Emily’s Weekly Political Scoop: Breaking Down January 6th

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Emily Landolfi, Staff Writer

Emily’s Weekly Political Scoop: Breaking Down January 6th. 

The actions on January 6th completely disrespected our democracy. A riot took place at the Capitol with Trump supporters climbing the American monument, causing havoc and violence. Of course, more information is unfolding by the day; however, if you are confused, let’s break it down, starting with the Capitol’s history and importance. 

Architect of the Capitol, a government official website, describes the history and importance of the U.S. monument. It is one of the most impressive and symbolic buildings in our country. It has housed the meeting chambers of the Senate and the House of Representatives for more than two centuries. When the Senate and the House of Representatives come together, they discuss, debate, and deliberate national policy and develop consensus and craft the country’s laws. The building is the focal point of the Legislative Branch. It is the Capitol Campus’s centerpiece, which includes Congressional office buildings and three Library of Congress buildings built in the 19th and 20th centuries on Capitol Hill. Its most active user is Congress. The Capitol is filled with American art and history and is considered a museum. The Congress is divided into five floors, beginning with ground floor committee rooms and congressional offices. The second floor includes the Chambers of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Rotunda, the National Sanctuary Hall, and the Old Senate Chamber. The third floor is open for visitors, allowing them to see galleries and proceedings. The fourth floor and terrace level are for offices, machinery rooms, workshops, and needed areas for support. Since 1793, it has been built, burnt, rebuilt, extended, and restored. It has remained a widely recognized icon and symbol of the American people and government (U.S. Capitol Building). The United States Senate explains how the Capitol is the most recognized symbol of democratic government, representing America’s foundations and beliefs (U.S. Senate). 

The New York Times article “Insurrection at the Capitol: A Timeline of How It Happened” breaks down each pivotal point of the event while also using the videos and photos of protesters and witnesses. Before the chaos began, President Trump encouraged his supporters to go to Washington and stop the election results’ certification, causing planned rallies on the 6th. Hundreds of people went onto the Capitol lawn before the end of his speech, including the Proud Boys, a far-right group. During Trump’s planned speech, he tells his supporters to walk to the Capitol to show strength. However, the Capitol grounds were only protected by temporary perimeter fences and few equipped officers. Before the speech was concluded, they headed to the Capitol, meeting with another group of agitated Trump supporters who were already along the west perimeter. A pipe bomb was reported at the Republican National Committee building, and another device was found at the Democratic National Committee headquarters (Leatherby). 

Some people in the crowd harassed officers at the barricades and became physical until they violently overwhelmed the police and breached the building’s outer perimeter. They broke through three other barricades, which forced police to go onto the west Capitol steps. The group collided with a small group of officers at the steps, and a few minutes afterward, Capitol Police Officers in riot gear showed up. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, was currently beginning the procedure to certify the Electoral College vote at a joint session of Congress with Mike Pence. However, outside there were chantings of “Whos house? Our house!” At the end of Trump’s speech, he encouraged more of his supporters to walk through Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, where rioters clashed with officers and the local police department. Both sides began spraying chemical agents (Leatherby). 

Going inside the Capitol, Congress members were unaware of the violence outside, and the House and Senate moved to their chambers to debate certifying the vote (Leatherby). After Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, argued not to certify Arizona’s electoral votes, Chief Steven Sund of the Capitol Police requested immediate assistance from the D.C. national Guard. Outside because rioters were tearing through the front of the Capitol’s northwest steps (Leatherby).   

A different mob was reaching the doors of the Capitol’s east side, where there was not as much police protection. Police even removed a barricade at the northeast corner after confrontations between the officers and the crowd. Additionally, a massive crowd was breaching another part of the Capitol with a larger barricade on the east side, the last physical protection on that side, proven on a YouTube Livestream (Leatherby).

On the northwest side of the Capitol, the mob chased officers up the steps and breached the last barrier, proven by another YouTube Livestream. For over an hour, the police and the groups were violently clashing until the mob broke through. They neared the entrance near the Senate chamber, which was one floor below the continuance debate. Even as rioters surrounded the building on both sides and approached the doors of the Senate wing, lawmakers inside showed no proof of knowing, as Senator Krysten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, was urging to “uphold the will of Arizona’s voters,” (Leatherby). 

On the west side, rioters broke into the building and in two minutes reached the stairs next to the Senate chambers, and the Senate was called into recess. They continued to come into the building through a door and broken windows on the northwest side. They even chased a police officer to the top of a staircase where entrances to the Senate chamber are in both directions. However, the officer led the rioters when backup arrived as police inside the Chamber were trying to lock the doors. Rioters and police were in a standoff in the hall, exceptionally close to the Senate chamber entrance. Soon after the rioters entered the building, the House went into recess, and police clashed with rioters inside the building. Some members of Congress were able to escape, while others were trapped inside (Leatherby).

The CNBC article “U.S. Capitol Secured Hours after pro-Trump Rioters Invade Congress” confirms the Capitol was secured after hours of rioting. President Trump also spoke to his supporters after the horrific events took place. The article states, “Trump soon after released a video statement addressing the rioters at the Capitol, saying, ‘You have to go home,’ but he repeated false claims about being swindled out of an electoral victory, and called his opponents’ evil.’/’Go home, we love, you’re very special,’ Trump said./ The president later tweeted another message./’These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace,’ Trump wrote./’Remember this day forever!'” (Macias).  

The New York Times article “Law Enforcement Draws Criticism After Breach of Capitol Building” states, “Instead an angry mob of pro-Trump extremists swarmed the barricades around the Capitol on Wednesday, spraying chemical irritants and wielding lead pipes, injuring more than 50 officers. They battered doors, broke windows and scaled the walls, rampaging through the building as congressional leaders made desperate calls for help” (Dewan). Additionally, The Guardian says five people who were killed during the raid, including a 42-year-old officer, Brian Sicknick, 35-year-old 14-year air force veteran and trump-supporter, Ashli Babbitt, 50-year-old computer programmer, and Trump-supporter, Benjamin Phillips, 55-year-old who was associated with Proud Boys, Kevin Greeson, and 34-year-old trump-supporter Rosannae Boyland (Evelyn). Additionally, Forbes has reported that another police officer, Howard Liebengood, died of suicide because of the riots (McEvoy). 

Although many outcomes and behaviors have come from this tragedy, one of the biggest is the request for Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th amendment. NPR article “What The 25th Amendment Says About Removing A Sitting President” states, “After the violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol, calls have continued to grow from Democrats and Republicans in Congress, as well as former U.S. officials, for Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution and assume the powers of the presidency” (Parks). However, another NPR article updates explaining how Pence has announced in a letter to Nancy Pelosi that he will not invoke the amendment. The House intends to move forward with impeachment proceedings (Wise). 

With new, overwhelming updates every day about everything political, it can be hard to keep up. However, maintaining a good understanding of what is going in America right now is extremely important.

 

Works Cited 

Dewan, Shaila, et al. “Law Enforcement Draws Criticism After Breach of Capitol Building.” The New York Times, 11 Jan. 2021, www.nytimes.com/2021/01/07/us/Capitol-cops-police.html.

Evelyn, Kenya. “Capitol Attack: The Five People Who Died.” The Guardian, 8 Jan. 2021, www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/08/capitol-attack-police-officer-five-deaths.

Leatherby, Lauren, et al. “Insurrection at the Capitol: A Timeline of How It Happened.” The New York Times, 13 Jan. 2021, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/01/12/us/capitol-mob-timeline.html.

Macias, Amanda. “U.S. Capitol Secured Hours after pro-Trump Rioters Invade Congress.” CNBC, 7 Jan. 2021, www.cnbc.com/2021/01/06/buildings-in-us-capitol-complex-evacuated-amid-pro-trump-protests.html.

McEvoy, Jemima. “Another Capitol Police Death: Officer Dies By Suicide After Responding To 

Parks, M., & Katkov, M. (2021, January 07). What The 25th Amendment Says About Removing A Sitting President. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/congress-electoral-college-tally-live-updates/2021/01/07/919400859/what-happens-if-the-president-is-incapacitated-the-25th-amendment-charts-a-cours

Pro-Trump Riot.” Forbes, 11 Jan. 2021, www.forbes.com/sites/jemimamcevoy/2021/01/10/another-capitol-police-death-officer-dies-by-suicide-after-responding-to-pro-trump-riot/?sh=3610c42a70dd.

“U.S. Capitol Building | Architect of the Capitol.” Architect of the Capitol, www.aoc.gov/explore-capitol-campus/buildings-grounds/capitol-building. Accessed 13 Jan. 2021.

“U.S. Senate: U.S. Capitol Building.” United States Senate, www.senate.gov/visiting/common/generic/CapitolBuilding.htm.

Wise, A. (2021, January 12). House To Vote On 25th Amendment Resolution Against Trump. Retrieved January 13, 2021, from https://www.npr.org/sections/trump-impeachment-effort-live-updates/2021/01/12/955750169/house-to-vote-on-25th-amendment-resolution-against-trump