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Rep. Quigley feared for life of flight attendant before 5 Trump insurgents booted from United plane

“It could have gotten as ugly as anything Wednesday,” said Rep. Mike Quigley. “I was afraid for the life of the flight attendant. He called her a Communist and then the c-word.”

Security Tight On Capitol Hill After Invasion Of U.S. Capitol
A billboard at a bus stop in downtown Washington advertises a message from the Federal Bureau of Investigation seeking information related to violence at the U.S. Capitol.
Al Drago/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — For the first time in history, the U.S. is not having a peaceful transfer of presidential power.

The Trump-inspired Capitol riots resulting in five dead as Congress was finalizing Joe Biden’s election is not the end of the insurrection as we head toward Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration and President Donald Trump’s likely second impeachment.

Democrats are poised to introduce an impeachment resolution accusing Trump of “willfully inciting violence” last Wednesday when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol. House Democrats will act if Vice President Mike Pence does not immediately invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

An impeachment may only embolden Trump’s supporters who believe the president’s false claims he won by a “landslide” and the election was rigged.

The uprising encouraged by Trump is not going to be limited to one day in Washington.

On Thursday afternoon, United Flight 3502, departing Reagan National for O’Hare, and filled with Trump insurgents, was forced to delay takeoff to kick off five unruly passengers who failed to comply with crew instructions and United’s face mask policy.

When U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., arrived near the gate for that flight, a nearby bar and restaurant was “completely packed with maskless Trump supporters ‘celebrating’ their victory on Wednesday,” he told me Sunday.

Some in the bar were yelling “‘Hang Pence,’ or something like that,” Quigley said. They called Pence “traitor” and they “got really close to people; they were physically intimidating. And they freaked everybody out.”

Later, “about half of these folks got on the plane. And they were beyond abusive to the flight attendants, crew. While I sat on the plane I heard them describe a plot to rip off their masks halfway through the flight.”

Quigley got up from his seat and quietly told the flight attendant about the plot.

Meanwhile, one passenger, “one of the most abusive” of “these idiots had to be restrained. He was charging one of the flight attendants,” Quigley said.

“I think one of the flight attendants would have been severely injured if the moron was not restrained by his other people.”

United spokesman Robert Einhorn confirmed on Sunday that five of the 57 passengers were removed from the flight for failing to follow crew instructions and the airline’s mask rules.

Quigley said a “heavy duty” SWAT team and police were dispatched to the gate.

Before deplaning, “It could have gotten as ugly as anything Wednesday. I was afraid for the life of the flight attendant. He called her a Communist and then the c-word.”

Quigley said United handled the “incredibly complicated situation” well and praised the pilot.

The pilot “told the passengers that if ‘you disrespect anybody on this plane, we are not taking off.’ He said, ‘If you take off your mask, we are not going anywhere.”’ And if folks decide to unmask during the flight the pilot said, ‘I’m landing at the nearest airport.”’

Quigley said no one on the plane realized they had a congressman on board.

He wasn’t dressed up. Quigley was wearing blue jeans, gym shoes and a cap from a nuclear submarine he had visited, the USS Pittsburgh.

Said Quigley, “If I had been recognized, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

The day before, Quigley was in the House chamber as the mob was breaking in. “I mean we were, we were incredibly close to losing the House floor.”

Of the five who died, one was Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, beaten by the domestic terrorists.

Another was Ashli Babbitt, an insurgent shot and killed by Capitol Police as she attempted to climb through a door to enter the Speaker’s Lobby, just outside of the House Chamber that still had members inside.

Among the ironies of the domestic terrorist attack the president instigated is that Trump fancied himself the law and order president. He played that hand all the time.

The so-called pro-police president seems not to connect how his self-serving lies and conspiracy theories led to Sicknick’s murder. Trump didn’t order flags flown at half staff until Sunday afternoon.

On Jan. 20, 2017, Trump in his inauguration address, talked about crime — how gangs and drugs have robbed this nation of “unrealized potential.”

“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” Trump said, standing on a platform on the Capitol’s West Front — the very same place breached by his terrorist backers as they attacked Congress.