U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley called Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol a “clear act of domestic terrorism.”
Some security experts say they aren’t surprised by the violence.
“What we have been observing for months now, had it been any other country, would have set off many red flags,” said University of Chicago political science professor Robert Pape, director of the Chicago Project on Security and Threats.
Tom Mockaitis, a security and terrorism specialist and a professor of history at DePaul University, agreed.
“I was not surprised by the violence,” Mockaitis said. “I was surprised and appalled by how poorly prepared to defend the United States Capitol the security apparatus was.”
He said there was a clear difference between the response to Black Lives Matter protests over the summer, and to Wednesday’s unrest.
“Here, where it’s a White mob, and I agree, domestic terrorists. The police were not as forceful and there were not enough there,” Mockaitis said. “There was not enough back up, they were not at all prepared and I don’t know whether that’s either incompetence or complicity.”
The control of the National Guard in Washington, D.C., particularly who has it, is one of the issues in question, Pape said.
“In Washington, this is unique, where in the president of the United States, President Trump in this case, is in control of the National Guard, not another governor. Ultimately, that would mean he’s got the authority to make the call on deployment,” Pape said.
Pape and Mockaitis agreed that this is not likely to be a one-off event. Pape said Trump is “stoking the flames” by continuing to promote conspiratorial and false claims that the election was stolen from him.
“This is the beginning of what could be a very ugly period until Jan. 20, or maybe beyond that,” Mockaitis said.