Jacksonville supporters of President Trump who were at the Capitol when violence took place Wednesday said the matter has been exaggerated by the media and they suspect those who participated in the violence were paid agitators.

Three busloads of people from Jacksonville and other parts of Florida drove to Rocky Mount, NC, Tuesday, spent the night and then went to Washington, D.C., for the rally of Trump supporters protesting alleged election fraud.

Sabrina Wheeler was among them. She is a retired postal service worker and active in local Republican politics.

She called it an honor and a privilege to attend the rally and honor the president. “I never felt unsafe,” she said. Trump spoke in support of election integrity, she said.

“Trump did not tell people to storm the Capitol,” Wheeler said.

She did not leave the Ellipse where the rally was held and go to the Capitol. Because of the cold, she went to Union Station for shelter before returning to Rocky Mount.

However, Wayne Estes of Jacksonville saw some of the events at the Capitol.

Estes said he heard Trump speak, and was somewhat disappointed because It was essentially the same speech he had heard Trump make in Georgia earlier. Like many others, Estes believes the election in Georgia was stolen.

He also said Trump did nothing to incite violence.

Estes told Eye on Jacksonville he was among the first 800 or so people who arrived at the back entrance to the Capitol. Some people he did not recognize began climbing walls to get to the entrance.

Photo by Wayne Estes
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Photo courtesy of Wayne Estes

“They had younger crowd a little more high-strung and they were told speakers would come out. Protesters climbed a stand for the media and one guy with a bullhorn was trying to get people fired up. Barriers were knocked down and everybody walked in and police asked them to stay back.”

For the most part the crowd followed orders but a handful in front tried to push their way in, he said. Police started shooting rubber bullets and the crowd got rowdy.

At one point, the police took barriers down and told people to come on in, Estes said.

Estes said he saw some police get roughed up outside, but he did not go inside, where an officer was fatally injured and an unarmed woman was shot to death by a Secret Service agent.

Estes said he saw video and talked with people who were there and he thought the woman’s killing was “outright murder.”

He said he talked to police officers and everyone was “cordial and friendly” but some officers were using Mace on people.

“I think it could have been handled without violence,” Estes said. He said he didn’t think it was necessary to knock out windows, or for the police to use gas and rubber bullets.

The national media is using inflammatory terms like “insurrection” to describe the event. This is the same media that called 2020’s widespread violence “mostly peaceful  protests,” in which at least 19 people were killed, 14,000 arrested, 700 cops injured and $2 billion in property damage done as mobs tried to burn a federal building, burned down a police station, aimed lasers at the eyes of law enforcement and actually seized control of some areas of major cities.

Democrats mostly refused to condemn that violence and some actively supported it, including Vice president-elect Kamala Harris.

But since the events at the Capitol, Democrats and the Democrat media have called for Trump to be removed from office before his scheduled departure Jan. 20, while also hysterically demanding that he be arrested and tried for various offenses.

Virtually everyone at every level and every political persuasion has condemned the violence, especially the killing of the officer. But little information about the deaths has been reported by the media, which is preoccupied with vilifying the president.

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Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.

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