Implications of Capitol Hill Attack
By Simar Thind
Volume 1 Issue 4
January 20, 2021
Image provided by The Associated Press
On January 6, 2021, Donald Trump held a rally in Washington D.C. to call on politicians to reverse the results of the election. By making claims to his supporters that action must take place to “Save the Steal” and vocally denying the outcome of the election, Trump contributed to the violent rhetoric that allowed for the attack on Capitol Hill to take place. This was planned. Extremists planned the January 6 insurrection, and the evidence is apparent on many conservative websites (Timberg). Many wonder about the lack of security preparations leading up to that day.
Protesters holding Blue Lives Matter flags while fighting the police to trespass into the Capitol building truly captures the irony of that day. In the moment, we could not comprehend the full picture of the attack. However, as we slowly see footage that pieces together the events, the brutality reveals itself. Rioters shout threats against Vice President Pence and the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Pipe bombs and guns were found at the scene. Members of Congress were under lockdown and hid for their lives (Reeves). Terrorists trespassed into the building as windows were broken and officers trampled, some holding zip ties to handcuff lawmakers (Timberg). Anti-Semitic symbols and Confederate flags accompanied pro-Trump signs among the crowd. Five people died during the attack; one rioter was shot, one police officer was beaten to death, and three others died after facing medical emergencies (Healy).
Horrific; undemocratic; cruel; despicable; barbaric. We do not use the word “love” when describing domestic terrorists, but it seems like President Trump did not get the memo. He attempted to reverse his actions of inciting violence at his rally by tweeting a video telling rioters “We love you and you’re very special…but go home…” (Caldwell).
The failure of security and threats on their lives pushed Congress to confirm Biden’s presidential win that next morning, having the opposite effect the rioters intended. Following the confirmation, Trump conceded the election, stating that a new administration would rise to power without explicitly mentioning Biden or Harris. He claims he wants a peaceful transfer of power, but later tweeted that he would not attend the inauguration; his reasons for this are not stated. The incident acts as a harbinger of bad luck for Trump’s political future. Many urged Pence and the cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment, which would declare Trump unfit for the presidency and have Pence take his place until the inauguration on January 20th. The path to removing Trump from power through this method remains unprecedented. House Democrats have pushed an alternative option. Headed by Pelosi, they formally introduced their plan to impeach Trump to hold him accountable for his role in inciting the insurrection, and the number of Republicans supporting the impeachment continued to grow (Wagner). To this date, this second impeachment has passed the House. Much remains uncertain due to the limited amount of time before the transition of power.
The exposure of vulnerabilities and potential risks of national security must be discussed. Due to this event, the United States is vulnerable to attacks from foreign entities as well as domestic threats. The attack portrays the U.S. as weak to the outside world. But that is not our biggest worry. Currently, the FBI warns of potential insurrections surrounding the inauguration in all 50 state capitols (MacFarquhar). Hopefully, states heed warnings this time around as tensions continue to escalate. Many governors’ personal safety is at risk. For instance, Gov. Brad Little of Oregon and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan both faced plots for their kidnapping.
The insurrection poses many questions for the American public to consider. First, why was there more security for Black Lives Matter protests than this incident, especially when there was evidence of its planning on the internet? Further investigations will take place to evaluate the lack of security and to ensure the safety of state capitols throughout the nation. Second, is America a true democracy? It is a fact that the presidency allows certain corruptions to occur. When a man such as Donald Trump is elected President with no experience in politics and less than a majority of the popular vote, we must evaluate the system. Furthermore, we cannot allow anyone to contribute to violence that threatens national security, especially (and ironically) the President of the United States. We must remember that all government officials are public servants, and when they fail to govern a nation effectively and are a symbol of hatred and violence, the public must urge their removal from office.
Many members of Congress state January 6th, 2021 a day that will live in infamy. Now we must consider how this incident will shape the country and whether the nation can grow from it, or if we will become further divided. As students, our responsibility concerns always evaluating all sides of a multi-faceted issue and behaving with empathy.
Caldwell, Travis. "Trump's 'We Love You' to Capitol Rioters is More of the Same." CNN, www.cnn.com/2021/01/07/politics/trump-history-comments-trnd/index.html.
Healy, Jack. "These are the Five People Who Died in the Capitol Riot." NY Times, www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/us/who-died-in-capitol-building-attack.html.
MacFarquhar, Neil, and Mike Baker. "State Capitols on High Alert, Fearing More Violence." NY Times, www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/us/politics/state-capitols-protests-trump.html.
Reeves, Jay, et al. "Capitol Assault a More Sinister Attack than First Appeared." Associated Press, Jan. 2021, apnews.com/article/us-capitol-attack-14c73ee280c256ab4ec193ac0f49ad54.
Timberg, Craig, et al. "Capitol Siege Was Planned Online. Trump Supporters Now Planning the Next One." The Washington Post, www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/01/09/trump-twitter-protests/.
Trump, Donald J. "'Save America' Rally Speech." Rev, 6 Jan. 2021, www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/donald-trump-speech-save-america-rally-transcript-january-6. Speech.
Wagner, Meg, et al. "House Pushes to Impeach Trump after Deadly Capitol Riot." CNN, www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/trump-impeachment-news-01-11-21/index.html.