By: Sarah Govert
As I’m sure many of you know, Trump supporters attempted a coup in the afternoon of Wednesday, January 6th at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. At the time of the coup, Congress had convened to certify the Electoral College vote, a vote which would formalize the victory of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Earlier in the day, Vice President Mike Pence had informed President Trump that he would not have the power to overturn the Electoral votes, much to the chagrin of the president. Shortly after this meeting, Trump went over to the Ellipse, which is a park located near the White House, and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol, saying “We are going to cheer on our brave Senators and Congressmen and women, and we are probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them–because you will never take back our country with weakness.” He stated that he would walk with them, but he did not, and he ended up watching the events of the day unfold on television in the White House.
His supporters marched to the Capitol, where it quickly turned violent. At around 1:30 pm, the Capitol was officially put into lockdown after these insurrectionists breached the Capitol building. They “overran police lines, smashed windows, and broke in, forcing lawmakers to flee.” Pictures from this attempted coup are horrifying, showing Congresspeople taking cover on the ground, officers barricading the door to the House and pointing their guns at it, and even a rioter hanging from the balcony of the Senate Chamber. These rioters were able to get into the Senate Chamber, with one even sitting where the president of the Senate sits, yelling “Trump won that election!” While Congresspeople were being evacuated, rioters broke into their offices, with one even leaving a manila envelope in Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office with the phrase “We will not back down” written on it. Insurrectionists went as far as to bring a Confederate flag into the Capitol, the first time the flag has ever been publicly carried within its halls. Yet another insurrectionist wore a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt inside the building, a shocking and horrifying display.
In an attempt to get the protestors to leave sometime before dark, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a citywide curfew, starting at 6 pm and ending at 6 am. This curfew was ordered around 2:30 pm. Shortly after the ordering of the curfew, Trump tweeted to “Stay peaceful,” and a woman was shot on Capitol grounds by police. She has been identified as Ashli Babbitt, and she later died from her injuries. Officials attempted to mobilize the National Guard, but “Trump resisted to do more.” This situation continued on for a few more hours. President-elect Biden gave a televised speech from Wilmington, Delaware at 4 pm, calling on President Trump to “go on national television now, to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege.” At around 4:30 pm, Trump released a video on social media platforms, saying “I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you, you’re very special.” While some heeded this half-hearted call to leave the Capitol, others stayed well past curfew and into the night.
The Senate was able to reconvene at 8 pm, and the House was able to reconvene at 9 pm to continue to certify the Electoral College vote. The two houses voted to reject the objection to the electoral vote of Arizona, and the Senate and House reconvened in a joint session at around 11:30 pm. After the events of the days, several Republican Senators made the decision to remove their names from objections to the Electoral College vote from the states of Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin, making the objections not able to be entertained. However, an objection to the electoral vote of Pennsylvania was raised by 80 House Republicans and Missouri Senator Josh Hawley. The Senate and the House then reconvened to their own chambers, where the Senate voted immediately to reject the objection to the electoral vote of Pennsylvania 92-7. The House later voted to reject the objection 282-138. The Senate and House then reconvened in a joint session again, and after no more entertainable objections were presented, the Electoral College vote was certified by Vice President Pence at 3:41 am on Thursday, January 7th, confirming President-elect Biden’s win. Immediately following this certification, Trump tweeted out this from social media director Dan Scavino’s Twitter: “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th.” We can only help that come Inauguration Day, this statement holds true.