Government

Everything to Know About the Capitol Building Siege

Key Questions to Consider (Word Count: 1030 Read Time: 5 mins)

  1. What led up to this?
  2. What happened?
  3. What are the after-effects?

What led up to the this?

The 2020 election was very intense, with both candidates Donald Trump (left) and Joe Biden (right) debating about various topics (Financial Times)

The 2020 election: The 2020 election took place on Tuesday, November 3rd, and although it was recognizable that the results would not be finalized on that exact day, the whole country still anxiously waited. Almost a week later, after various uncertainties and counting mishaps, news organizations ABC News, Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, NBC News all forecasted that Joe Biden had won the election. As of December 16th, Biden had 81,283,485 votes to Donald Trump’s 74,223,744, and Biden had 306 electoral college votes to Trump’s 232, certifying Biden as the 46th president of the United States. Trump, on the other hand, did not agree with this statement and  refused to face the reality of losing to Biden. Trump went on the offensive,  claiming that the election was “stolen” and “fraudulent.”

Trump’s legal battle: In the following months, Trump would pile up lawsuits after lawsuits against Biden and the election: 13 losses in Pennsylvania, 4 losses in Nevada, 4 losses in Georgia, 5 losses in Michigan, 4 losses in Arizona, and 6 losses in Wisconsin, totaling to 36 total losses.

The day of the riot: On January 6th at around noon, hours before the congressional vote to affirm Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States, Trump arrived at his rally and spoke to his supporters about the “voting fraud” that had occurred over the past couple of months. “After this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down. We’re going to walk down anyone you want, but I think right here. We’re going [to] walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women. We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

What happened during the riot?

Trump-supporters gather in front of the United States Capitol Building (Michael Nigro/Pacific Press:LightRocket/Getty)

Moments after Trump’s speech, his supporters began to march down East Capitol Street NE with Trump’s words echoing through their minds: “We will never give up, we will never concede.” By 2 p.m. crowds began to form around the Capitol State Building, and after breaking police lines, the rioters breached the East Entrance. On the West Entrance, the rioters smashed windows and scaled walls to enter the Capitol.  By 2:45 p.m., the rioters took over the Capitol, forcing Senators to abandon the affirmation of President-elect Biden’s victory.

What are the after-effects of the riot?

Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J cleans up the remnants of the riot on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021 (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Even after law enforcement officials cleaned up the situation, making the situation safer for the lawmakers, Trump still had some hope: Congress still had to vote on Biden’s win in Arizona and Pennsylvania, and Mike Pence, Trump’s vice president, could submit to demands to overthrow the results of the election. Although 83 rioters were arrested, 5 people, including officers and rioters, were recorded dead, and 50 DC police officers were injured as a result of the pro-Trump riots at the United States Capitol, lawmakers bravely continued voting, crushing Trump’s final attempt at winning the election by rejected both challenges. Even Pence, who has always obediently served Trump for four years, declared that he could not change the results of the election. He wrote, “It is my considered judgment that 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.” At 3:41 a.m. on Thursday, January 7th, Congress confirmed Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States and Trump finally acknowledged Biden as the winner by saying, “there will be an orderly transition on January 20th.”

The Republican Response: After facing severe backlash for “starting the riot,” Trump released a video in which he said, “I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side, but you have to go home now.” In his video, he also restated the theme of the riot: “This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people.” Pence said “To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins, and this is still the people’s house.”

The Democratic Response: Biden responded by saying, “Don’t dare call them protesters,” explaining to the public that the actions of the rioters were unlawful and unpatriotic. “They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists.” He continued on by blaming Trump by saying, “He unleashed an all-out assault on our institutions of our democracy from the outset. And yesterday was the culmination of that unrelenting attack.” He finished his statement by pointing out the difference in how the rioters were treated differently than the Black Lives Matter protestors. “No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol,” Biden said. “We all know that is true, and it is totally unacceptable. Totally unacceptable. The American people saw it in plain view.” 

After all of these events, the nation has responded with disgust against the rioters who unpatriotically barged into the Capitol. As of January 7th, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined the growing call for Trump to be instantly removed from office, saying “While it’s only 13 days left, any day can be a horror show for America.” This can be accomplished under the 25th Amendment, which allows the vice president to declare the president unsuitable for office. Only 6 days into 2021, the United States has received a major blow to its democracy by allowing its citizens to violently occupy the Capitol Building, not only an important government building but also a shining symbol of freedom and peace; this type of large scale operation has not been done since 1814, and the long-lasting effects of this breach are yet to be known, but one thing is for certain: January 6th, 2021, will be cemented in history books for years to come.


TL;DR

  1. Pro-Trump supporters along with Trump state that the election was fraudulent with zero concrete evidence; as a result, the rioters were motivated by the sentiment to right what is wrong (in this case the “fraudulent” election”) and in their opinions, the only way to fix the government is by seizing the United States Capital. 
  2. Hours before the official counting of the electoral college votes, Donald Trump spoke to his supporters about the “fraudulent” election and that they must stand together to “never concede.” The rioters initially entered through the East Entrance but soon after, they breached the West Entrance also, and by 2:41 p.m., the rioters took over the United States Capitol Building.
  3. Physically: 83 rioters arrested, 5 total casualties, and 50 DC police officers injured, and Biden won the election, with a possibility of Trump being removed from office with the 25th Amendment. Mentally: The United States will forever remember January 6th, 2021, as the second-ever United States Capitol breach.

Citations

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/01/06/capitol-hill-riot-heres-everything-we-know/6573033002

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/us-capitol-hill-siege-explained-7136632/

https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/donald-trump-speech-save-america-rally-transcript-january-6

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/12/29/sorry-president-trump-january-6-is-not-an-election-do-over

https://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/protesters-backing-trump-roll-into-capital-to-cheer-him-on/ZWFFKVEGSZGJDND2BNK36MOD6I

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/06/trump-vows-not-to-concede-to-biden-at-rally-outside-white-house.html

https://www.mysuncoast.com/2021/01/06/associated-press-timeline-events-capitol

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-campaign-lawsuits-election-results-2020-11

https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/local/dc/trump-rally-arrest-numbers-from-washington-dc-police-officials-released/65-a66ab770-6289-4b1c-9c43-7efbb09fe8b1

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-55579512

https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/trump-video-telling-protesters-at-capitol-building-to-go-home-transcript

https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/mike-pence-senate-speech-transcript-after-capitol-building-riots

https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/06/politics/mike-pence-trump-electoral-college/index.html

https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/live/capitol-news-insurrection-trump-biden-updates-white-house-congress-20210107.html

https://thehill.com/homenews/house/533061-congress-rejects-challenge-to-arizonas-presidential-vote

https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/verify/verify-has-capitol-been-attacked-before/507-df314b7f-33c3-4af4-8029-0ed7fb86fbbf

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/schumer-calls-pence-use-25th-amendment-remove-trump-office-n1253296

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-55575260

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/07/trump-says-there-will-be-an-orderly-transition-of-power.html

https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/congress-electoral-college-vote-count-2021/index.html

https://ktla.com/news/nationworld/what-we-know-about-the-5-people-who-died-during-riot-at-u-s-capitol/

https://www.ft.com/content/f1e1b2b5-4619-39f1-9509-5b2a98ec987b

https://www.businessinsider.com/republican-ags-called-people-before-capitol-riot-and-said-march-2021-1

https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/live/capitol-news-insurrection-trump-biden-updates-white-house-congress-20210107.html

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