I’ve tweeted about this a few times, but I’m bothered by the narrative that the white supremacists and terrorists who laid siege to the Capitol were somehow all poor, ignorant rednecks. Some of them were, most of them were not. There were police officers from other jurisdictions, real estate agents, bartenders, legislators, sons of privilege, wealthy elites who came to DC via chartered private planes and terrible people from all walks of life, from all economic backgrounds and status. That’s what makes it so disturbing. As it turns out, one of the terrorists was a gold-medal winning Olympic swimmer.
Olympic gold medalist Klete Keller has been identified as having taken part in the U.S. Capitol riots last Wednesday, according to reports. Keller, a swimmer who won two gold medals on the U.S. relay team along with Michael Phelps, was identified by former teammates and coaches via social media images showing him inside the U.S. Capitol, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
The 38-year-old was not seen committing any violent acts in the images, which were taken during the pro-Trump siege on the Capitol building that left five people dead. Video on social media shows a man that appears to be Keller wading in a crowd of rioters who were being pushed out from the Capitol Rotunda by law enforcement, inside the building.
The Times reported a number of Keller’s former teammates and coaches identified him in a video posted on Twitter by a reporter from the conservative news outlet Townhall. Keller was identifiable, according to the report, because he was wearing an U.S. Olympic team jacket and that his protective facemask — meant to be worn to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) — was not covering his face.
The video had reportedly been shared widely among the swimming community and the Times reported that “several people” alerted law enforcement after viewing the clip. Swimming news website SwimSwam was first to report the news on Monday. The site reported that Keller’s social media accounts have been deleted but he was an “outspoken supporter” of President Donald Trump, according to his past posts.
First off, if an Olympic swimmer was dumb enough to storm the Capitol with a bunch of unmasked terrorists, wouldn’t you have thought that Ryan Lochte would be the guy? But apparently it’s this guy. And to do it while wearing his Olympic jacket too – my God. Here’s my question: is there any precedent for the US Olympic Committee to strip him of his medals? I know that’s not the most important thing, but I wish they would do it. I also believe that every single person who entered the Capitol needs to be arrested. This wasn’t a situation where “oh, there’s no video evidence of this guy doing anything violent.” He was part of a group which terrorized elected officials, their staff and members of the press. He was part of a terrorist act which left five people dead, including a cop. Arrest him.
Photos courtesy of Getty.