capitol riot

Man Behind Mass.-to-DC Caravan for Trump Rally Blames Violence on ‘Bad Players'

The president of the conservative group Super Happy Fun America, known for holding Boston's controversial Straight Pride Parade, insisted his 11-bus caravan attended the rally to voice their grievances, not to storm the Capitol

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Bus loads of Trump supporters from New England traveled to Washington, D.C., last week for the now-infamous rally that led to the storming of the U.S. Capitol. 

As fallout over the chaos continues, not even all the president's supporters are on the same page about what happened. 

“In Washington, it didn't go the way anybody expected. Let's face it,” said John Hugo, president of the conservative group Super Happy Fun America, known for holding Boston's controversial Straight Pride Parade in 2019. 

At the rally, President Donald Trump and other allies urged the crowd to take action. Trump said, “fight like hell,” and urged the crowd to march to the Capitol -- as outlined in an article of impeachment against him released Monday.

The mob of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol did not deter fellow Trump fans in Massachusetts.

Hugo attended the rally and said that the president "never said to storm the Capitol building," attributing the violence to "bad players" in the crowd instead.

“There were some bad players and it's fair to say some of them were Trump supporters. There was also some Antifa present there,” he said, though the FBI has said there is no indication anyone associated with antifa took part in overthrowing the Capitol. 

According to federal law enforcement officials, evidence suggests rioters included Trump supporters and some linked to right-wing extremists. 

“We have to face the reality the president has been in charge of this period. He has been the leader,” said former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who this weekend said he no longer considers himself Republican. “He has encouraged them at every step. And that's brought us to this horrible situation.”

Hugo said, “Anybody who committed an act of violence or destruction, and certainly assault, should be prosecuted.”

The PBS New Hour-Marist poll reveals 63 percent of Americans think the President is to blame – making up that number is nearly all Democrats and a third of Republicans.

He insisted his 11-bus caravan attended the rally to voice their grievances, not to storm the Capitol.

“We don't believe that it was a fair and free election. We believe that we are being censored by Big Tech,” he said. 

Multiple law enforcement agencies and government officials have said there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and all 50 states have certified their election results as accurate.

Meanwhile, Twitter permanently suspended Trump’s account for violating its rules about inciting violence while his Facebook and Instagram accounts have been suspended indefinitely because the risks are “too great,” according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Grievances aired by Trump's supporters at the Capitol were overshadowed by the mob that overtook the building with remarkable ease, which sent congressional leaders and staff fleeing for their safety, as well as Vice President Mike Pence. 

There is currently an investigation into how police handled the situation. Among the questions lawmakers are asking is how this happened and why.

So far, five people have died as a result of the Capitol attack , including a Capitol Police officer injured in the riot.

“There is a phenomenal pool of evidence to support whatever criminal charges they might want to bring,” former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said. 

Hugo insisted his organization condemns the violence and death of the officer and that it has supported dozens of events supporting police officers.

He also pointed to videos that shows police outside the Capitol apparently allowing members of the crowd past barriers.

“My people will tell you they witnessed police actually stepping back, giving them the thumbs up and letting them in, period, and there's plenty of video showing that,” he said. 

While some video reflects this, other video from the scene shows police appearing to be outnumbered and overwhelmed trying to hold the crowd back. Some footage shows police and members of the crowd in violent confrontation.

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