Opinion: Riots at the U.S. Capitol

January 6th was one of the darkest days in United States History when insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol in an attempt to halt the count of the Electoral College. Many of those involved cited former President Trump’s claims that there was significant voter fraud in the swing states, which aided Joe Biden in his path to the presidency, as the basis for the attack.

Many news outlets and credited sources across the country have reported and acknowledged that there was no evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election but Donald Trump remained firm in his stance that there was significant voter fraud in this past election. These words from the former President and his staff resulted in protests and riots in Washington D.C. Since the former president kept insists that there was widespread voter fraud across the nation, many believed that the election was stolen and was not conducted in a free and fair manner.

Former President Trump stated various times during his “Save America” speech that we need to “fight” in order to save our democracy. On the other hand, the former president stated that he and his supporters were going to peacefully march to the Capitol to show their support for the brave men and women who are going to challenge the results of the election. His whole speech was a bag of mixed words. People at the rally were most certainly angered by the result of the election and subsequently chose the violent route over peaceful protest.

These deadly riots resulted in the death of 5 people including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick of South River, New Jersey. The riot also resulted in the injury of dozens of civilians and police officers.

A bulk of the insurrectionists were also seen not wearing masks or social-distancing during the riots, which seems to have resulted in Police Officers on duty contracting COVID-19. According to KCRA.com, 38 Capitol Police Officers tested positive for COVID-19 after the results of the pushing, shoving, and close contact the officers had encountered during the riots. As of now, we do not know whether or not these officers who contracted COVID will now suffer long-term health effects due to the virus and the ignorance of all the people who stormed the Capitol on January 6th. 

Without question, the storming of the Capitol was going to be brought to the House of Representatives to debate whether or not this incitement of violence on Capitol Hill was an impeachable offense on the former president. Vox.com created a poll and concluded that most Republicans do believe that Donald Trump bears no responsibility for the attacks on Capitol Hill. But, on the other hand, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (The Strongest Republican in Congress) blames Trump fully for what occurred in the capitol. Mitch McConnell stated “The mob was fed lies,” and “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.” The Senate Minority leader has increasingly shown more and more frustration in Donald Trump with the role that he played in the insurrection. 

Republican Senator Pat Toomey from Pennslyvania stated, “We witnessed today the damage that can result when men in power and responsibility refuse to acknowledge the truth. We saw bloodshed because a demagogue chose to spread falsehoods and sow distrust of his own fellow Americans. Let’s not abet such deception.” Other big-name Republicans also agree that a majority of the fault is in the hands of the former president. A majority of House and Senate Republicans do not bear the fault on the former President but condemn the violence that took place in the capitol. 

All in all, January 13th, 2021 was a significant day in United States History. On this date, we saw the second impeachment of Donald J. Trump. This is the first time in United States History where a president of the United States has been impeached twice on two different counts of impeachment. President Donald J. Trump was impeached in 2019 on counts of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress and in 2021 he was impeached on a count of incitement of violence on the United States Capitol. 

The official trial in the house of representatives was a total vote of 232 Yea – 197 Nay. The vote to impeach President Trump was a bi-partisan effort with 10 House Republicans voting to impeach him with the rest of the House Republicans voting not to impeach him since it would hurt the country more than it would benefit it. A bi-partisan effort was unquestionably necessary to show that it was not just a democratic effort to impeach the Former President to help show that this impeachment was necessary for our country. 

What’s Next? 

Now that the House has impeached Donald Trump for the 2nd time we now wait for the trial in the United States Senate. To convict Donald Trump of his incitement of violence on the capitol 67 out of 100 members of the Senate must find him guilty. If ⅔ majority in the senate convict Donald Trump it would disqualify him from running for office again in 2024. Under the Former Presidents Act of 1958, Trump would also lose his lifetime pension, an annual travel budget, and funding for office and staff. The former president would still be entitled to Secret Service protection, but Congress could vote to ensure he loses that right. 

But for now, all we could do is hope that the newly inaugurated president Joe Biden can help unify this country, get the vaccine into millions of Americans’ arms, put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, revive the economy and create racial equality for all.