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White Trump supporters at U.S. Capitol riot face consequences they didn’t expect

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The former Pennsylvania state lawmaker handed his cell phone to his wife to record his message. “We are trying to run out all the evil people and RINOs that have betrayed our president,” said Saccone, using a term to disparage moderate Republicans as Republicans In Name Only.

“We are going to run them out of their offices,” he said and posted the video to his Facebook page without giving it a second thought. The next day, he was forced to quit his job.

Saccone, 63, resigned as a political science adjunct professor at Saint Vincent College in Pennsylvania where he taught for 21 years, after the video was widely condemned.

In an interview with Reuters, he said he regretted making the video, but said his message was taken too seriously.

“We were just playing, having fun,” said Saccone, who has removed the video from his social media account. “I’ve been making Facebook Live videos for years. They’re meant to be lighthearted.”

Saccone, a Republican who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2018, said he was exercising his constitutional First Amendment right to free speech and did not go inside the Capitol nor participate in any violence. He said he received hundreds of death threats after the video went viral.

Saccone joins a growing number of Trump supporters facing unexpected consequences after photos and images surfaced online of their presence during the siege of the U.S. Capitol.

Five people died, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, when supporters of the president stormed the legislative complex as lawmakers began certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s victory over the Republican Trump in the November election.

Trump has claimed, without evidence, that he won the election.

Many participants documented their involvement in the day’s events on social media. Some went without wearing masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection, making them easy for armchair detectives to identify.

Some have lost their jobs. Some face criminal charges. The Pentagon has opened 25 investigations into domestic terrorism related to the riot. The FBI has asked the public for tips on those involved in the assault.

“Many of Trump’s followers are living in a fantasy world,” said Eric Foner, an American historian and author of the book “Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877.” “They don’t appear to have given any thought to the consequences of their actions.” -Reuters