Jan 6th Insurrection: One Year Later

Rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6th, 2021.

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Rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6th, 2021.

Tomas Sanchez Jurado, Reporter

Last year, on January 6th, former President Donald Trump held a rally outside the U.S. Capitol while the 2020 election electoral votes were being confirmed at the Capitol. During his speech, Trump made remarks about the election and accused Joe Biden of committing voter fraud. “We will never give up. We will never concede,” Trump told the cheering crowd. Trump called on Vice President Mike Pence to reject Biden’s win and send the votes back to the states. “Mike Pence, I hope you’re going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country,” Trump said. “And if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you.”

Vice President Pence released a statement calling his role in the certification of the electoral votes “largely ceremonial.” Pence wrote, “My oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,” basically telling Trump that he would not reject the votes like he wanted him to do.

An hour later, Trump ended his rally by telling the crowd “We’re going to the Capitol, we’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.” Trump returned to the White House, while the crowd of about 10,000 people gathered outside the U.S. Capitol. The Arkansas and Idaho State Capitol buildings were also swarmed by crowds.

During all of this, Congress was being held inside the Capitol, both the House and Senate proceeding with the confirmation of the electoral votes, lawmakers seemingly unaware of the mass of furious crowds outside. The protestors had overcome the police who had run back into the building. The crowd was cheering as a mob broke through police barricades and inside the Capitol. As the mob raided the Capitol, lawmakers were ushered off the House floor. Rioters inside the building were breaking windows and doors to let more people in. Those who broke into the Senate chamber climbed onto the podium, took photos and selfies, and rifled through papers lawmakers left behind. The building went into lockdown shortly after.

On the day of the insurrection, many politicians tweeted videos of the mob as they stormed into the Capitol. The videos, which showed protesters rushing into the Capitol and screaming were posted online, in addition to a video of a police officer attempting to hold down the initial crowds.

Later that day, President Biden released a video stating “I call on President Trump to go on national television now, to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege. This is not a protest it is an insurrection.”

Ashlin Babbit, an Air Force veteran, was fatally shot by a Capitol police officer as rioters tried to breach the House chamber. Kevin D. Greeson and Benjamin Phillips died of natural causes and Rosanne Boyland was crushed in a stampede of fellow rioters as they surged against police. In the days and weeks following the riot, five police officers who had served at the Capitol on Jan. 6 died, two by suicide.

On January 6th, 2022, one year after the infamous attack on the Capitol, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took the stage in Statutory Hall in the same Capitol where the insurrection took place and delivered a speech. Biden started by praising the nation’s endurance “Our democracy held. We the people endured. We the people prevailed.” He further stated, “I will defend this nation and allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy.”