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The pro-Trump inauguration protests at state capitols were complete duds

Some might even describe them as “low energy.”

A person wearing a MAGA hat stands on a sidewalk and leans on a sign that reads, “Stop the steal. Joe Biden: Traitor! Liar! Thief!”
A Trump supporter holds a sign opposing President-elect Joe Biden in Olympia, Washington.
Ted S. Warren/AP

In the days following the violent Trump-inspired insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, the FBI warned all 50 states that similar “armed protests” were being planned by right-wing extremists around their capitol buildings. But on Inauguration Day, at least, those protests turned out to be complete duds.

Not only have there been no incidents of violence at state capitols on Wednesday as of 4 pm ET, but at many of them, the number of MAGA protesters could be counted on one hand.

At the New York Capitol in Albany, Spectrum News reporter Morgan Mckay documented the presence of a single pro-Trump demonstrator.

“He says he expected a few thousand ppl here and is disappointed,” Mckay tweeted. (Thanks to Elie Mystal of the Nation for his helpful Twitter thread putting the tweets that follow in one place.)

A similar scene unfolded at the California Capitol in Sacramento, where one man in a Trump cap protested as President Joe Biden was sworn in, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. (Later in the day, more sizable protests took place around the California Capitol, but they were left-wing protests calling for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and for immigration reform.)

There were three times as many pro-Trump protesters at the capitol in New Hampshire — but that still only amounted to three of them. And one-third of the group took off early, telling reporters “he was leaving to go skiing,” according to Dan Tuohy of New Hampshire Public Radio.

A dozen or so protesters, some of them armed, did show up at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix, but Ryan Mac of BuzzFeed reported that it remained peaceful.

And a pro-Trump demonstration some 700 miles north of there at the Nevada Capitol in Carson City was similarly underwhelming, according to Colton Lochhead of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

You get the drift. Local reporters also documented how protests of Biden’s inauguration fizzled in Kansas:

North Carolina:

Minnesota:

Missouri:

Texas:

Kentucky:

Utah:

Ohio:

Oregon:

And Tennessee:

Trump fans were also scarce in downtown Washington, DC, which is heavily militarized following the insurrection. In fact, Tess Owen of Vice reported that Nickelback fans were better represented on streets around the US Capitol than Trump supporters.

Of course, that Biden’s inauguration went off without a hitch in DC and at state capitols across the country doesn’t mean the threat posed by armed right-wing extremists has passed. But it does highlight how Trump’s months-long campaign to overthrow the election results descended from tragedy to farce in the weeks following the January 6 riot. It also hints at one way the bans from Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms of Trump and right-wing conspiracists and instigators in the wake of the Capitol insurrection, which was largely organized online, are working.

For his part, Trump not only didn’t attend Biden’s inauguration, but he managed to leave DC without ever properly acknowledging the legitimacy of his loss or officially conceding. He took off for Florida on Wednesday morning following a final speech as president at Joint Base Andrews in which he told a modest crowd of his supporters “we will be back in some form ... have a good life.”

Coming as it did exactly two weeks after he delivered a fiery speech that culminated in five people dying during a riot at the US Capitol in a failed bid to overthrow the election outcome, Trump’s resigned tone was notable. And, at least for one day, his followers took the hint.