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Who is Ashli Babbitt? The Martyr of Trump’s Capitol Hill Riot

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January 6, 2021, is considered one of the dark days in the history of the United States. During a proceeding of counting the electoral votes to confirm the victory of the Democratic President-Elect Joe Biden after the elections held in November, a swarm of Trump supporters breached the US Capitol Building, considered one of the safest places. Rioters swarmed the place with bats, helmets, and any object they could find to break their way in.

Who was Ashli Babbitt?

Ashli Babbitt was one of the fellow protestors on that day. An Air Force veteran with two tours to Afghanistan and Iraq, and the owner of a small pool supply company with her husband, Babbitt had delved into far-right politics after her retirement. She was a fervent Trump supporter and vocalized her right-wing support on her social media accounts. She also followed ‘QAnon’, one of the famous right-wing groups.

She was also one of the millions who believed Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ claiming electoral fraud of the results of 2020 US Presidential Elections. He had filed over sixty lawsuits challenging the vote results, with two of them reaching the Supreme Court, but none of them had won. He also urged many of his supporters to continually protest the results, stating that the Democrats were trying to steal the rightful place of the Republicans.

Who is Ashli Babbitt? The Martyr of Trump’s Capitol Hill Riot
Several Trump supporters climbing up the US Capitol Wall to enter the building on January 6, 2021.

What Happened That Day: An Overview

At noon of January 6, 2021, at a ‘Save America March’, Trump asked for his supporters to march to the US Capitol Building, while the House and Senate Chambers were in session to confirm the electoral votes for the victory of President-Elect Joe Biden. Over 300 protestors had first entered the building, outnumbering the police and marching ahead.

One of the factions that split up from the crowd had reached the Senate Chamber, which was barricaded by plainclothes officers. The protestors neared the Speaker’s Lobby of the Senate Chamber, which was used to evacuate the members. The rioters, demanding for it to be opened, broke the barricaded door with flagpoles and helmets. 

Ashli Babbitt was hoisted up to enter through one of the broken doors when she was shot by one of the officers in the barricade. She succumbed to her wound and died later that evening, leaving her name to be attached with that day.

Who is Ashli Babbitt? The Martyr of Trump’s Capitol Hill Riot
A Trump supporter mourning the death of Ashli Babbitt in a makeshift memorial outside the US Capitol on January 7, 2021.

Her death, instead of being just mourned, had soon turned into a point of a political rally for Trump supporters, and Trump himself. He has since then repeatedly mentioned her demise, demanding for the reason, and for the identity of the officer who shot her. In an interview, Trump called the rioters of that day ‘peaceful protestors’ and ‘good people. In a way, he is using the events of that day as a way to boost and secure his support in the 2024 Presidential Elections.

On January 13, 2021, he was officially impeached under charges for ‘incitement of insurrection’, as he had called for the rioters to march to the Capitol building. His social media accounts have been suspended or deleted, but his popularity is still highly present among White supremacists.

Ashli Babbitt has now become a symbol for right-wing activists and White supremacists to further their agenda. Her death was portrayed as an act of patriotism, and she is painted a martyr by Trump supporters. Along with Babbitt, four other people died on that day, including an officer on duty. Her story, however, fit the narrative for right-wing activists. Her death has now become a story for Trump supporters— and Trump himself— to use in the next Republican Presidential rally.

For further updates stay with Stanford Arts Review.

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