ATG leader arrived hopeful, left saddened
LISBON — Retired Navy SEAL Adam Newbold of Lisbon felt compelled to attend Wednesday’s Save America rally but came away troubled after a mob invaded and vandalized the U.S. Capitol.
“It’s a sad day. Who would have ever thought that we would be at a point with this strong nation where people so proud to be an American, that we now have people ashamed to be Americans, ashamed of their country, at odds with each other,” and Wednesday’s events have contributed to that, he said.
Newbold said he and about 50 to 60 like-minded local residents drove to the nation’s capital Tuesday night so they could attend the Save America rally. Newbold said he was there in support of President Trump, and because of his concerns about alleged election fraud and the general direction of the country.
“I have championed my belief that our country is in a bad place, and I believe that wholeheartedly. I believe there is corruption at the highest levels,” he said. “Some people that don’t know me or ATG assume we went down there to swarm the Capitol and that we were part of that … That’s not who are. We don’t do that stuff.”
ATG Worldwide is Newbold’s specialized training and security business.
After arriving in Washington, they began the long walk to the Elipse, a large field located between the National Mall and White House, with Trump scheduled to address the crowd at 1 p.m.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Newbold told those who planned to accompany them to treat the police and National Guard with respect because they are just doing their jobs.
“They are not our enemies. They are our friends,” he said.
After Trump’s speech, Newbold said they headed toward the Capitol, where Congress was scheduled to affirm President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory over Trump. It took them about a hour to get there because of the size of the crowd, and after arriving they found a mob had already broken windows and forced its way into the House and Senate chambers and legislators’ offices.
What they found was “just mass chaos,” he said. “The cops were so completely overwhelmed they could not hold back the crowd.”
During the melee, one woman was fatally shot and 14 police officers were injured, two of whom were hospitalized.
Newbold said he and some of the others made their way to the one of the Capitol doorways, where they helped police to their feet and pulled out some the injured, but they did not go any farther.
Newbold said while most of those in attendance were American-loving “patriots,” he believes they were infiltrated by others whose goal was to incite the crowd to violence. He said they heard on their way to the Trump speech that members of the far-right extremist group Proud Boys were going around chanting “Storm the Capitol” and were leading a contingent to the Capitol.
Newbold hoped by marching on the nation’s Capitol some in Congress might “stand up” and oppose affirming Biden’s win, but that did not happen. He wonders whether the fallout from Wednesday will make it even harder to convince people what they believe is at stake.
“I don’t know where we go from here … I believe that our country is never again going to be what it was conceptually founded to be. We are headed toward a completely new America, if America will even continue to exist” as we know it, Newbold said.