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US Capitol riots 'almost entirely unprecedented,' UMKC professor says

Posted at 10:04 PM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-07 00:29:28-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The actions of President Donald Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday did not bubble up overnight, according to a University of Missouri-Kansas City political science professor.

“It seems like a lot of people believe the rhetoric that this election was a stolen election,” said Rebecca Best, who studies political violence. “These are problems that are going to take years to overcome in terms of faith in the inauguration system, in democracy, in the media and these are problems that have been largely created by the current administration.”

Best said the U.S. Capitol riot is “almost entirely unprecedented” in the U.S. The last time a similar event occurred in the country was in 1898 at a local event in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The actions of those in Washington, D.C., according to Best, were a “violent effort” to intimidate elected officials and stop the certification of Electoral College votes.

And, the past four years under Trump’s presidency have shown that “violent rhetoric leads to violent action,” according to Best.

“What we need right now is a very firm, very clear disavowal of that violence and that violent rhetoric that brought it about,” Best said.

However, she said that a lot of people believe their actions are “some how good for the country” because of what people they follow have said.

“This is not something that happened overnight,” Best said. “That is something, that result of populous appeal, that suggests there’s this true American core and that there is a fake America as well.

“When we talk about it as if the real Americans are the Trump supporters and that’s what we’ve seen, that rhetoric. Well that suggests that there are fake Americans and if you’re not a Trump supporter, you’re one of these fake Americans. And that begins to dehumanize the other side, the other political side and that is very dangerous.”