Washington, D.C. erupted into chaos Wednesday as a group stormed the U.S. Capitol building. Unnerved by the melee, some in government have vowed not to return.
Several White House aides have resigned following the attack perpetrated by rogue Trump supporters at the Capitol building, The Hill reported. Fearing for their safety, many more may follow suit, a White House official told the outlet.
Melania Trump’s chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham was the first to tender her resignation following the riot that left several officers injured and Ashli Babbitt, a navy veteran and Trump supporter, dead. Deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews and social secretary Rickie Niceta also tendered their resignations not long after.
Matthews said she was “honored to serve in the Trump administration and proud of the policies we enacted” in a statement. However, she added that she was “deeply disturbed” by what transpired and would be resigning immediately. “Our nation needs a peaceful transfer of power.”
At least two other officials from the White House Security Council stepped down, including Matthew Pottinger, a deputy national security adviser who received his post in part due to national security advisor Robert O’Brien. Recently, O’Brien publicly disagreed with Trump’s attempts to goad Vice President Mike Pence into rejecting electoral votes in key states, coming to his defense and contradicting the president.
2/2 Asking Matt Pottinger to serve as my deputy was my first act as NSA and it turned out to be one of my best decisions. As he heads West to rejoin his family in beautiful Utah, Matt does so with my appreciation for a job well done and with my enduring friendship.
— Robert C. O’Brien (@robertcobrien) January 7, 2021
Wednesday’s joint session of Congress was simply meant as a rubber-stamp event where Pence would formally certify the Electoral College votes. Instead, Trump continued to advance the narrative that the vice president could overturn the election and hand the presidency back to him. Pence had no such power, but protestors showed up en masse to support the president.
Trump arguably added fuel to the inferno already sparked off by suspicions of voter fraud and shady election night incidents, but Wednesday’s riots were not his fault any more than Democratic politicians were directly to blame for the months of violence from Black Lives Matter. Nevertheless, Trump’s critics laid the blame on him and — predictably — on their trusty standby white supremacy..
The violence at the Capitol was one of the worst events in recent history and will have ripple effects that Americans can’t yet fathom. For now, there remains at least one tragic death and multiple officials who have resigned their posts, with an untold number likely to follow. Wednesday was indeed a dark day for our nation.