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‘Comically Minimal Ego-Stroking’: Inside The Bumble Takedown Of A Violent Capitol Rioter

By , in USA Today , at July 30, 2021 Tags: , , , , , , ,


The FBI arrested Andrew Taake in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot after a Bumble "match" turned him in.

The FBI arrested Andrew Taake in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot after a Bumble “match” turned him in.

Six months ago, on a cold Wednesday night, a 20-something communications professional in Washington, D.C., was watching a remarkable and disturbing scene unfold on her television screen.

Supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump, who believed online conspiracy theories and the president’s lies about a stolen election, had breached the U.S. Capitol in a brutally violent attack that police officers would later describe as “medieval.” They brought bats. They brought hockey sticks. They brought Molotov cocktails. They brought stun guns. They brought firearms. They brought pepper spray. At least one Trump fanatic was carrying a metal whip.

A citywide curfew was in place, and she could hear the helicopters hovering in the sky. Outside her window, “Claire” could see Trump supporters streaming back from the Capitol to a hotel near her home, carrying their flags and wearing “Make America Great Again” hats.

“I was watching on the news and seeing everyone walk back,” Claire told HuffPost. “It felt kind of useless for me to be that close and not kind of do anything proactive about it.”

By that evening, before Congress had formally certified President Joe Biden’s win in the early morning hours of Jan. 7, the FBI was seeking information from the public. The bureau wanted Americans to identify the rioters.

“OK, fine,” Claire thought. “I will.”

Claire had put a pause on online dating during the coronavirus pandemic. But she decided to fire up Bumble. She’d had what she described as an “on-and-off relationship with Bumble” (she tended to prefer Hinge) but knew that Bumble would let her “endlessly scroll through these guys” based on location and political affiliation. 

She deleted a few photos that showed her doing “non-MAGA things” and “clearly liberal stuff”: that image of her in the pink pussy hat at the Women’s March wasn’t going to fly. She settled on a main profile image (it may have been a shot of her on a boat, or perhaps a photograph of her engaged in a “vanilla recreational activity” like visiting a brewery, she can’t quite recall). She turned on the “conservative” filter, and she got to swiping. For democracy.

Bumble is the dating app where “women always make the first move.” Over the course of the next few days, Claire made plenty of them. Like many singles in D.C., Claire has “almost always” passed on potential suitors who lived across the river in northern Virginia. Her MAGA alter-ego, on the other hand, didn’t have any reservations about bros located in Arlington and Alexandria. So when Andrew ― a 32-year-old from Houston who was located eight miles away in Alexandria ― popped up on her screen, Claire swiped right. 

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