HUNTER residents who grew up in the United States say they are concerned the storming of the Capitol may be followed by further acts of violence and unrest before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20.
Australia woke on Thursday to scenes of mostly-unmasked Trump supporters clashing with police in a bid to delay the joint session of Congress to certify the electoral college votes, which would formalise Mr Biden's election victory.
The Senate and the House of Representatives were evacuated.
The rioters were later cleared and the building secured so the lawmakers could continue their work.
University of Newcastle Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Human and Social Futures, Professor John Fischetti, said he was not surprised by President Donald Trump's actions.
In the past day Mr Trump had pressured Vice President Mike Pence to overthrow the election results and allegedly incited and then praised the rioting mob, telling them they were "very special".
Mr Trump continues to falsely claim the election was fraudulent and he was robbed.
"No, I'm not surprised, it was never going to be easy and there's still more to come," said Professor Fischetti, who was born in New York City and has also lived in Virginia and North Carolina.
"It's not over yet, because he's moved bombers to potentially do something with Iran, we don't know what he'll do with China and the South Sea.
"The next step is to create some international crisis for which constitutional rights will have to be suspended because we have to have a big war.
"He is probably going to try and incite something with Iran on the anniversary of the death of their leader last year and possibly with China and try to spark something else crazy to make it look like 'I have to stay in power and see this out'.
"So I think this is Part A of a two-part plan."
Writer Alex Morris said the riot was "shocking".
"It's never been seen before in American history, but also sadly, part of me was not surprised, unfortunately," she said.
"I am not going to be able to completely breathe a sigh of relief until Trump is out of the White House... and as the sixth of January was approaching, I think anyone who is keeping up with American politics would be a little bit nervous and uncertain."
Ms Morris said she could see two potential paths forward.
"At best it's delayed, the Trump supporters pat themselves on the back for going down in history causing this chaos and everyone simmers down and that feels like enough," said Ms Morris, who was born and raised in South Carolina and has lived in North Carolina, Washington DC and Kentucky.
"At worst the civil unrest gets worst and it's not just delayed but the National Guard and military are going to have to be more involved and US citizens are potentially in danger, I think that's the worst case scenario."
Professor Fischetti and Ms Morris are both Australian citizens with relatives and friends in the US.
Professor Fischetti said he had been watching the proceedings live since 5am.
"I was wanting to watch the way the hearings were going to go and just hoped this would be the final tick in the process and then it turned into the barriers being broken and then basically a free open pass to the Senate house chambers," he said.
"It looked like one of those bad shows on Netflix."
He and wife Dana's two children and their spouses, plus their grandchild, are in North Carolina.
"While I'm torn apart, my gut is wrenched, I'm scared for our kids, the pandemic is scaring me more right now because it's just out of control," he said.
"That dual thing that's happening just makes this a very complex and intense time.
"We miss our family so dearly and we just worry about them so much, because the country is so divided 50/50 and you can't even assume that people are making decisions that are right or good for them, they're making decisions that are sort of selfish, and that's not how a democracy works, it has to be for the common good."
Ms Morris said she woke to a voice recording from her mum telling her the Capitol was in lockdown.
"It was 7am and I thought I'd maybe hit the snooze button and sleep for a little while, but after that I was glued to the news for the rest of the morning," she said.
"It was just insane footage seeing all these supporters swarming the Capitol building."
She doesn't know when she will next see her Kentucky-based family, because of COVID-19.
"Because of that I'm extra aware and informed and concerned about what's happening," she said.
"I don't know what I'm going to do to protect anybody, but there's a feeling of helplessness and also I guess just desperation and hope and wishes and just wanting the US to get itself back on track."
Professor Fischetti and Ms Morris said they couldn't understand how the mob had gained access to the building.
Professor Fischetti said the security barriers resembled those that funnelled runners towards the finish line of a race.
"Just a couple of months ago during the Black Lives Matter march outside the White House there were no worries whatsoever in bringing out tear gas... because many of them were black and the issue wasn't one the President supported, they had no problem dispersing them immediately.
"How in the world was the guard left down?"
Ms Morris lived in Washington DC for a year around 2009.
"It was just wild to see all the people walking through security, even 10 years ago the security was ridiculous in government buildings, so to see those people strolling in was surreal," she said.
"Seeing something like that is like nothing I've ever seen before.
"The government security in DC is, I would imagine, the best in the world so to see them walk in the way they did was really unsettling.
"Once we know more about how that happened we'll be able to assess the situation a little bit better."
Both said something appeared to be broken.
"I knew in 2016 when Trump got elected that something had gone wrong, that this is not the US that I feel like I know and love," Ms Morris said.
"This is the worst case scenario for what we've all feared over the last four years, that Trump has emboldened and fuelled based on his own unfortunate self preservation and narcissism and whatever sense of evil he manifests in some people who are angry," Professor Fischetti said.
"These are mostly white people from the working class who are angry because the economy and the future look bleak for people who are semi-educated and they've bought into his rhetoric and even the lies since the election.
"This is Trump fuelling a fire of discontent, mostly about people worried that the future will look different, that America is different ethnically."
He pointed to Georgia, where Democrats were winners in both Senate seats.
Raphael Warnock is the state's first black Senator and pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr preached. Jon Ossoff previously interned for civil rights leader and US representative John Lewis.
"America has changed, the civil rights has moved now into electoral rights and there's people scared of that," he said.
"Trump represents the last straw of white privilege basically ruling the way America has run, so all of that is in the backdrop of what is just absolute anarchy unfolding."
He said Mr Trump was also grappling with a dwindling number of staff, re-election debts and avoiding jail for "illegal activity".
"Every time reasonable people take a breath between Trump actions, they assume that somehow common sense will prevail and he'll get it, but he never has gotten it," he said.
Ms Morris said Mr Trump, a reality television star, probably liked chaos.
"I feel like he's frothing over this," she said.
"I hope he's happy, he's made history, he's going to go down in the history books. Now get out, go home, go back to reality TV. This is not the place for it."
Professor Fischetti said he hoped silver linings would emerge.
"This is actually a reaffirmation, following this, of the importance of democracy and how every vote counts," he said.
"I think this will be a strengthening of bipartisanship, they'll be talking about health care, they'll be talking about climate change, they'll be talking about issues instead of promoting someone's ego, so I look in the long run that this will turn into a reaffirmation of the strength of democracy and I think Australia will learn from this."
Ms Morris also hoped for change.
"I would love it if this spawned a great awakening in the American people that we have this divisiveness that is unravelling democracy," she said.
"I think it's on the left and the right, it's a distrust of media, it's distrust of each other and if there is any way that people on both sides of the spectrum can recognise that this is - and a lot of the protests that have happened in 2020 as well - that this is not productive and we need to come up with more peaceful ways to communicate."
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