• Current Events
Claire Wilson

This article by Claire Wilson '24 gives a recap of the events that occurred in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021, and how America is healing.

“I am in the House Chambers. We have been instructed to lie down on the floor and put on our gas masks. Chamber security and Capitol Police have their guns drawn as protesters bang on the front door of the chamber.”

Rep. Dan Kildee tweeted this from the Capitol building at 2:52 pm on January 6, 2021. At the time, protests had been going on for more than three hours in response to current president Biden’s election.

January 6, 2021 started about as calmly as any day on Capitol Hill. Congress convened at 11:30 am for a joint-session meant to decide on certifying Joe Biden as president-elect, but the session did not begin until 1 pm. At the same time, Donald Trump was preparing to give a speech to a growing crowd outside the White House. Trump begins his speech at noon, declaring to his supporters that the election was fraudulent and calling for then vice president Mike Pence to “stand up for the good of the Constitution and the good of the country.” Pence responds saying that he is there mainly for ceremony and will not attempt to affect Congress’ decision. Meanwhile, Trump supporters gather in multiple state capitols and outside of the Capitol Building, eventually storming the outer police barrier at 1 pm.

The situation only increases from there. Arizona and Texas both object to recounting ballots, and the Senate and House split up to discuss objection separately. Outside of the building, a second wave of protesters join the first wave at the Capitol and force the police to retreat into the building. Only about half an hour after, the protesters reach the building and break in - some actually smashing windows to enter. This causes the Senate and House to go to recess as the building goes on lockdown. From Twitter, Trump encourages protesters at the Capitol building and state capitols. By 3 pm, a protester was shot, and tear gas was released in the Rotunda. Trump sends the National Guard to the Capitol while urging for peace, and multiple other states send state troopers to their capitols. Joe Biden gives a speech asking for Trump to call off his supporters as many protests around the country turn violent. Trump replies by tweeting for his supporters to go home as the 6 o’clock curfew for D.C. begins. However, it is not until 8 o’clock that the supporters left and the Senate was reopened. Senate certified Biden as the 46th president at 3:42 am the next day.

However, the effects of the January 6 insurrection lasted long after its 24 hours were up. In the year since the protest, the Department of Justice has been in charge of an ongoing criminal investigation, and a House committee investigation has also been starting to pick up pace. The Department of Justice has already charged hundreds of protesters for things such as assault of a law enforcer and destruction of property, and they are determined to bring everyone to justice. Immediately after January 6th of last year, Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives, with a vote of 232-197. The article of impeachment was given to the Senate on January 25, and the impeachment trial began on February 3. However, The trial ended with Trump being acquitted on February 13. Trump and his administration have undergone a series of lawsuits since January 6, one having been as recent as this month. Despite the results of January 6, Trump still has a strong hold on the Republican Party, with Republicans divided between standing with or against him. Trump is currently working on getting ready to run for office in 2024. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has worked to try to keep Trump out of office and use the events of January 6 to bring attention to their side of many political discussions. In short, the events January 6 have seemed to further polarize the two main political parties of our country.

On the one year anniversary of January 6, President Biden gave a speech at the U.S. Capitol. In his speech, he talked about the importance of unity and bipartisanship in America. He also spoke of former President Trump’s actions during January 6, stating, “the former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election. He's done so because he values power over principle. Because he sees his own interest as more important than his country's interest and America's interest. And because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our constitution. He can't accept he lost. Even though that's what 93 United States senators, his own attorney general, his own vice president, governors and state officials in every battleground state have all said: he lost.” Biden’s stance is one that is common in America, and one that is common in the Democratic Party. He presents the facts of January 6 and takes the same stance he took a year ago on January 6, 2021: Trump instigated the attack through his actions and lack of actions.  He also takes the time to recognize those who lost their lives and the overall hardship of the day. He acknowledges that it was a dark day for America, but that while democracy is hard, America is working together towards brighter days. At the end of his speech, Biden declares, “So now let's step up. Write the next chapter in American history, where January six marks not the end of democracy but the beginning of a renaissance of liberty and fair play.” With that plan in mind, America continues to work out and heal from the events of January 6, something that can only be done through unity and democracy.