Two men from Pima who were in the crowd when the U.S. Capitol was stormed last Wednesday said they witnessed a much different scenario unfold than what people saw on television or is being reported.

Dan Rose and David Morse, who don’t know each other, said the crowd outside the White House that later moved down the street to the Capitol was peaceful, intent on chanting, sharing stories of a stolen election and showing their commitment to President Trump.

Rose, 65, a local handyman, said he believes those who breached the Capitol were antifa followers, not Trump supporters.

Rose met his brother, Dave Rose, a long-haul trucker in Albuquerque, to drive cross country to gauge the mood of Americans and to express their support for the president at the “Stop the Steal” rally. While he was surprised to see police officers lobbing tear gas at the crowd outside the Capitol, he was shocked when they got back to Dave’s rig a couple of hours later.

“We had friends that were texting us saying, ‘What happened? It looks really bad. Are you alright? Are you dead?’ Yeah, all that kind of stuff. And we’re like, ‘What? What are you talking about? That must have been a different event than what we were at,” Rose said.

They’ve been watching the news in the days since, he said, and “it’s wrong.”

“It’s all lies. I haven’t seen one news report that’s been actual or correct or even similar to what we experienced,” Rose said. “We are not those people. And neither were the million other people there. Nobody in that crowd literally wanted to attack anybody. Break things, burn things, nothing like that. Nobody, nobody we ran into.”

Rose described being surrounded by a diverse group of Americans singing the national anthem, chanting and waving flags to show their support of the president and their belief the November election was rigged. He recorded much of the day and is in the process of posting video on his Facebook page.

“It’s just our march and our experience all the way there and the chants that were chanted and the atmosphere and the people. There’s no covering up anything. It’s all out in the open. It was peaceful,” Rose said. “All we said was, ‘Stop the steal. USA. We love Trump. Do your job…’ When we passed by the DOJ (Department of Justice) office, it was, ‘Do your job. Do your job.’ Everybody stopped and yelled at the DOJ building.”

Those who accessed the Capitol were in the back and out of sight, Rose said. Moreover, many of them are antifa who have rioted on behalf of Black Lives Matter and have been identified through social media and facial recognition programs, the brothers agree.

Despite claims that antifa — a loose-knit, leaderless group of local anti-fascist protesters with no political affiliation — was involved in the rioting, there is no credible evidence to support it. The FBI, among others, has said there is no indication antifa dressed as Trump supporters and infiltrated the crowd, and no antifa members have been identified in video.

On the contrary, many of those arrested have long histories of proclaiming to be Trump or QAnon supporters on their social media pages and have no connection to antifa.

Among those is Jake Angeli of Phoenix, also known as Jacob Chansley, the “QAnon Shaman,” who was photographed bare-chested wearing horns and fur hat in the Capitol. On Twitter, he said he “marched with the police & fought against BLM & ANTIFA in PHX.”

The Washington Times has also been hit with a cease-and-desist order after claiming facial recognition software had identified people at the Capitol as antifa or Black Live Matters activists. The company that made the software, XRVision, demanded the Times publish an apology and retract the story.

Next steps

The idea that Trump should be impeached is ridiculous, Rose said.

“The Democrats are threatening to remove the elected president for no reason other than he said, ‘Let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.’ If that was any kind of a threat, a president saying, ‘Let’s take a walk,’ I want to tell you we got a real sad situation in our country.”

The Democrats have drawn up an article of impeachment based on the belief that Trump incited an insurrection in his speech just before the Capitol Police were overrun by protesters. A Capitol Police officer and Trump supporter died in the aftermath. Three others died of what were termed medical emergencies during the incident.

“Republicans are constantly fighting like a boxer with his hands tied behind his back. It’s like a boxer. And we want to be so nice. We want to be so respectful of everybody, including bad people. And we’re going to have to fight much harder….” Trump said the crowd last Wednesday.

He later said, “We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore, and that is what this is all about. And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal. … You will have an illegitimate president. That is what you will have, and we can’t let that happen. These are the facts that you won’t hear from the fake news media. It’s all part of the suppression effort. They don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to talk about it. … We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

Rose said he and the others there that day just wanted to be heard at “the people’s house.”

“That’s our house. That’s not some magical kingdom. That’s the people’s house. And that’s where the the future of our country and our children and our grandchildren and America is. This is not fooling around time. This is serious,” he said.

Peaceful event

David Morse also described Jan. 6 as a largely peaceful event where people expressed their discontent.

Morse, who owns The Firing Pin Gun & Pawn in Safford, remembers the chill in the air and being surrounded by people wearing Make America Great Again hats, flying Trump and American flags. Strangers shared their distress over the 2020 election, expressing their belief that the election and votes had been tampered with, he said.

“People were calm,” Morse said. “I just kept walking around. A lot of people were upset because they felt the election was stolen from us.”

“It’s not like they invaded anything,” he said. “They were very friendly, accommodating and willing to talk to you. There were no obscenities, violent or derogatory speech and nobody was calling names and no bad words.”

Morse was about 150 yards from the building when someone shouted that “people got into the building,” he said. “I did not see any entrances to the building and did not actually see anyone enter the building.”

He thought it was unusual people had gone into the building where Congress was in session, and he didn’t think it was a good idea.

People watching history unfold on TV saw rioters climbing the walls outside the Capitol, fighting with police, crashing their way past barriers and smashing windows to get inside, but Morse said he saw none of that.

“I didn’t see anything broken, or confrontations or police arresting anyone,” he said.

He saw police standing at the base of the stairs but there were no police officers among the crowd. He only saw police on the second balcony of the metal tower.

Although there were instances where he saw police officers tossing tear gas cans into the crowd, he got the impression police were trying to avoid a confrontation. They could have used harsher deterrents and the crowd just threw the canisters right back, he said.

Even if he had been closer, Morse said he wouldn’t have gone in.

“I wouldn’t have personally done it. What shocked me is that the police allowed it. It couldn’t have done harm by walking in, but it would have been better if they hadn’t,” Morse said. “They should have not been allowed into the building.”

Video images show police overrun at barriers and pushing back against crowds, in some cases retreating. There is no evidence police assisted or allowed the crowd access to the Capitol without a fight.

Rose and Morse said the crowd was not violent from their perspective, and had they been violent, they could have destroyed the building.

Morse said he just wanted to express his beliefs.

“I didn’t fly across the country to tear anything up,” he said. “I wanted to be a part of a historic event.”

Morse said Trump is one of the best presidents the United States has had and it’s a shame to lose him under what he calls questionable circumstances.

Rose said he doesn’t know what’s going to happen between now and Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, if the election isn’t overturned. He does not accept Joe Biden as president-elect, and dismisses dozens of election-related lawsuits — including two that reached the Supreme Court — that didn’t play out in the president’s favor.

“I’m offended that people would say that a patriot is going to pick up arms and do something negative. I can guarantee you that if it doesn’t get straightened out, there’s gonna be a lot of regular people that are gonna do something very, very, probably out of the box. But it sure isn’t gonna be guys like me or Dave,” Rose said. “We’re over our heads in unbelief about how this is being treated so nonchalantly by everybody, that this is OK. This is not OK. This is our country. This is America.”

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