U.S. Senate Photographic Studio - Joy Holder
On Jan. 6, an insurrection occurred at the United States Capitol.
That morning, thousands of President Trump supporters gathered for a rally outside the White House, where Trump rallied his supporters to continue to protest the election results.
Brandan Lee ’21 stated, “Trump’s speech basically said their votes were getting scammed and that they were being silenced.”
History teacher Cory Nelson stated, “We have our right to assemble and to our speech, and I believe that Trump supporters have their right to do that peacefully. But, storming the Capitol while lawmakers are working is terrible and inexcusable.”
When the rally ended, the crowd marched towards the Capitol, where a joint session of Congress was preparing to certify Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ election victory.
Around 1:00 pm EST, hundreds of Trump supporters fought with Capitol police officers and breached security barriers.
When the joint session began, Republicans stated an objection to certification of the electoral votes of Arizona. Both chambers then split for two hours of debate. About halfway through their debate, the House and the Senate were informed that the crowd of protesters had entered the Capitol on foot, while others used ropes and ladders, and some broke windows to get in.
Yahir Rodriguez ’21 said, “It’s honestly pretty ridiculous to me how the supporters’ fury drove their control and lashed out by breaking into the Capitol just because they’re still melancholic about their president leaving.”
Mayhem soon broke out as lawmakers were evacuated and the Capitol was in lockdown. Staff members removed boxes of sealed electoral vote certificates to prevent them from being damaged by rioters. The mob then took control of the Senate, whereas in the House, there was an armed standoff at the front door as the mob attempted to break in. Officers drew their guns from inside and pointed them towards the door, which was barricaded with furniture. According to news reports, still photos and video, the rioters carried plastic handcuffs, Confederate flags, and Nazi emblems.
It took more than three hours for police to retake control of the Capitol and oust the mob. Although DC Mayor Muriel Bowser had ordered a 6:00 p.m. curfew, it was ignored as hundreds of protesters remained in the vicinity.
Congress ultimately reconvened after the Capitol was cleared and at 3:41 a.m, Biden and Harris’ victory was confirmed by Pence.
Nelson said, “Congress did the right thing to reconvene after the violence because they had an important job and that was to certify the election for President Biden. This shows unity from both political parties, strength to not be deterred by domestic terrorists, and urgency to uphold the job of the constitution.”
On Jan. 7, a non-scalable fence was built around the Capitol, as a precautionary measure before Inauguration Day.
Five people have died as a result of the insurrection, including a Capitol police officer.
Lee said, “The protesters should have used speech instead of violence.”
Protesters took pictures of themselves in the offices of multiple lawmakers, leading to the arrest of more than 80 rioters so far.
On Jan. 13, Trump was impeached for incitement of insurrection, with 10 Republicans siding with the Democrats. He is the first U.S. President to be impeached twice.
Nelson stated, “I do think that the incitement of violence is an impeachable offense, but I don’t think convicting him in the Senate and removing him from office would be a good idea, it would set a bad precedent.”