July 18, 2024

How the turmoil at the U.S. Capitol occurred

After encouragement from President Trump, the U.S. Capitol was attacked by violent pro-Trump protestors.

Crowd of Trump supporters marching on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, ultimately leading the building being breached and several deaths.

On January 6, 2021, protestors stormed the United States Capitol Building in an attempt to stop the confirmation of Electoral College votes from the 2020 Presidential election.

How the events unfolded

On Jan. 6., Congress was expected to confirm Joe Biden as the President-elect. President Trump gave a speech that morning near the White House encouraging his supporters to walk to the Capitol and protest the conformation. Protestors arrived at the Capitol around noon.

Around 1 p.m., protesters gathered outside the U.S. Capitol and pushed past the first protective barriers leaving Capitol Police Officers to become quickly overwhelmed. Over time, protestors made it to the Capitol steps and more Capitol Police Officers arrived in riot gear.

Inside, the joint session began certifying electoral votes.

The situation outside, however, became increasingly hostile as law officials and protestors began using chemical agents against each other. After almost an hour of fighting outside, protestors gained access to the Capitol. The Senate and the House were then called into recess for their own safety.

In the midst of the attack, at 3:13 p.m., President Trump sent out a tweet.

“I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”

At 3:36 p.m. the White House press secretary announces in a tweet that the National Guard and federal forces are now on their way to the U.S. Capitol. At 4:17 p.m., President Trump releases a now-deleted video on Twitter asking the protestors to go home.

When the protestors gained access into the U.S. Capitol, they broke into rooms, stole items and engaged in fights with Capitol Officers. 

Protestors were carrying zip ties, wearing apparel with offensive language on it and carrying Confederate flags. 

Hours after declaring recesses in both the House and the Senate, the U.S. Capitol was determined safe.

Following the attack, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, announced a 6 p.m. curfew for the area.

The joint session resumed at 8 p.m. and after hours of debate, Joe Biden was officially announced as the 46th President on Jan. 7, 2021, at 3:40 a.m.

What lead to this?

On the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, the winner of a presidential election can be predicted merely hours after the polls have closed.

However, the process to officially declare the winner only begins on Election Night.

Electors from each state meet and officially record their votes around mid-December. Their votes are then sent to the Senate. The Senate and Congress meet together in a joint session to count the votes and declare the next President and Vice President of the United States.

However, objections to electoral votes can be made. It was expected that some Republican Senators would object to these votes due to claims of a fraudulent election made by President Trump.

“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 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,” Trump said to a crowd of his supporters on the morning of Jan. 6.

This was not the first time Trump encouraged his supporters to rally behind his claims of a fraudulent election.

During a rally in Georgia on Jan. 4, Trump spoke about his desire for his supporters to fight to save the country.

“If you don’t go and vote, the socialists, the Marxists, will be in charge of our country. If you don’t fight to save your country with everything you have, you’re not going to have a country left,” Trump said.

There is no evidence to prove that the election was fraudulent.

On Dec 1, 2020, Attorney General William Barr announced that there was no fraud committed that could change the outcome of the Presidential race.

President Trump still actively continues to push the idea that the election was unfair and that he won. This rhetoric is argued to have inspired the violent protest at the Capitol.

The aftermath

Four people died as a result of the attack, including a U.S. Capitol Police Officer. 

Hours after the confirmation of the electoral votes, President Trump announced that there would be an “orderly transition” from his administration to President-elect Joe Biden’s.

However, President Trump has faced severe backlash for inciting the attack at the Capitol.

Reactions throughout the globe came pouring in as the news of an attack on the U.S. Capitol by its own citizens spread.

“The scenes from the Capitol are utterly horrifying,” First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, tweeted. “Shame on those who have incited this attack on democracy.”

Twitter, Facebook and other various social media have since banned Donald Trump from their websites.

“After a close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter announced in a blog post on Jan. 8.

Senators who had to remain barricaded for hours announced their interest in invoking the 25th amendment on President Trump. The 25th amendment allows for the impeachment and removal of a President.

“Impeach,” Sen. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. 

A week after the attack, the House voted to impeach President Trump. Trump is the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

Joe Biden’s inauguration is set to take place on Jan. 20 at noon.




Edited by Gracie-lee Strange and Ashley Depew

Featured Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons