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A Storm in the Capital: A Violent Mob Storms the Capitol

Previously published Jan. 11, 2021

Previously published Jan. 11, 2021

On Wednesday, January 6th, Congress was set to certify the results of the Presidential election, which would confirm Joe Biden as president-elect. This was the day that certain Trump supporters saw as their last stand.
That morning, they gathered for a “Save America” rally. President Trump tweeted, “Be there, be wild!” Taking his words to heart, after the rally, “wild” protestors stormed the Capitol as Congress was in session, scaling walls, breaking windows, and grappling with police. The Capitol police ordered the evacuation of the Library of Congress and other buildings near the Capitol.
As the protests grew increasingly violent, with rioters waving Confederate flags and installing a noose outside of the Capitol, President Trump tweeted, “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
About an hour and a half into the protests, rioters entered the House, and gunshots were heard in the chamber. Representatives were given escape hoods for protection from chemicals or potential smoke and were successfully evacuated. Some rioters vandalized Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office, ripping photos off the walls and flipping over tables. One protestor appeared to steal a podium, pausing to strike a pose for a press photographer.
About ten minutes later, rioters entered the Senate. They rifled through desks, taking photos and stealing memorabilia. Some photographed themselves with Vice President Pence’s Bible, proclaiming it a “historic moment.”
The mob then swarmed the media recording the event, calling reporters “traitors,” and destroyed equipment. One of the camera cords was tied into a noose and hung on a tree.
President Trump was initially hesitant to send in the National Guard—he was convinced by Vice President Pence, Speaker Pelosi, and others. Vice President Pence coordinated with the Pentagon to ensure the more rapid deployment of National Guard troops. President Trump directed the National Guard to the Capitol, and when additional backup was requested, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals were also deployed. A woman was fatally shot amidst the protests—she has been identified as Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran who was a staunch supporter of President Trump. Four more have died as a result of medical emergencies that occurred during the insurrection. At least 14 law enforcement officers have been injured thus far, and Capitol Police officers Howard Liebengood and Brian Sicknick have passed away due to blunt-force trauma sustained while attempting to defend the Capitol.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a curfew, after which most of the crowd dispersed, though some hundred protesters remained. About 50 arrests were made in relation to the curfew violation, and dozens of arrests were made in relation to the riot (thus far, 82 arrests have been made in total). Mayor Bowser then issued an emergency order to last 15 days, empowering officials to order people off the streets and expend funds as needed for public safety until after Mr. Biden is sworn in as president.
Twitter had originally banned President Trump from tweeting for twelve hours, and Facebook blocked his account “at least until the transition is complete.” However, the president has been banned indefinitely from Twitter (including the @POTUS account), Facebook, Instagram, and several other platforms.
All four living former presidents have condemned the riot, calling it disgraceful. Mr. Biden called the event an insurrection. Former President Bush said, “I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement.” Vice President Mike Pence has declared that rioters “will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” saying as he re-opened the Senate, “you did not win.”
That evening, Congress reconvened and continued to count votes; the next morning, January 7th, Congress affirmed Mr. Biden to be President-Elect. President Trump issued a statement promising an orderly transition of power on January 20th.

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Riva Mikhlin, Blog Editor

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