Ahead of the "Save America"—aka "Stop the Steal"—rally planned for January 6, President Donald Trump's supporters traveled from across the country to gather in Washington, DC and loudly defend Trump's false claim Joe Biden's presidential overwhelming election win was fraudulent.
Biden beat Trump by over 7 million votes in the popular vote. Biden garnered 74 more electoral votes than Trump as well.
As we all know, after being told by rally speakers to fight and after being urged to march on the Capitol and give Congress a message, the rally turned into a violent insurrection when the mob stormed the United States Capitol building, smashing windows and doors then looting and vandalizing.
Five people died in the siege, including a Capitol police officer. The riot was cited as the catalyst for another Capitol officer's death.
In all the chaos of the riotous day, as well as the insurrectionists' decision to promptly leave town shortly after law enforcement regained control, it's easy to forget about the finer details.
For example, those visiting rioters all had to find lodging so they could wake up in D.C. for their protest-turned-coup-attempt on the following day.
According to Intelligencer, one Airbnb host was appalled when he realized his booked guest named "Melissa" was actually a group of eight people who came to town and participated in the riot at the Capitol.
The host, who went simply by Paul, was told Melissa was coming to town for "a history sightseeing trip."
But to Paul's horror as he watched on his security cameras, Melissa rolled in with seven other people.
And on the morning of January 6—the day of the riot—Paul watched as they marched out with MAGA flag in hand.
He shared his reaction with Intelligencer:
"That's when I was like, 'Oh f'k, I've got a problem.'"
After the chaos at the Capitol, Paul's horror only grew when he watched one of the guests reflect on the mob scene while speaking on his cell phone:
"We stormed the Capitol, we got inside of it."
"Trump said we're gonna march over to the Capitol Building … And we're going to tell them what's been happening. To be honest, they deserved it."
Paul attempted to notify Airbnb his guests were confirmed insurrectionists, but he was never able to get in touch with a representative from the company.
After the guests left his property to return home, Paul left Melissa with the following strongly worded review, injecting a bit of history into the Airbnb record in the process.
"When Melissa booked my Airbnb, she claimed it was for a 'history sight seeing trip' but instead she and her guests made history by participating in the most horrific attack on our democracy at the Capitol building on January 6, 2021."
"She and her guests returned after the riot and bragged in front of my house, captured on my Ring doorbell, 'I was there … I didn't want to get involved as much as I did but to be honest they deserved it'."
"A Capitol Police officer was murdered and four of the rioters lost their lives. I wouldn't recommend renting to Melissa."
It was only then Paul heard from an Airbnb representative.
He was livid at their delay.
"So I went off on this person saying, 'How the f'k are you gonna let her rescind her review when I have evidence of this person participating in an attack on the Capitol?'"
Paul's experience with the company was very different than the image crafted in a formal statement made by the company following the riots.
"As we've learned through media or law enforcement sources the names of individuals confirmed to have been responsible for the violent criminal activity at the United States Capitol on January 6, we've investigated whether the named individuals have an account on Airbnb."
"Through this work, we have identified numerous individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol Building, and they have been banned from Airbnb's platform."
Paul also had the good sense to respond with more than an online review.
He sent his video evidence to the FBI tip line.
When news of his story and review was posted to Twitter, people dubbed the story a bizarre sign of these surreal times.
@BGrueskin "For his part, Paul tried to take matters into his own hands when he realized Airbnb’s customer-support… https://t.co/vcyAnk8tcy— Your CCPA "Do Not Sell" Link is not conspicuous (@Your CCPA "Do Not Sell" Link is not conspicuous) 1610644098.0
@BGrueskin “A Capitol Police officer was murdered and four of the rioters lost their lives. I wouldn’t recommend renting to Melissa.”— Carlos Tejada (@Carlos Tejada) 1610589467.0
@BGrueskin @AJemaineClement Tried to trash democracy. Zero stars. Would not recommend.— Jen (@Jen) 1610600381.0
@BGrueskin Wow. An angle I hadn't thought of. I hope he and his family stay safe. 😔— Glomad 🌊🌈◼🕶🍷🌊😷 (@Glomad 🌊🌈◼🕶🍷🌊😷) 1610641840.0
Now, just a week later, roughly 20,000 National Guardsman currently guard the U.S. Capitol in preparation of Biden's Inauguration on January 20.
One is left to wonder just what the DC area Airbnb lodging demand is like these days.