The former first lady has spoken out about the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
Michelle Obama, Regina King and more are speaking out about law enforcement's response to the riots at the U.S. Capitol, specifically, comparing it to the police response to the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer.
On Wednesday, Donald Trump supporters stormed the historic building, claiming election fraud and protesting the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory in the 2020 election. Four people died, at least 13 police officers were injured and there were 52 people arrested, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert J. Contee III said at a press conference Wednesday night. In a statement on social media on Thursday, Obama condemned the violence.
"Like all of you, I watched as a gang -- organized, violent, and mad they'd lost an election -- laid siege to the United States Capitol," she wrote in part. "They set up gallows. They proudly waved the traitorous flag of the Confederacy through the halls. They desecrated the center of American government. And once authorities finally gained control of the situation, these rioters and gang members were led out of the building not in handcuffs, but free to carry on with their days."
"The day was a fulfillment of the wishes of an infantile and unpatriotic president who can't handle the truth of his own failures," she continued, calling out Trump. "And the wreckage lays at the feet of a party and media apparatus that gleefully cheered him on, knowing full well the possibility of consequences like these."
Obama said she couldn't stop thinking about the police response to the riots, referencing an incident in June when police sprayed tear gas and fired rubber bullets at BLM protestors to break up the crowd ahead of Trump's visit to St. John's Episcopal Church.
"There's just one question I can't shake: What if these rioters had looked like the folks who go to Ebenezer Baptist Church every Sunday?" she asked, naming the church of newly elected Georgia senator Rev. Raphael Warnock. "What would have been different? I think we all know the answer. This summer's Black Lives Matter protests were an overwhelmingly peaceful movement -- our nation's largest demonstrations ever, bringing together people of every race and class and encouraging millions of people to re-examine their own assumptions and behavior. And yet, in city after city, day after day, we saw peaceful protesters met with brute force. We saw cracked skulls and mass arrests, law enforcement pepper spraying its way through a peaceful demonstration for a presidential photo op."
"And for those who call others unpatriotic for simply taking a knee in silent protest, for those who wonder why we needed to be reminded that Black Lives Matter at all, yesterday made it painfully clear that certain Americans are, in fact, allowed to denigrate the flag and symbols of our nations. They've just got to look the right way. What do all these folks have to say now?"
Biden agreed on Thursday, tweeting, "No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protestors yesterday that they wouldn't have been treated very differently than the mob that stormed the Capitol. We all know that’s true -- and it's unacceptable."
Meanwhile, King appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Wednesday, and agreed with Kimmel when he said police response to the riots "sure looked different" compared to the BLM protests.
"You know, I tuned in to people with pitchforks and being escorted down the steps after protesting very calmly by police officers after they'd broken windows," she said. "Yeah, the Divided States of America."
"They were actually gently escorted down steps…No tear gas…It was, wow, quite the vision," she added.
On Twitter, Chris Evans simply wrote, "Just think of the carnage had they not been white."
Kevin Hart also passionately spoke out on Instagram, sharing pictures of rioters taking over the U.S. Capitol, including one of a man putting his feet up on a desk.
"2 completely different America’s that we are living in," he wrote. "If these people were black they would have all been shot dead. This sh** is past the word sad....at this point it’s pure disrespect to all people of color. Why can’t we see this situation handled the same way that we have seen our people handled repeatedly....when the armed officers are supposed to use force they don’t....Sh** is f**king SAD!!!!!"
Dwyane Wade tweeted, "Black people get pulled over and don’t make it out alive. We can’t sleep in our own beds without being killed. We can’t jog without being killed. We can’t walk down the street with our hoodies up without being killed but they can do this???"
Watch the video below to see how late-night hosts emotionally reacted to the riots on Wednesday.