Supporters of President Donald Trump – including members of the hate militant group Proud Boys – fought with counter-demonstrators in Washington, DC on Saturday evening after the Million MAGA March rally that drew thousands of people in the country's capital throughout the day.
During the day, the rally was largely peaceful, with minor clashes between demonstrators and counter-protesters. By the evening, however, the violence is said to have increased, resulting in at least one hospital stay.
As Fabiola Cineas from Vox has explained, the Proud Boys are known for inciting violence, and reports from the scene record provocations from demonstrators and counter-protesters at various points. Video footage shows a number of street brawls in different parts of the city, including some fights where viewers asked for a stronger police reaction.
During one such hand-to-hand combat near the White House, Trump supporters used batons to fight a group of counter-protesters in a brawl that resulted in a man being hospitalized after being stabbed in the back. Separately, an independent journalist said she believed she was stabbed in the ear by a member of the Proud Boys. Four police officers were injured.
DC law enforcement arrested at least 20 people on a variety of charges, including assault and firearms violations.
The day tour and nightly skirmishes reflect a tightening social movement fueled by Trump's disinformation efforts and the far-fetched, ramshackle legal campaign to contest President-elect Joe Biden's election victory by a wide margin of electoral college votes, like Katelyn Burns for Vox stated:
The Million MAGA March is an offshoot of a larger nationwide “Stop the Steal” protest movement that falsely claims Democrats conspired to steal the Republicans' elections. The president's supporters claim that this theft was carried out in various ways the Dominion voting machines – – that are electronic and have been used in many states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, among others – – Change of votes in key states to a mix of false or weak claims that election observers in swing state cities will be denied access to votes.
All of these claims have been disproved by evidence – and in some cases by judges – but that hasn't stopped the President and his supporters from continuing to insist that he did indeed win the election.
The fact that this movement was based on false information and lies did not prevent it from gaining strength. And it was fueled by Trump himself – for example The president drove past the march Saturday morning and waved to supporters on Pennsylvania Avenue on the way to Trump National Golf Club in Virginia.
Trump could have given his supporters a rousing speech at the Million MAGA March, but instead chose to drive through them to play golf. pic.twitter.com/HHH8wQVsyf
– Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 14, 2020
And the president encouraged Stop the Steal supporters online too. Early on Sunday morning after the chaos, Trump posted a tweet first admitting that Biden had won the election – and then attributing his loss to false conspiracy theories about rigged elections and media abuse.
1. "He won" is correct, but:
2. Trump's own government has debunked the idea that the election was rigged
3. Trump's own lawyers have admitted that there were observers
4. Trump's own lawyers have provided no evidence of fraud
5. The media did not remain silent on these issues
Otherwise great tweet https://t.co/fGedrH6uhB
– Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 15, 2020
Trump's tweet summed up the futility of Saturday's march well – it was full of debunked conspiracy theories his supporters still feel indebted to, while revealing that their reason for being on the streets contradicts the reality that the president is the has lost competition.
This reality is becoming increasingly difficult to deny even for Trump, as his Quixotic efforts to challenge election results with legal challenges have suffered several major blows in the past few days. Many lawsuits have been denied or abandoned in key states, and prominent law firms have withdrawn support for the president.
Trump's legal machine is falling apart and cannot change the bottom line
On Friday, Trump's legal efforts to overturn the election results suffered setbacks in three battlefield states, all of which were declared Biden.
In Michigan, a state judge denied a Republican motion to stop confirming the vote in Wayne County – where Detroit is located – as "unwieldy," according to the New York Times. The GOP had also alleged a number of inappropriate behaviors at polling stations, dismissing the judge as unspecific in some cases and "full of speculation and guesswork" in others.
In Arizona, the Trump campaign opened a lawsuit alleging that ballot papers marked with felt-tip pens for Trump were wrongly thrown away – inspired by a false rumor – after it was determined that the number of votes was at stake standing votes was too few to be meaningful. according to the Times.
In Pennsylvania, a judge denied six separate efforts by the Trump campaign to block the counting of nearly 9,000 postal ballot papers in two counties. The campaign asked for these ballots to be discounted because, according to the Washington Post, they were missing some requested information, such as addresses or dates on envelopes. Even if the ballots had been thrown away, the outcome in the state would have been the same: Biden won Pennsylvania with more than 60,000 votes.
These defects and losses are just some of the most recent setbacks in Trump's efforts to reverse election results in court. The Trump campaign and its allies have filed a dizzying array of lawsuits – so many that Politico says it cannot accurately count how many have been filed. What is clear, however, is that Trump has a record loss: the campaign only won one case and lost 15.
And that victory – a decision that mail-in voters from Pennsylvania who did not produce identification on or before November 9, have their ballots discarded – does not affect the current number of votes. The small number of ballots involved has not yet been counted.
Despite these losses and the fact that Biden has begun transitioning into the presidency, Trump has continued to falsely claim that the elections are not over – resulting in supporters taking to the streets on his behalf. The president may never admit, but states will certify their results in early December, making legal challenges and false claims more difficult.
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