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Aurora man, Robert Kunze, says Capitol protest reports are overblown
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Aurora man, Robert Kunze, says Capitol protest reports are overblown

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The Latest: No public access to Capitol grounds Jan. 20

With the Washington Monument in the background, people attend a rally in support of President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

Aurora resident Robert Kunze, who was outside the Capitol in Washington, D.C., last Wednesday, says mainstream media aren’t giving an accurate account of what happened that day.

Kunze wound up 10 feet away from a Capitol door. But he said he had no desire to enter the building and the vast majority of his fellow Trump supporters felt the same way.

Kunze, 42, called in to KFAB talk show host Chris Baker on Friday.

“I was surrounded by patriots the entire time. There were a lot of people there,” Kunze said on the air. He believes that 99.9% of them had “no intention whatsoever” of entering the Capitol building.

Kunze, who grew up on a farm near Palmer, has lived in Aurora since 2014. He was in the Army for 10 years, concluding his career as a first lieutenant. He was deployed to Afghanistan.

He has worked security in both the military and civilian life.

“The only thing I love more than this country is my God. My word is my bond,” he said. His word is more important to him “than any agenda or perpetuating a desired perspective out there.”

Kunze estimates that he was among the first 5,000 people who made it to the Capitol.

Kunze said it’s possible that he might be questioned about the rally.

“But I regret nothing I did that day,” he told The Independent. “I was totally exercising my rights to formally protest peacefully.”

Kunze believes it was an “historic day. I’m glad I was there.”

The rally began at the Ellipse, which is straight south of the White House, he said.

There, “I talked to strangers having a good time — good, godly Christian people. I didn’t see a single firearm the entire time, other than (weapons carried by) law enforcement,” Kunze told Baker.

The Trump supporters were not aggressive, he said.

“We were just there to show that we have a large following and that we support our president, and that’s what we did. We stayed outside. We stood there with fellow patriots. We were singing songs, celebrating — ‘USA, USA.’”

The rally at the Ellipse started at 11 a.m. It was understood that at 1 p.m. the Trump supporters would walk down to the Capitol, a distance of four blocks, he said.

As the group started streaming that way, Kunze expected that they would all congregate on the lawn in front of the Capitol building. He assumed they would be “stopped by a police barricade, not able to go any farther.”

He was surprised when the Trump supporters were met by “absolutely no obstructions whatsoever.”

The only thing the group encountered was scaffolding and construction on the Capitol steps for next week’s Inauguration. The path to walk up the stairs was 3 feet wide.

At first, there was not a mob mentality, Kunze said. “But, I mean people were pushing forward, saying, ‘... keep pushing.’”

As Kunze and others were going up the stairs, he met six men coming down the stairs.

He found that “really odd because everybody else” was trying to get up the stairs, he said.

Kunze asked three of the six men what was going on. They didn’t respond. Finally, he got in front of a fourth man, put his hand on his chest and said, “Hey, what’s going on? Where are you guys going?”

That man told him, “It’s open. Go on up. We got it open.”

Kunze found it “very bizarre” that the men were descending the stairs.

That happened within the first 45 minutes of the group being at the Capitol.

“But it was a pretty chaotic situation, so I really didn’t think more of it until later,” Kunze told KFAB.

“There were people trying to break in in different locations. But 99.9% of the people had no intention, no intention whatsoever, of going in the building,” he said. “I didn’t.”

Kunze could have walked into the Capitol. But to him, the entrance was a red line. “There was no way” he was going to enter the Capitol. “That was not our intention at all.”

The perception that a giant flood of people entered the Capitol is entirely wrong, he said. There were “just a few people that went in. I really don’t know how many people made it in. But we all pretty much stayed outside.”

Kunze and his fellow Trump supporters “weren’t doing any damage. We were just there as a group, showing solidarity,” he said on air.

He believes there were members of Antifa present. But it was hard to say. It wasn’t as though they were holding “a neon sign above their head” identifying themselves, he said.

Local law enforcement officials knew days in advance that Trump supporters would be walking to the Capitol building.

Kunze expected that “police would have had a much larger presence there because they knew we were coming.”

Officials knew “how large of a group it was going to be, so if they didn’t want people in there, they would’ve had a much larger presence. And they had hardly anybody there,” he told KFAB.

Kunze never expected the Trump supporters to make it as far as they did.

If there had been a barrier, he says he would have stopped. “Absolutely. I had no intention of having any altercation with law enforcement whatsoever. That was not our intention.”

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