On the afternoon of Wednesday, January 6th, 2021, a mob of rioters inspired by President Trump breached the doors of the United States Capitol building amid the certification process for the 2020 Presidential Election. This siege came after the president’s “Save America March”. In a speech rife with blatant misinformation regarding election fraud, Trump called his supporters to action, stating “if you don’t fight like Hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore”. He capped off the speech by ordering his supporters to Converge on Capitol Hill to give “weak” Republicans ” “the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country”. The President claimed that he would accompany these protesters, yet he immediately returned to the White House.
Trump’s “Save America” march and speech was the latest in a series of attacks against the legitimacy of the 2020 Presidential Election. It should be stated that thorough investigations and in states like Michigan, Georgia, and Pennsylvania have concluded that there is zero evidence of election fraud. Vote recounts have also eliminated the possibility of mechanical errors. Despite this, several house and senate Republicans attempted to contest the election results.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas infamously objected to the result’s of Arizona’s election, forcing a mandatory two hour deliberation for both the house and senate before results could be certified. During these deliberations rioters forced their way into the building, entering through broken windows, and breaking down locked doors. As a result, all congressmen/women and senators were forced to shelter in place. From photos and videos it is apparent that capitol police were not equipped to deal with the mob. In fact, some officers appeared to willingly let rioters into the building. The intruders vandalized offices, assaulted officers and stole property, including a podium. In a now viral photo, Richard Barnett of Arkansas posed with his feet up on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk.
The situation on Capitol Hill escalated when one of the rioters, Ashley Babbitt, 35, was shot and killed by security forces after attempting to climb through a broken window into the house chamber. Babbitt was a veteran and outspoken supporter of the QAnon conspiracy movement. The officer that shot her has been placed on administrative leave. Throughout the ordeal, several officials called upon President Trump to call off his supporters. eventually, Trump put out a tweet urging his supporters to remain peaceful. This was quickly followed up with a confusing video in which Trump continued to perpetuate election fraud conspiracies and call his opposition “evil”. In the short video He urged the rioters to go home, yet made a point to deem the election fraudulent multiple times. Less then an hour later, the President seemed to change his tune, stating “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victor is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly and unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love and in peace. Remember this day forever.”
The aforementioned video and tweet were removed as Twitter deemed them “a risk of violence”. As a result of the riot, Facebook and Instagram have placed an indefinite ban on President Trump’s account. Twitter has also banned Trump until he agrees to remove the controversial posts. This is a somewhat unexpected development, as the social media giants previously implied that Trump’s status as a world leader prevented any sort of ban.
By around 6:00pm, the building was cleared of all rioters in a joint effort between Maryland and Capitol police. By 8:00pm, the house and senate reconvened to continue the election certification process. The ordeal led some senators like Kelly Loeffler of Georgia to rescind their objections to state election results. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri elicited groans when he objected to election results in the state of Pennsylvania, forcing another two hour deliberation upon the already tired politician. Hawley’s effort was eventually shut down, and Vice President Mike Pence officially certified Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the victors of the 2020 Presidential Election at 3:41AM.
The entire ordeal left 4 individuals dead and resulted in dozens of arrests. It can be surmised that further arrests will be made in the coming weeks.
Many politicians have deemed Trump’s actions on the 6th as a blatant example of sedition. During a press conference today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requested that Mike Pence immediately invoke the 25th amendment and remove Trump’s presidential power for “insurrection”. She added that if this is not the case, Congress will move forward with impeachment. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer echoed Pelosi’s statements in a tweet. Several members of the house and senate have also independently expressed their desire for Trump’s removal on social media, and many of the President’s cabinet members have resigned including transportation secretary Elaine Chao. At 12:14 PM, House Rep. Ilhan Omar officially unveiled 7 articles of impeachment against Donald Trump. This is a developing story that STN will continue to cover in the coming days.