Trump Supporters Attack the Capitol As Congress Confirms Biden

US+Capitol

Rob via Flickr

US Capitol

Afton Copeland Spiegel, Political Reporter

Breaking down police lines, climbing walls, and trampling security guards. Civil servants laying on the floor of the Senate chambers, wearing gas masks, and fearing for their lives. Staffers and journalists protecting themselves using desks, chairs, anything possible. 

This was the scene at Capitol Hill the morning of January 6, as the Senate and the House came together to confirm the 2020 Presidential Electoral College votes for President-Elect Joe Biden. Supporters of President Donald J. Trump attacked the Nation’s Capital, resulting in the deaths of five people with reports of gunshots and multiple pipe bombs. 

Thousands of President Donald Trump supporters gathered at 11 a.m. at a “Save America March” rally assembled near the White House. Addressing the crowd, the President repeated his consistent message over the weeks since the election, insisting, “We will never give up; we will never concede.” Though the election had been called and certified by all 50 states, Trump continues to claim falsely that he, and not Joe Biden, won the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Trump urged the crowd to challenge the electoral results.  

We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, and we’re going to the Capitol…,” said Trump.

“We’re going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones… the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.” 

Emily Vargas, a junior at Mayfield Senior School said she was shocked by Trump’s statements at the rally.

“My dad woke me up because he found Trump’s speech (before the riot) and told me he thought Trump was having a mental breakdown.,” recalled Vargas. 

“I thought this was just another Trump speech and didn’t think much of it but then i started to watch it and agreed with my dad,” said Vargas. “I realized we were watching the complete downfall of the president of the United States.”

After the rally, thousands of people headed to protest outside Capitol Hill where members of Congress and Vice President Michael R. Pence were confirming the electoral college vote of President-Elect Joseph R. Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.

The largely ceremonial process usually begins with the Vice President going through each state in alphabetical order, asking for objections from members of congress. 

A challenge led by Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona and signed by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, meant the Senate and House would divide into separate sessions to debate for two hours. 

Journalists on the scene gave live updates to the unfolding unrest within the capitol.

The uncontrolled mob ran through the home of Congress, they left a whirlwind of destruction, smashing windows, defacing statues, and destroying offices. Members of Congress pulled on emergency kit gas masks in fear of teargas or unknown substances and dropped to the floor in fear of being shot.

At 8:00 p.m., five hours after Congressional members were removed to safe locations until the Capitol buildings were secured, Congress and Vice President Pence returned to the Chambers where they continued their original goal of approving the Electoral College nomination. And though it went until the early hours, at 3:42 EST, Joseph R. Biden was officially declared the winner of the presidential election. Pence also announced that Sen. Kamala D. Harris had won the vice presidency. 

As Americans reflect on the events at the Capitol, many process feelings of anger and disappointment. 

“What happened on Wednesday at the capitol was shocking but not surprising. President Trump has been fueling his followers with angry and false rhetoric for four years and Wednesday was the result of that,” said Madison Rojas ‘23. The Mayfield sophomore said she feels it will take a long time before we can trust our democracy again. 

“Right now it is important to notice our anger but not give in to it, we shouldn’t let our emotions control us because that’s exactly what the insurgents (last) Wednesday did,” said Rojas.

In the aftermath of the insurgence, congress was considering options from a second impeachment to calling for the Vice President to remove Trump by invoking the 25th Amendment.