Log In

Reset Password

Palmerton resident shares account of Capitol experience

Lexi Merkel, 18, of Palmerton, rode a chartered bus to the protest in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. She shared her account:

I want to share the side that no one is talking about, the truthful one. I want to be clear, I did not fully support Donald J. Trump until March of 2020, so this is not coming from brainwashed supporter.

When we got off the bus, you could instantly hear the chant, “Stop the Steal.”

That’s what this was all about, stopping the steal. The 2020 election process was a joke no matter who you voted for. Who knows if your vote actually counted. Pennsylvania’s governor and our attorney general overstepped their constitutional boundaries. This protest was a matter of election integrity, not whining because things didn’t go our way.

When we got there, we headed for the “Save America Rally,” closer toward the Washington Monument and the White House. There had to have been hundreds of thousands of people there, most were wearing masks.

We did have one incident where an individual was waving a knife around, however he was not a Trump supporter and the police were right there. There were absolutely no issues during the rally where we heard and saw the first family and some others speak. The crowds went all the way up and past the Washington Monument.

After President Trump gave his speech, we headed for the Capitol. Everyone was very friendly and easygoing; we were all there for the same reason. As we approached the Capitol, there was a young white gentlemen wearing a “Black Lives Matter” hoodie, and he was arguing with a black female Trump supporter. He began telling her that her life didn’t matter, and she chased him down and began to ask him why, which he of course couldn’t answer.

When we got to the Capitol, everyone started chanting things such as “We Love Trump,” “USA,” “Stop the Steal” and “Fight for Trump.” My group and I were close to the Capitol until the tear gas started. A man a few rows in front of us got sprayed. His face was all red and his eyes were burning. I did get some tear gas on my coat, and we all had it stuck in our noses for the night. It’s a very strong and unpleasant scent.

Tear gas was being sprayed the entire time, so I have no clue how people who weren’t even there are claiming it wasn’t.

There was a group of young men who were behind us and said, “We need to make these people look bad.” They went onto the Capitol steps and yelled for everyone to “push forward.”

Unfortunately, many Trump supporters fell into the trap. I saw the same group of men try to rip out the railing on the Capitol, and they then ran around the right side of the Capitol. What confused me was how the police stood there and watched them run past.

I don’t support anyone who crossed the boundaries and ran onto the Capitol let alone inside. I fully support the law enforcement and the actions that they were forced to take upon protesters. A few months ago, God forbid if you clumped peaceful BLM protesters along with the violent ones, but now that seems to be all thrown out the window. Everyone who was there that day in D.C. is now a “terrorist” if you read the articles and listen to the news.

I’m tired of being clumped as one and it all being blamed on our president. Yes, he called for a march. No, he did not force anyone to show up and he sure as heck didn’t push the violent protesters through the Capitol doors.

If outlets like Twitter and Facebook can shut down the president, then what can’t they do to average citizens?

President Trump and his supporters have been targeted since the day he won in 2016 and it’s a shame. There is no reason why voter fraud should be OK and overlooked. One fraudulent vote questions the integrity of them all. I am a proud Republican Trump supporter and I will never apologize for it. Going to Washington, D.C., that day was the best decision I’ve ever made because I was able to see what really happened, and not rely on the hysteria being spread around the country.

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier on Wednesday at the Capitol in Washington. AP PHOTO/JULIO CORTEZ