POINT: Turbulency in the Capitol


Andy Feliciotti

Photo from Unsplash.com

Shelby Fohl, Staffer

     President Trump supporters mobbed and stormed the U.S. Capitol, having Congress on lockdown and halting the House and Senate proceedings following President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory on Wednesday, Jan. 6. 

     The breach of the U.S. Capitol and President Donald Trump’s handling of the dangerous situation posed a threat and is an obstruction of justice and the voice of the American people.

      President Trump’s call for supporters to march on Congress posed a threat to those in the Capitol, those around, and to the security of Democracy. Following President-elect Biden’s win in the popular vote of the 2020 Presidential Election, President Trump continuously fueled the fire for his supporters for months on the belief of false election results. His spreading of false accusations regarding false election results was immoral and ill-use of his platform as President of the United States. His recent address influenced supporters to take physical action. Following the end of a mid-day speech, President Donald Trump called his supporters to march to Congress on allegations of a fraudulent election. This put members of Congress and Capitol workers alike in harm’s way. 

      The situation turned violent, with five confirmed casualties, pro-Trump insurrectionists armed with weapons such as guns and pipe bombs, and throwing objects, breaking windows, and pushing through barriers while confronting police officers. While President Trump tweeted at rioters to be peaceful, his words had already enacted a set goal of sieging of the Capitol. Following the start of the breach, Washington D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a 6pm curfew for D.C. residents, showing how those in the surrounding areas had to be warned of the chaos occurring close by. The mobs left a lasting effect, forcing Congress’s Electoral vote counting and debate to be halted for almost five hours, continuing that night after the attack. The riots threatened the seeing through of Democracy and the will of the people, drawing out the time to declare an official Electoral winner as the time for inauguration fast approaches.

      The siege of the U.S. Capitol fueled by President Trump’s message is an intrusion on the collective voice of the American people. Since the announcement of President-elect Biden’s win, President Trump has made unsupported claims about a rigged election against his campaign, calling for recounts in states such as Georgia and Wisconsin. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the 2020 Presidential Election was the most secure in the history of America, as states that had close elections had paper records of each vote allowing for stronger security and an easier ability for recounts if necessary. There was no evidence of lost, changed, or undercounted votes, and the paper records allowed for the clear identification of any possible errors or corrections needed. Following the Georgia runoffs for Senate seats, President Trump continued to spread misinformation that the Republicans won and took Senate seats, even though no declared winners were announced at that time. The final popular vote count had President-elect Biden as the victor with 51.4% of the votes, and President Trump with 46.8%. The votes cast are a reflection of a citizen’s views and opinions, and the people have spoken. Those who were rioting and effectively halting the proceedings of the majority popular and Electoral vote obstructs the justice of the right to vote and see the change American citizens wanted to bring in. 

      While it could be said the pro-Trump rioters were enacting their First Amendment freedom of assembly or a demonstration of fradulent voting, it was a violent, unlawful insurrection and an active target against the proceedings of Congress. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) definition of domestic terrorism describes the act committed of the Capitol siege, violently pushing a political ideology.

      The storming of the Capitol, an idea called upon by President Trump’s address to his supporters, was a danger to Congress, D.C. citizens, and Capitol workers, and was an obstruction of justice of the voice of the American people. What the insurrectionists did was an act of domestic terrorism, and President Trump used his platform to ensue these events. President Trump should admit to his fault, and address his supporters, as this act of violence was encouraged by him. His response is telling, his actions have incited violence. His words have power and meaning to his supporters, and he must take responsibility.