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WGLT's reporting on the November 2020 election cycle.

Trump Supporter, Normal Council Candidate Hosts Bus Trip To DC Ahead Of Riot

A Normal Town Council candidate sponsored a bus trip to the protests in Washington, D.C., that became a violent attack on the halls of government.

A candidate for Normal Town Council participated in the events that became an insurrection and riot at the nation’s capital on Wednesday.

David Paul Blumenshine hosted an event called the “Stop The Steal Bus Trip” to Washington, D.C., with Cities 92.9, a conservative talk radio station in Bloomington owned by Great Plains Media. Blumenshine hosts a weekly show on the station. The trip was in support of President Trump's baseless claims that there was election fraud that overturned a result that favored him when, in fact, Joe Biden was elected president.

David Paul Blumenshine
Credit Staff / WGLT
David Paul Blumenshine is now running for Normal Town Council.

Blumenshine had not returned an email seeking comment, or a phone call to his cell phone as of 9 p.m. Wednesday. A message left at Cities’ business office has likewise not been returned.

Blumenshine is one of nine candidates vying for three spots on the Normal Town Council in the April 6 election. He ran unsuccessfully for the Illinois House in 2018 and 2020.

A Cities producer, reached separately, said station General Manager Megan Zimmer had put out a message that all on the bus trip were unharmed and on their way back to Bloomington-Normal. The producer said Zimmer's message indicated the group was at the Capitol, but the crowds were too thick for them to see much, or to get too close to the building when rioters burst in and forced lawmakers to flee and take cover. One woman died in gunfire at the Capitol building.

Even for some diehard Trump backers, the insurrection was too much. U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood signed onto legal documents challenging the outcome of the election that numerous federal judges have found to be without merit.

In a statement, LaHood said he was in the Capitol building when rioters broke in. The Peoria area Republican who represents part of McLean County said he and his staff are safe. LaHood also distanced himself from the situation.

"What happened today was one of the most shameful things I have seen. It is a terrible day for our country and democracy,” LaHood said. “The actions taken by rioters go against everything that we stand for as Americans. The rioting and violence must stop. We are a nation of law and order, and those who are responsible for the actions and violence today must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. As Americans, we are much better than this.”

The McLean County Republican Party Wednesday afternoon tried to shift blame for the violence away from extreme Trump supporters. In a Facebook post around 5 p.m., which condemned the rioting, the McLean County GOP blamed left-wing, anti-fascist (or Antifa) groups.

"There have been eyewitnesses who have stated online that the violence arose from Antifa members disguised as Trump supporters which reports earlier in the week had referenced as possible," said the post.

A Facebook screenshot of the McLean County GOP post ecusing Trump supporters.
Credit Facebook
A screenshot of a McLean County GOP Facebook post made about 5:00 p.m. Wednesday tried to shift blame for the capital violence away from extreme Trump supporters.

The editing history for the page showed that nearly four hours later, a page administrator removed the sentence referencing Antifa. Connie Beard is the chair of the county party. WGLT requested comment from Beard at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.