Storming of the US Capitol


Two weeks ago, on January 6, 2021, far-right Trump Supporters led a riot in the US Capitol. People watched in shock as Trump supporters battled police and descended the halls of Congress, shattering windows and waving Trump flags in the process. Congress members had been counting Electoral College votes to assure the results of the election when the breach occurred. They successfully evacuated the Capitol during the attack, however four rioters and two police officers were later reported dead. 

A Timeline of the Riot

File:DC Capitol Storming IMG 7935.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

The day had begun with Trump’s “Save America Rally” speech. During his speech he had said, “And after this, we’re going to walk down there, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down… to the Capitol and we are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women.” Thousands of Trump supporters then walked to the Capitol. Around 1 in the afternoon, lawmakers gathered in the House of Representatives chamber to confirm the Electoral College votes. Around 1:10 PM was when rioters began battling police on the Capitol steps. At 3:51 PM about 1,100 troops from the DC National Guard were mobilized to support local law enforcement. Around 4 PM, members of Congress were escorted out of the Capitol. Finally, at 8 PM they reconvened to continue the counting of the Electoral College votes. 

The Events Leading Up to the Riot

Demonstrations in support of Donald Trump - Wikipedia

The roots of the riot are traced back to the results of the presidential election. Several extreme Trump supporters claimed the election had been stolen, starting social media echo chambers on Facebook called “Stop the Steal”. These groups were shut down, but far-right Trump supporters just moved to less-restrictive social media sites including Parler and Gab, where an organization of the pro-Trump rally gathered momentum.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the event was that it was publicly pronounced by Trump himself. On December 19th, he had tweeted, “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th… Be there, will be wild!” 


The underwhelming number of police at the riot was heavily criticized by the public. Many people were quick to compare the number of police officers assembled during the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer. People on social media pointed out how different the police response would have been if the people lined outside the barriers were Black. The alternate scenario raised many questions. Several videos surfaced showing a number of officers pulling down barricades for the rioters. In another instance, an officer stopped for a photo with one of them.

Along with the criticism regarding racial injustice, the riot has brought much attention to the Capitol Building and its multiple levels of security failure. According to Chris Swecker, CEO of Swecker Enterprises and former acting executive assistant director of the FBI, the failure that allowed the Capitol Building to be overrun was the lack of adequate pre-planning.

The events that occurred on January 6th led to over 50 criminal cases being opened against Trump extremists who engaged in violence. Sources claim that over 80 rioters were arrested. 

Soon after the riot, Trump’s Twitter account was banned. Momentum for impeaching Trump a second time was rapidly growing among Democrats and even some Republicans. This included Congress members House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Democrat Representative Ted Lieu of California, and several others.

Shortly, just a week after the riot, on January 13th, Donald Trump was impeached a second time. This was the first time in history that a president was impeached more than once. House Democrats introduced only one article of impeachment against Trump stating, “incitement of insurrection.” The president “willfully made statements that encouraged—and foreseeably resulted in—imminent lawless action at the Capitol”.

Two weeks after the event and several lawmakers plus 38 police officers have tested positive for coronavirus.