’An emotional overload:’ Tampa Bay reacts to insurrection at the Capitol

Readers described disappointment, anger and disbelief following the pro-Trump riot in D.C. Wednesday.
Rioters supporting U.S. President Donald Trump break into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump.
Rioters supporting U.S. President Donald Trump break into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. [ WIN MCNAMEE | Getty Images North America ]
Published Jan. 7, 2021

A violent mob supporting U.S. President Donald Trump broke into the U.S. Capitol Wednesday. They smashed glass and broke through barriers before breaching the Senate chamber. Many Floridians watched from home in horror, scrolling through a bottomless stream of tweets and staring at the looping footage on TV.

A day after the insurrection, the Tampa Bay Times asked readers to share their thoughts. The following responses have been edited for length and clarity:

“I am a 66-year-old white middle class recently retired grandmother. As far back as I can remember, I have always gotten choked up and teary eyed when I hear the National Anthem at the few NFL games, the many MLB games, the very many swim meets and all the sporting events I’ve gone to over the past almost 60 years. Watching the domestic terrorism, the insurrection, the attempted coup yesterday at the Capitol of the U.S. on TV, I cried. My heart hurt.

I never ever in my wildest imagination thought I’d see such a thing in this country. Seeing that picture of that disgusting despicable symbol of hate and racism and treason, that Confederate flag in OUR Capitol building, was heartbreaking. I cried off and on all day. This 5′ fluffy grandmother wanted to reach through the TV and slap every face of every insurrectionist, every domestic terrorist I saw. I was sad, disappointed, hurt, heartbroken at what I saw yesterday but also VERY VERY VERY ANGRY. I just want it to be January 20th at 12:01.

— Melissa L. Townsend Bried, Hudson

“I think what happened yesterday was a sad moment for our country. Between COVID and the sinking of our politics people are restless and unhappy and its showing itself with these sorts of acts of chaos. We also got told all summer by the media and many of our politicians that rioting and acts of violence are okay and this is what happens when you as a country start to make those things acceptable.

Regarding processing the news, I honestly have turned it off. It’s too much and too heavy to process. I see articles online and every now and then switch the TV over to the news, but if you watch it for long spurts it’ll drive you insane.” — Elliott Durian, Tampa

“What happened yesterday was despicable. On top of that, it is mind-blowing that Republicans are trying to compare the event to when the Black Panthers stormed the Capitol building fighting for their RIGHTS. Yesterday’s national embarrassment and insurrection attempt stoked by Donald Trump was not a fight for rights, it was an attempt to destroy democracy. Plain and Simple. Also, the claims that Antifa was a part of the insurrection are completely insane. Why on Earth would Democrats have any reason to storm the Capitol building while having control of the House, Senate, and the White House? It’s insane logic.

I’ve just been talking about everything with my wife. She’s a former Republican who voted for Trump in 2016 and over the years, she has stated her regret for that vote. Especially after yesterday. I think we’re both still in that ‘holy sh*t...that happened’ phase. Her and I both think he should be impeached again or the 25th amendment should be invoked.” —Mathew Fortin, Riverview

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“I feel as though all of us, citizens, local, state, federal appointees and elected officials, as well as the media, played a part in what transpired yesterday. We need to evaluate our role in the escalation of the rhetoric, because it’s the right thing to do. Let’s do that more.

The willingness to blame others, and avoid the consequences of your beliefs, is denial. That’s Trumpism.” — Mitch Fergenbaum, Pinellas Park

“I feel very much like I did on 9/11. I’m angry, sad, frustrated, and depressed all at once. It’s an emotional overload. At least then we came together as a country, but this seems to have done nothing to wake people up to the dangers we face as a country.

I’m trying to get as much information as I can about the event yesterday, also trying to do some mindless things to decompress like cleaning and walking the dogs. Like so many of these events getting the answers we need will take time, but I am struggling to accept the fact we don’t have better answers and information. I find it troubling that while the DC mayor has held two press conferences already, no one from the Capital PD or DOJ has said anything. That’s very unusual and troubling.” Brian Usher, Largo

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Tampa Bay Times U.S. Capitol coverage

REACTING TO RESPONSE : Did race play a role in police treatment of the U.S. Capitol mob?

CALL TO ACTION: Charlie Crist: Remove Donald Trump from office by invoking 25th Amendment

25TH AMENDMENT: When can it be used against a president?

EDITORIAL: The ugly spectacle perfectly captured the Trump-era GOP.

CLASSROOM TOPICS: Tampa Bay teachers, parents brace for tough conversations after U.S. Capitol siege

POLITIFACT FACT-CHECKS THE SIEGE: Here’s a look at the day’s short session, and the chaos that interrupted it.

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