Broken into the Capitol


On January 6th rioters stormed the United States Capitol leaving one person dead and many others injured.

Following months after the initial count, Congress came together on the 6th of January to officially certify the electoral votes for President- Elect Joe Biden. The votes favored Biden causing a backlash from Trump supporters across the nation. President Donald Trump undermined the election results claiming voter fraud in states such as Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. With the rhetoric used by many supporters, Senior, Lauren Ready sees their attempt to illegitimate the election.

“If he would have won, I don’t think he would have said anything about votes being fraudulent. I think that he used the pandemic and mail-in ballots to his advantage. The only reason he wanted to bring up fraudulent voting and mail-in ballots was that he didn’t get what he wanted. It was their last straw to say that ‘we’re not going to accept Joe Biden as President,” Ready said.

After years of rallying supporters, Trump has built a strong base of followers earning over 74 million votes in November’s election. Before a Pro-Trump mob breached the capital, Trump held a ‘Save America March’ on January 6th outside of the White House. On December 19th, Trump also sent out a series of tweets promoting a “Big Protest in D.C. on January 6th,” telling his supporters to  ‘Be There. Will be Wild.’ This raised concerns about whether Trump purposely incited violence within his followers on social media. Senior Jeremy Lednicky understands why the Trump supporters were so upset. 

“I think Trump just has a cult personality around him, that just people are very passionate about him as President, and people who didn’t want him to lose, so that when he did lose, and when he said that the election was stolen. People got very upset. And they got angry because they felt like their democracy was threatened, that the democracy that they believed in was just cheated,” Lednicky said. 

With only days before the official inauguration of Joe Biden on the 20th of January, some Trump supporters came prepared with guns and bombs to interfere with the procedures of the White House. Some scaled walls and broke into government offices, eventually forcing Vice President Mike Pence to intervene and call in the national guard. Rioters waved multiple flags ranging from Trump flags to Christian flags, but the confederate flag carried through the halls of Congress shocked junior Tiffany Rogers.

“I feel like you shouldn’t be one defacing a building by bringing the Confederate flag into Capitol Hill. I agree with this woman saying, ‘there have been several people who have died in order for that not to come, even close or even inside of capital.’ The rioting was unnecessary, and it shouldn’t have been done, no matter what your political views are and how you feel about our current president or our upcoming president that is coming into office,” Rogers said. 

The mob of protestors forced lawmakers to run and hide in fear. The death toll has risen to four rioters killed in the mob, one by gunfire, and two police officers, one who sustained injuries at the Capitol and another by suicide on Saturday, reported by the DC Police Department on Twitter.

In a statement released by United States Capitol Police on Thursday, in an attempt to break through a room holding many Members of Congress, rioter Ashli E. Babbitt was shot by a Capitol Police Officer.  While Sarah Wilburn, sophomore criticizes the acts, she sees the severity in the loss of life. 

“The fact that somebody lost their life to something that the President of the United States suggested is enough consequence. We’ve already lost so many people because people feel like he hasn’t handled COVID properly, and then you just lost another one of your supporters because you asked for them to misbehave act out, and be violent. It is nothing political I’m just saying in general, there was a life lost,” Wilburn said.

In light of the events, on January 8th, Capital Police Chief Steven Sund resigned from his position after firing a fatal shot at a rioter. As a result of the riots, 68 arrests were made and 5 people died. The insurrections at the capital pushed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the US Capitol Police union to call for Sund’s resignation. Alongside multiple Capitol Security Officials and several Trump administration officials stepping down, Ethan Clark, junior, is in favor of the resignations to help rectify the events.

“I was extremely surprised and also just a little bit disgusted that’s happening and that we can’t have more self-control than that. I think it’s absolutely terrible and horrifying disgusting that people had to die. I’d say we need to just make sure that we have a peaceful transition of power and continue the flow of democracy as we’ve always done. I’m hoping perhaps this event or rather, we should look at it as to unite us together, and to all of us to condemn this event and realize that not all of us are like this and that. This can’t be a precedence for all the American people,” Clark said. 

Following the insurrection, Donald Trump released a video on his Twitter account addressing the rioters. Almost immediately, after alongside many other tweets, Twitter flagged and deleted the tweets off of Trump’s personal account. In these posts, Trump continued to question the legitimacy of the election and commend the passion of his supporters, only to later post a follow-up video describing his outrage for the attack.

“This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace so go home. We love you, you’re very special. I know how you feel but go home and go home in peace. The demonstrators who infiltrated the capital defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engage in the acts of violence and destruction you do not represent our country and to those who broke the law you will pay,” Trump said. 

In a failed attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election, supporters have been arrested for their actions at the White House. There continues to be a debate about the intentions of the rioters as the FBI looks for those involved. Without a clear intention, Lednicky disagrees with their attempt to infringe on democracy. 

“With the president, he told them to go home to stand down, which is kind of weird because I feel like he told them to protest but he didn’t realize it would go that far. The people who were there should have just peacefully assembled and not have turned violent. They shouldn’t have destroyed stuff inside the Capitol, they shouldn’t have forced members of the House of Representatives to evacuate, disrupting Congress. If you believe in a democracy, then you have to let the democracy play out, and disrupting that democracy doesn’t really make a lot of sense,” Lednicky said. 

Both sides have come together to condemn the actions the President had in influencing his supporter’s actions. In the video, Trump describes his “love and support” for the actions of his supporters. Watching his words has been a sore spot for Trump, according to Tabitha Bonuke, senior, who believes his words have consequences whether he acknowledges it or not. 

“I think it should be taught how much influence a president has on its people. A lot of people that voted for Trump, never really made him accountable for his actions and what he talked about. There was a lot of controversy with women, what he said about his daughters and everybody was like, ‘oh, that doesn’t matter because he’s just gonna be president and all that stuff,’ but you can see now towards the end of his presidency, that his actions, all this stuff he said have really fueled the people that support him,” Bonuke said. 

Throughout Trump’s presidency, social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have flagged or taken down content posted on his accounts. Not long after the attack, platforms such as Twitch, Youtube, Snapchat, Twitter, alongside many others, banned or blocked Trump’s accounts. On Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, released a statement in regards to the indefinite block on Facebook and Instagram. 

His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world. We removed these statements yesterday because we judged that their effect — and likely their intent — would be to provoke further violence. We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete,” Zuckerberg tweeted. 

As conspiracies and speculation continue to spread, other government leaders continue to share their opinions on social media. This includes many calling for the 25th amendment, which allows for the Vice-President and majority of the cabinet to deem the current president unfit for office, therefore calling for their removal. Within 24 hours Representative Ilhan Omar filed Articles of Impeachment under Congress, which alongside the initial impeachment in December 2019 by the House of Representatives, ends the possibility of a second run at the office of President for Trump. While Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, called on Pence to invoke the 25th amendment, he refused. Pelosi moved forward, officially impeaching Trump on January 13th, for the second time with the help of the House. Not coming as surprise to senior Tony Le, the actions leading up to the news of the impeachment were apparent to him. 

“I think something like this has been brewing for a long time, especially since the President has refused to acknowledge the results of the election, which occurred fairly. Barging into the Capitol has done nothing other than discredited their own cause, and doing so, only deepened America’s divide, but I do hope that such an event can help people both sides of the aisle come together and recognize the downfall of conformity. I really hope that this can be a healing point and like I said l centripetal force that brings us brings America together rather than apart,” Le said. 

With continuous bias from multiple sources and media outlets, the source of the blame is up to the interpreter. In a press interview on January 12th, Trump described how “everybody to a ‘T’ thought it was totally appropriate.” The events during and following the Capitol break-in have left questions for the future. Accepting the results, Ready wants to see an end to the election and for America to move forward. 

“I don’t think there’s one singular cause that could be to blame for all of this. Each individual person has their own reasons behind why they’re doing what they’re doing. But I think things that didn’t necessarily help were the President and his actions or lack thereof. His rhetoric, the actions that he didn’t take to condemn white supremacy, just the overall actions that have taken place. A lady lost her life, for really no reason. At the end of the day, the election happened, the American people voted,” Ready said.