Failed Maine U.S. Senate candidate Max Linn of Bar Harbor was among a crowd of Trump backers Wednesday outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., where insurgents briefly seized parts of the building and forced members of Congress to flee. Submitted photo

A former U.S. Senate candidate from Maine, Max Linn, was among a crowd that gathered in the nation’s capital Wednesday to show their support for President Donald Trump’s bid to overturn the election results and secure a second term in the White House.

Linn described the throng as a huge, happy celebration that included lots of families and children, all hoping that somehow Trump would convince the Congress to reject electoral votes cast for Democrat Joe Biden.

“We honestly felt, no matter how crazy it sounds, that it would be a victory party,” Linn said Friday.

It wasn’t until much later, after the crowd dispersed, that Linn realized that some Trump backers had broken into the U.S. Capitol and run amok there.

“What I saw in person and what I saw on the news were two entirely different events,” said Linn, a retired financial planner from Bar Harbor who ran unsuccessfully last year as an independent candidate for the Senate seat that voters handed to incumbent Republican Susan Collins.

Police hold off Trump supporters Wednesday who tried to break through a police barrier at the Capitol. Associated Press/Julio Cortez

Linn said he never got closer than about 500 yards from the Capitol, where he sat beside a monument with his wife after trudging down the Mall from a spot close to the White House. He posted a picture of himself on Facebook looking giddy as he stood amid a crowd of supporters.

Linn said he saw a bit of smoke up near the Capitol but didn’t think much about it. He said there wasn’t any sign of trouble where he ended up.

The national director of DonaldTrumpPatriots.com, a group he said he formed to fight for Trump’s agenda, Linn said he believed that Vice President Mike Pence and GOP lawmakers would find a way to invalidate election results whose validity he doubted.

Given the historic nature of what he hoped would transpire, Linn said, he wanted to be there himself, to be a part of an event he thought would be long remembered as a possible turning point for the country.

“We knew this would be a once-in-a-lifetime event,” Linn said.

For the Trump backers who converged on Washington, Linn said, “We feel that America is in jeopardy of losing our country, our Bill of Rights, our Constitution with a Biden administration.”

“We’re scared we’re losing our western civilization,” Linn said.

Even so, he said, the idea of storming the Capitol to try to block Biden’s accession was crazy.

He said he’s watched the videos of the assault on the Capitol over and over and doesn’t think there were more than 100 or so people involved, no doubt “overzealous,” and clearly unsure what they should do inside. They seemed more interested in photo opportunities than anything serious, Linn said.

Linn brushed aside questions about the violence involved that left a police officer and a Trump backer dead along with many other officers injured and the building itself damaged.

Supporters of President Donald Trump are confronted by Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

“Were there some Trump supporters there? Yeah, they got riled up” and caused “an hour or two of mayhem,” he said.

“There’s always bad apples in the bunch,” Linn said.

He said, though, what they did doesn’t compare to the long-lasting protests in a number of American cities tied to the Black Lives Matter movement last year.

Linn said Trump hasn’t been a perfect president.

“He didn’t drain the swamp,” Linn said, and he’s caused the national debt to swell by printing money at a far faster clip than any of his predecessors.

But, he said, Trump “beat the drum for the middle class,” kept the country out of war and sought “to make America great again.”

Linn said he regrets “these idiots” spoiled what he saw as “a happy, joyful environment” on the Mall with many solid Americans who want a government that will allow them to thrive.

The ones who attacked Congress, he said, didn’t have a cause or even a plan.

“America doesn’t have the (stomach) for a revolution,” Linn said. “We’re a fat and happy country.”


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