January 19, 20201 / Source: The Bizz USA
By Elizabeth Insuasti; Edited by Adya Kumar and Haarika Kalahasti
On January 6th, 2021, the country was faced with a shocking turn of events. It appeared to be a rally or protest. In a matter of moments it turned into a riot. Terms such as assault, *insurrection, and even a coup attempt have been used to describe that day. More than seventy have been arrested, and the FBI continues numerous investigations, expecting many more. Following the breach of security, the House voted to impeach Trump due to his role in encouraging and inciting the siege.
Despite there being major debates on referring to the BLM protests last summer as riots, there has been a somewhat collective agreement in calling the January 6th occurrence a riot. Words such as rebellion or revolt have also been largely avoided, in order to not place the siege in a heroic light.
On that Wednesday afternoon, law enforcement officers were confronted with a crowd of Trump extremists, waving ‘Trump 2020’ flags, wearing apparel with the phrase ‘Keep America Great’ printed, and yelling, “Trump won that election.” These rioters were able to successfully break through and descend upon hundreds of lawmakers certifying the presidential vote. Fortunately, all congressmen and women had been successfully evacuated. The Trump supporters took numerous photographs and filmed themselves as they broke windows, vandalized the rooms, and pushed past barricades. It took just over four hours for the National Guards' additional troops to arrive, and shortly after that the capital was declared secure and cleared out. Senators were brought back into the Senate chamber to complete the certification of electoral college votes, officially confirming Joe Biden’s victory.
These extremists were clearly rallying behind the words of President Donald Trump who has refused to accept the election results. That same day, the president had called on his supporters to march on the Capitol and protest. He was unaware that those words would ignite the deadly riots that left five dead, dozens of others injured and damaged the country’s reputation for carrying out peaceful transfers of power. Not only did it tarnish America’s image but it also revealed the government’s insufficiency to defend against an attack on the Capitol.
According to Merriam-Webster, insurrection is defined as “an act or instance of revolting against civil authorities or an established government.”
Despite numerous social media posts from the protestors depicting their violent intentions being made days prior to Wednesday, federal agencies and the Capitol Police did not raise alarm nor take any preparatory actions. The revealing posts even included photos of weapons and planning of the logistics.
The President’s response to the violent mob’s actions was to tell his supporters, “it’s time to go home now I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us,” he said in the video, which has since been removed from Twitter. “It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side.” “But you have to go home now,” he said. “We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt. It’s a very tough period of time, there’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened, where they could take it away from all of us. From me, from you, from our country. 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. You’ve seen what happens, you’ve seen the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel, but go home and go home in peace.”
Following the Capitol breach, over a dozen House Democrats called for Trump’s impeachment, along with several Republican lawmakers calling for his resignation. CNN reported that Stephanie Grisham, Chief of Staff to First Lady Melania Trump formally resigned following the events, along with the White House social secretary, Rickie Niceta, and deputy White House press secretary, Sarah Matthews.
Both Republicans and Democrats have condemned the siege, calling it “despicable” and “unacceptable”.
“What we are seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent, it’s disorder,” President-elect Joe Biden tweeted.
The House impeached President Donald Trump on Wednesday, January 13th, for the second time in a span of merely thirteen months, and for the fourth time in American history.
The Senate plans to hold the trial on Tuesday, Jan. 19th, just one day before Biden's Inauguration, which will determine whether Trump is to be convicted and potentially prevented permanently from ever running for any federal office again.
"I believe impeaching the president in such a short time frame would be a mistake,” said Kevin McCarthy, a Representative of California, during the debate. "No investigations have been completed. No hearings have been held,” he continued. “A vote to impeach will further fan the flames of partisan division.”
"For months, our cities burned, police stations burned, our businesses were shattered, and they said nothing," said Representative Matt Gaetz. “Some have cited the metaphor that the president lit the flame. Well, they lit actual flames."
The impeachment vote follows a House vote calling on the Vice President to enact the 25th Amendment, removing Trump from office due to his inability to act as president. Pence informed Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he would not invoke the 25th Amendment, stating he did not believe "such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution."
"He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government," states the five-page article of impeachment. “He thereby betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States."
During these debates, Trump, having recently been banned from Twitter, released a statement urging that “there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers,” he said.
Amidst of all the chaos and strife, a lot still hangs in the balance and it is unclear what President Trump’s fate will be. As of right now however, despite Trump’s continued refusal to accept the terms of the election results, President-elect Joe Biden has been declared winner and will be inaugurated on Wednesday January 20th.