January 6, 2021 – A Day That Will Live in Infamy

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Samuel Corum

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation’s capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

By Journalism Class

In the aftermath of incensed Trump supporters storming the United States Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, as the Congress and the Senate began a largely symbolic effort to formalize the election results, students, the nation, and the international community are reacting with shock and sadness.

The crowd of angry supporters breached security at around 2 p.m. and entered the Capitol building terrorizing elected officials and forcing a lockdown and an evacuation. A woman was shot and killed and three other people died of medical emergencies.

“It is incredibly disappointing to see such a large group of people who call themselves “patriots”, riot at such an important building,” said sophomore Wajiha Rizvi. “If you look at President Trump’s speech less than an hour before the riots, it is even more disgusting to see his encouragement of this terrible event.  The most disappointing event of yesterday was that for hours, the President refused to inform the national guard about this threat to the very stability of our nation.”

A couple of hours before the early afternoon rampage that many now refer to as an insurrection, President Donald J. Trump, his personal lawyer Rudy Guiliani and his son Donald Junior spoke to a crowd of supporters gathered near the White House. President Trump, who has yet to concede the election having filed nearly 60 lawsuits challenging it, had long been referencing January 6 as a day of reckoning, advised his supporters to “stay peaceful” but used seemingly contradictory words as a follow-up.

“And after this, we’re going to walk down there, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down … to the Capitol and we are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women,” Trump told the crowd. 

“And 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.”

President Trump then reiterated his claims that the election had been rigged and that the fake news media and the radical democrats were responsible.  More than 100 members of the House of Representatives had pledged allegiance to Trump by promising to object to the results of the election in key battleground states, but the vote was ultimately expected to go through paving the way for the inauguration in less than two weeks of Joseph R. Biden.

His supporters proceeded to the Capitol where they stormed through barricades, walked up the steps, broke windows and doors, and entered the Capitol.  The Capitol building was almost immediately placed on lockdown and members of both the house and the senate and Vice President Mike Pence were ushered to safety.  Reports of shots fired and general mayhem ensued as the participants entered offices and the chambers, shouting “USA,” “Stop the Steal” and “Enemy of the People” referring to the press.

The National Guards were deployed at around 3:45 pm following Vice President Pence’s orders and the district ordered a six p.m. curfew to quell the demonstrators outside of the building.  By the end of the siege, 52 people had been arrested and 14 police officers were injured.

 “The attempted coup at the Capitol was a disgrace and pure attack on our democracy, but I am unfortunately not surprised by the chaos and violence that Trump, other Republicans, and his supporters have caused,” said senior Lauren Reiser. “Trump and his loyalists have lied and spread baseless conspiracy theories about the election for months to millions of people, directly inciting them to act with violence. These people do not deserve the title of ‘protestors,’ and we need to call them what they are: domestic terrorists.”

President-Elect Joseph R. Biden, who addressed the nation on Wednesday afternoon,  criticized the mob and strongly urged the insurgents to back down. 

 “At this hour our democracy is under unprecedented assault unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times,” commented Biden. 

Members of both political parties shunned the riot and continued to do so throughout the evening.  The Congress was able to regroup and begin its session at 8 p.m. with the final vote approving the Biden-Harris administration announced at nearly 4 a.m. on Thursday, January 7.

“For now, we must focus on the task at hand: to preserve the integrity of our democracy, hold accountable those responsible for their attempts to subvert our nation’s elections and shred our Constitution apart,” tweeted New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,( D-NY)

Republican Senator Mitt Romney offered perhaps the harshest criticism of all.  

“We gather due to a selfish man’s injured pride, and the outrage of supporters who he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning,” Romney, Republican of Utah and the 2012 presidential nominee, said after the chamber reconvened. “What happened here today was an insurrection incited by the president of the United States.”

World leaders reacted with similar shock and dismay as well.

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, said  “Disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress. The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.”

Jens Stoltenberg, a Norwegian politician Shocking scenes in Washington, D.C. The outcome of this democratic election must be respected.”

In a pre-recorded message later in the day, President Trump said this:  “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. Remember this day forever!”

Following the official vote early Thursday morning, he claimed there would be an orderly transition on Jan. 20. He was forced to use an adviser’s account as his Twitter account was suspended.

 Students continued Thursday to react.

“It is an American tradition to accept the outcomes of the election with respect,” said sophomore Sophia Kim. ”Though protesting allows you to exercise your freedom of speech, there is no clause in the Constitution that gives you the freedom to vandalize the nation’s Capitol building. Protest peacefully.”

“It was a complete embarrassment that what our country stands for is decreasing in strength each day,” said sophomore Trisha Vyas. “After 9/11, security has increased for the protection of people in government buildings. To see rioters have the chance to break in completely destroys the strength that our country should have. One way or another this was an act of terrorism and it’s sad to see that even in 2021, a year of change, is off to a scary start.”  

“I was shocked and disappointed that our citizens have reacted with such disgrace. These riots are unacceptable from a country as “advanced” as us,” said junior Manuela Gonzalez. “As for Trump condoning this sort of violence on social media I did not expect anything less than that as he has repeatedly tarnished and disgraced our country’s reputation repeatedly.”

“People will compare the violence occurring during BLM protests to the rioting of yesterday, but forget to consider those who committed violence were not fighting for the same positive cause that those who peacefully took a knee were,” said sophomore Emily Sawyer. “The security and tactics used to stop those “protesting” yesterday do not even compare to what was used during BLM protests, where the intention was to raise awareness to centuries of oppression, as opposed to wreaking havoc due to the results of an election

“The blatant favoritism and privilege of these Trump supporters has never been so blatant,” said junior Celine Kim. “It is embarrassing to have such an uncivilized turn of power, similar to those in third world countries, and terrifying to have a president that supports and promotes fascism and could very well be compared to Hitler.”