Confused? How and Why the Capitol Riot Occurred

Dominic Sama, Staff Writer

Jan. 6 was slated to be the day that members of the newly sworn in 117th Congress certified the result of the electoral college where President Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential Election. Then-President Trump told voters that, with the primarily vote-by-mail system, there was widespread voter fraud that contributed to a win for Biden.

Trump’s legal team, led by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, decided to wage lawsuits in each of the six battleground states where Trump lost by close margins: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Trump had defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton four years ago in each one of those states, except for Nevada.

To be exact, the Trump campaign waged 62 lawsuits in an attempt to stop or overturn the results. Of those 62 lawsuits filed, 61 were struck down while one was ruled in Trump’s favor. However, in that lone winning case in Pennsylvania, it did not help Trump in the end.

In a United States Supreme Court with a 6-3 conservative majority, Trump was also beaten given how they rejected two different efforts to overturn the results in Pennsylvania. The first case was challenged by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), and the second case was challenged by Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Georgia’s votes were recounted three times by request of the Trump campaign and ended with approximately an 11,000-vote difference in favor of Joe Biden. More of the same happened in the other states and the electoral college could finally convene on Dec. 14, certify their respective state’s votes, and send it off to Congress where they would certify the entire result altogether with Biden winning 306 electoral votes over Trump’s 232 electoral votes.

Trump instructed Vice President Mike Pence to speak out against the result and not to cooperate with the certification from Congress. This is a man who has been loyal to Trump since the day he was chosen to be the running mate. Realizing that it was his constitutional duty to watch over these results without any pushback from his boss, Pence chose to break with Trump and plan to certify the results in favor of Biden and Pence’s successor, Kamala Harris.

After losing Pence, President Trump made a last-ditch effort to overturn the results by repeatedly tweeting to his supporters that he was going to host a rally in Washington D.C. to protest the certification of the election results on Jan. 6—one last hurrah before he leaves office.

Thousands of Trump supporters gathered in Washington to support the president’s claim that the election was “stolen” from him. They were so infuriated over the results that a large number of supporters fought with Capitol Police and eventually stormed the nation’s Capitol while Congress was inside and about to either vote to certify or object to the results.

The security details of Vice President Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rushed them both to safer ground where they wouldn’t be found by the angry protestors as they broke into the Capitol. Other members of Congress were in a shelter-in-place lockdown huddled with staffers and fellow members.

The protestors eventually gained access to both the Senate floor and the House floor where some sat in the Speaker’s and Senate President’s chairs while others were on the floor ransacking the place, fiddling with papers, and trying to find a way to help Trump win. One was caught on camera saying, “I think Cruz would want us to do this, so I think we’re good”. That quote refers to Texas Republican Senator and staunch Trump backer Ted Cruz. Chants were being shouted out, “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!” Speaker Pelosi’s office was also invaded and ransacked as were other lower-ranking representatives.

Five people have been confirmed dead as a result of the riot. Police Officer Brian Sicknick was beaten and succumbed to his injuries. Four protestors also died in the midst of the riot. Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed while trying to climb into the Speaker’s lobby through a window.

Kevin Greeson, a peaceful protestor, suffered a heart attack on the sidewalk away from the rioters. Rosanne Boyland was killed in a crowd of people while trying to fight with police. Benjamin Philips suffered a stroke, and it is unclear if he was in the middle of the riot or if he was peacefully protesting.

As a result of the catastrophic event, the Democratic House of Representatives, led by Speaker Pelosi, moved to impeach former President Trump for a second time as he left office, charging him for inciting an insurrection. A trial in the Senate is slated to begin on Feb. 9.

All in all, to many Americans, this was a day to look upon in shame. This was an embarrassing day as our democracy came under attack. Foreign nations were not able to look at our country on Jan. 6 —like they always have — as the model of a democratic republic. The rioters took it too far when they decided to get physical with the police and trespass into Capitol Hill.

After the insurrection, however, strength was shown when Congress came together later that night to resume the certification of the results. There were also a few surprises from the Republican side as there were Senators like Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), James Lankford (R-OK), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Mike Braun (R-IN) who were originally intending on objecting, but after the events that unfolded earlier that day, they decided to join their Democratic colleagues in a bipartisan way.

The display of American strength and unity inside Capitol Hill shows that the Nation’s Capital will continue to be a beacon of hope where we can continue to look toward as our guiding light throughout the good and bad times as proud Americans. This is our opportunity to unite as a Nation and show the World that we are better than what was on display Jan. 6.

In the wise words of Rocky Balboa, “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

America has dealt with many shortcomings in this young 21st century, but every time we get hit hard, we get up, come together, and continue to stand strong for the sake of our great country.