“Fight like hell”: with those words, on this day two years ago, Donald Trump dispatched thousands of his supporters to storm the Capitol in service of the soon-to-be-former president’s lie that his re-election defeat had been rigged.
Rioters attacked police officers, trashed the building and hunted lawmakers while calling for their deaths. A shirtless QAnon conspiracy theorist in a horned headdress mounted the Senate dais and demanded vice-president Mike Pence come out of hiding. Insurrectionists boasted in real time about their feats on social media. After all, they claimed, the president sanctioned their actions.
Trump watched the carnage on television, doing nothing to stop it for three hours. By nightfall, the rebellion was over. But the reckoning was only beginning.
Hundreds were subsequently arrested, Trump was impeached (and acquitted) and a congressional investigation revealed a concerted effort by the ex-president to overturn the election result by any means possible in the weeks leading up to the riot.
Even now, much remains unresolved. Prosecutors are still trying to decide whether to charge Trump criminally, and an army of his loyal election deniers threatens to overturn future votes.