WASHINGTON — An anti-Trump activist who once said he wanted to “rip” the president out of office entered the Capitol Building Wednesday alongside a mob of pro-Trump protesters, but he said he was just there to “document” it.
“There’s this narrative going around right now that Antifa was the people there causing the riots, causing the tension, they were the only people breaking into the Capitol, and I wanted to be able to tell a part of history and show that that was anything but the case,” John Sullivan, the founder of Utah-based Insurgence USA, told Fox News Thursday.
Insurgence USA describes itself as “the revolution.” It began protesting “racial injustice in policing” last year following the custodial death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Sullivan told Fox he didn’t notice other left-wing activists inside the building. But he added that he couldn’t know for sure without speaking to everyone individually.
“As far as being able to understand who is in the crowd, based on being around protests a lot … I didn’t see any people who were originally at BLM protests,” he said.
Sullivan says he was standing near Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt when she was shot and killed in the Capitol, and video appears to show him on the scene.
Sullivan was detained by Washington police for about an hour and a half Thursday night, a day after he talked to local and national media about what he witnessed Wednesday.
He was handcuffed the entire time, and said police questioned him about being inside the Capitol and witnessing the shooting death of Babbitt. He was not arrested, Deseret News reported.
Sullivan said he also intended to “support the Black community” with his attendance, but also feels it’s “important to understand” those who were protesting in support of President Donald Trump. He said he was on the “front lines” of the protest as it turned from a peaceful march into a violent storming of the Capitol.
In August 2020 remarks to a small crowd at a Washington, D.C., intersection, Sullivan pointed to the nearby White House and unleashed a torrent of violent rhetoric. “We … about to burn this s— down,” he said. “We gotta … rip Trump right out of that office right there,” he continued, adding, “We ain’t about … waiting until the next election.” He then led the crowd in a chant of, “It’s time for revolution.”
Video of his remarks, which include graphic language, can be found here.
— Jayden X (@thejaydenxander) January 7, 2021