, who has spent weeks falsely attacking the integrity of the election and had urged his supporters to descend on Washington Wednesday to protest Congress’ formal approval of Biden’s victory. Some Republican lawmakers were in the midst of raising objections to the results on his behalf when the proceedings were abruptly halted by the mob.