The breaching of the U.S. Capitol

STANDING BY THE PRESIDENT: thousands of Trump’s supporters make their voices heard on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Photo courtesy of

Kate Hedger | Student Life Editor

January 8, 2020

The events that unfolded in Washington D.C. on January 6 seemed to be straight out of a Hollywood script, not real life.

On January 6, 2021, Congress was set to open and count the certificates of the electoral votes from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For some Trump supporters, this day was seen as the final chance to flip the election in Trump’s favor. They believed that Vice President Mike Pence would be able to reject the electoral votes for certain states, triggering possible recounts that could flip the election to Trump.

Though there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, President Trump insists that the election was stolen from him and his supporters. A large number of Trump’s supporters believe his claims and, as a result, refuse to accept Joe Biden as the President-Elect. 

“I find it immature how so many people including our president are incapable of respecting the outcome of the election,” senior Anna Dillbeck said.

Around noon on January 6, President Trump began speaking to a huge crowd of supporters at a rally. “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,” he said. Following this, thousands of people marched to the Capitol building. The rowdy crowd was soon able to breach police lines and scale walls in order to make it past the Capitol police and security. The rioters largely outnumbered the police and were left with a disturbing amount of free rein in the Capitol building. 

Rioters were caught on film and in photographs breaking windows and stealing federal property, and there were claims of shots fired on the floor of the House chamber. There is also evidence of people taking photos on the House and Senate floor with no law enforcement in sight.

RICHARD BARNETT with his foot on Nancy Pelosi’s desk. Photo courtesy of

One man, identified as Richard Barnett, from Gravette, Arkansas, made it all the way to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. “I wrote her a nasty note, put my feet up on her desk,” he said. 

Throughout the afternoon and evening, people pointed out the hypocrisy of police not stopping vandalization of government property, but using violent force on BLM protesters this past summer.

“The Black Lives Matter protests, at their core, represented America’s frustration over the detrimental effects of white supremacy,” senior Ella Hersch said. “The storming of the literal United States Capitol building by terrorists with confederate flags was, at its core, an act of white supremacy. One movement was (physically) beaten, and the other was met with a ‘we love you, you’re very special, but go home’ [Trump’s message to the protesters]. Clearly, the lasting effects of the racist foundation of America are far from over.”

Though there wasn’t nearly as much police force at the Capitol storming than at the BLM protest at the Capitol, some police still got involved. Four people died, at least 68 arrests were made, and 14 officers were injured, according to D.C. police chief Robert Contee.

“I think what happened yesterday at the capital shows yet another example of white supremacy,”senior Anna Dillbeck said. “It is unbelievable how BLM protesters, while protesting peacefully, were tear-gassed, shot with rubber bullets and arrested, but the police did nothing when Trump supporters violently destroy a symbol of our democracy.” 

THIS WALL DIDN’T WORK EITHER: protesters scaled a wall to get to The U.S. Capitol. Photo courtesy of New York Times

During the chaos at the Capitol, people were calling on President Trump to make a statement. Some Americans were less than pleased about the video Trump posted, telling the rioters he loved them and to go home and be safe. The video has since been taken off of Twitter and he was suspended from the app for 12 hours.

Around 8pm, Congress reconvened and continued counting electoral votes. Republican party leaders like Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Mike Pence have accepted the legitimacy of Biden being elected. They claim that Trump’s call for Mike Pence to interfere with  the results of the election is offensive to democracy.  

In the aftermath of the incident, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, alongside other Congressmen (mostly Democrats), are pushing for the 25th amendment to be invoked. The 25th Amendment states that if the Vice President and a majority of other officers submit a written declaration that the President is no longer able to fulfill the duties of the office, the Vice President assumes the power of Acting President. Pelosi threatened that if this does not happen they will move forward with impeachment for a second time. Until Wednesday, the Capitol had not been breached since the war of 1812. Those in Congress largely blame President Trump for enabling the incident. 

While some refer to this as “domestic terrorism,” others call it a protest of government. No matter what you call this event, we will all remember January 6 as the day the Capitol building was breached, and the 2020 election as the first non-peaceful transfer of power in our country’s history. 

1 Comment on The breaching of the U.S. Capitol

  1. I think it’s also important to recognize that many individuals who support President Trump do not support the actions those individuals took on Wednesday. I absolutely agree that this was a terrible moment in our country – many foreign leaders are commenting on how the US has lost the ability to comment on their election process, as we demonstrated an inability to adhere to a basic premise of democracy, which is the peaceful transition of power.

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