Siege of the US Capitol by Trump Supporters Incites Public Outrage

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Michael Nigro, Getty Images

Prior to the violent riot, the mob pushes toward the Capitol.

Kitty Tsukada, Assistant News Editor

 
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On January 6th, hours after huge crowds of President Trump’s supporters filled the streets of Washington, D.C. in protest of the certification of Biden’s electoral victory, a group of armed and angry rioters stormed Capitol Hill and clashed with police officers. The mob gained access to the Capitol after breaking barriers and overwhelming the Capitol police. This enabled the rioters to roam the building freely, enter offices, and vandalize them. Consequently, the Capitol was placed under lockdown, members of the Senate and House of Representatives had to evacuate to a safe space, and the certification of the election results were put on hold.

Once law enforcement had cleared the Capitol of the insurgents, members of Congress returned to resume the certification of President-elect Biden’s victory. Vice President Pence officially confirmed the election results early Thursday morning. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to members of Congress that the “shameful assault [on democracy won’t] deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden.” 

There were five confirmed deaths among the crowds of rioters. These deaths included an Air Force veteran who was fatally shot by police, as well as three others who died of apparent medical emergencies. In the aftermath, a Capitol policeman succumbed to his injuries. Despite the pandemonium that occurred, the U.S. Attorney’s office for D.C. filed only 17 cases in federal court and at least 40 in Superior Court. Using video and social media postings, Government agencies expect to find and charge many more participants in this violent invasion of the Capitol.

The rioters storm the Senate Chamber after Senate officials had been evacuated. (Win McNamee, Getty Images)

Former and current politicians, both Republican and Democratic, have condemned the breach of the Capitol, with many placing blame on President Trump and his allies for inciting the event through false election claims. Vice President Mike Pence stated that “. . . those who have wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. . .this is still the people’s house.” Former President George W. Bush, in a statement released on Wednesday evening, said “This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic, not in our democratic republic.”

The lack of a police presence at the expected protest by Trump supporters on January 6th invited its comparison to the past treatment of Black Lives Matter protesters. During the height of the summer’s unrest, many peaceful BLM protesters in several cities including Washington, D.C. were met with violent force from the police, such as tear gas and rubber bullets. In contrast, Wednesday’s siege of the Capitol ended with few arrests despite the massive crowd that joined in the event. “There is no doubt in my mind that if those were Black Lives Matter protesters yesterday breaking into the Capitol Building, there would be dozens and dozens of people dead today,” Mitch Morrell, former acting and deputy director of the CIA, told CBS News Thursday (https://thehill.com/homenews/news/533182 news).

Despite the worst U.S. security breach in years having occurred, senators returned to the Capitol Building to resume the certification of President-elect Biden’s victory, the victory of which was eventually certified later that night. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to members of Congress that the “shameful assault [on democracy won’t] deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden.” 

President Trump’s role in inciting his supporters to violence has caused many politicians to question his ability to perform his job as president. While some politicians, including Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, have called on Trump to resign, others have proposed using the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. This amendment allows for the temporary transfer of the president’s duties to the vice president, either by the president alone or the vice president together with a majority of the president’s cabinet.  Vice President Pence is said to be opposed to this idea. If these possibilities fail, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that lawmakers will move forward to impeach President Donald J. Trump, charging him with “high crimes and misdemeanors.” This will be the first time in American history that a president has been impeached twice.

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