Rioters storm the U.S. Capitol

By Gabrielle Cellucci
January 6, 2021

Trump supporters outside the Capitol building. Photo by Brett Davis/Flickr
Trump supporters outside the Capitol building. Photo by Brett Davis/Flickr

During their meeting to confirm the Electoral College votes for the 2020 election, Congress was forced to go into a lockdown as rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. 

Congress had planned to meet today in order to count the Electoral College votes to confirm the next president of the United States. Meanwhile, many Trump supporters rallied outside of Capitol Hill for the “Save America” protest, in order to protest against the results of the 2020 election. Prior to pro-Trump supporters marching to Capitol Hill, some supporters of President Donald Trump spoke to the crowd, including the president himself. President Trump told the crowd that there was fraud in the election and that the “Save America” protest would be about just as the name implies. He even said that he would march with the protesters to Capitol Hill. 

As congressmen and congresswomen were reconvening to discuss the challenge towards the Electoral College votes from Arizona, those same congressmen and congresswomen were being escorted to secured locations by members of the Secret Service and the Capitol building went into lockdown due to protesters becoming rioters. Many Trump supporters clashed with police officers, broke windows and climbed the building’s walls in order to storm the U.S. Capitol. 

Trump supporters breaching the Capitol. Photo by Brett Davis/Flickr

According to CBS News, as police officers drew their guns, the Senate Chamber was breached by rioters. The mayor of Washington, D.C., Muriel Browser, announced that there would be a 6 p.m. curfew as a result of the violence on Capitol Hill. Another result of the violence on Capitol Hill resulted in a woman being shot inside the Capitol building and killed from her injuries, as reported by Washington, D.C. police. According to NPR, the identity of the woman who was killed has not been revealed as of this writing.

According to NBC News, an FBI official confirmed that two bombs had been found and one of them was at the RNC Headquarters, which has been “safely detonated.” Washington, D.C. police reported that five weapons were recovered and 13 individuals have been arrested, none of whom are residents in the D.C. area. NBC News has also reported that Trump has called on the National Guard to be sent to the Capitol. The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service were deployed to assist the U.S. Capitol Police to stop the rioters. 

Videos of the riots on Capitol Hill soon took over social media by both rioters and the politicians themselves, both Republicans and Democrats. Former President George W. Bush said that the violence on Capitol Hill was “a sickening and heartbreaking sight” and criticized the violence caused by the rioters. 

Police during the riots on Capitol Hill. Photo by Brett Davis/Flickr

“I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions and our law enforcement,” Bush said. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, had similar things to say about the riots on Capitol Hill as well. After confirming that shots were fired inside the Capitol building, McCarthy said that the riots were “un-American.” 

“We can disagree, but we should not take it to this level,” McCarthy said. “You do not do what is happening right now. People are being hurt. This is unacceptable.”

President-elect Joseph Biden appeared on national TV in the midst of the violence and called on President Trump to “defend the Constitution and demand to end this siege” on national TV as well. 

“It’s not protest, it’s insurrection,” Biden said. “The words of a president matter, no matter how good or bad it is.” 

President Trump later posted a video of himself on social media telling his supporters to go home peacefully. Though, Facebook took down this video shortly after it was posted due to their belief that “it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.” 

Trump supporters standing on the balconies of the Capitol building. Photo by Brett Davis/Flickr

As a result of the riot, there has been one casualty and several people injured and hospitalized. According to CBS News, after troops from Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. National Guard were deployed to assist with seizing the riots on Capitol Hill, law enforcement officials had announced that the Capitol had been secured. Members of the Senate reconvened around 8 p.m., and members of the House reconvened around 9 p.m. to continue counting the Electoral College votes. 

“The United States and the United States Congress have faced down much greater threats than the unhinged crowd we saw today,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “We’ve never been deterred before. And we’ll not be deterred today.”

Cabrini University President Donald Taylor sent an email out to the students, faculty and staff of the university addressing the riots that took place on Capitol Hill. In his letter, President Taylor condemns the actions taken by the rioters. He states in his letter that the violence was “disgraceful” and “deeply saddened” by these people lacking faith in America’s democracy.

“Our nation was built upon the foundation that it is the American people who appoint their leaders through an election process intended to give voice to the masses,” President Taylor wrote. “And, a bipartisan coalition of officials, judges, and everyday citizens have worked diligently to determine that November’s election was conducted and tabulated legitimately. The peaceful transition of power upholds the integrity and continuity of our democratic government. We cannot afford to weaken this enduring pillar.”

Though President Taylor condemned the violence by the rioters at Capitol Hill in his letter, some people expressed their disagreement with President Taylor’s letter on social media. Though most of the comments made on the university’s Facebook page thanked President Taylor for his message, others made comments about how the message was “too political” for them.

“As a Cabrini Alumna, this post is too political for my liking,” Casi Lee, a Cabrini alumna, said in a comment. “Nothing was ever said during other acts of violence, so why start now? It seems as if you like to pick and choose what violence is ‘necessary’ and ‘unnecessary.’ Violence is never the answer, period. No matter what political views, race, ethnicity, etc.”

Some of the other Facebook users with similar opinions compared the riots at the Capitol to the protests by Black Live Matters (BLM) last summer.

“Did you issue a message when [BLM] protestors were looting and burning entire cities, business and police stations all summer?” Maria Kemery said in a comment. She does not appear to have any relations to the university.

Those claiming that President Taylor’s message as being “too political” are either alumni, parents of alumni or have no relation to the university at all.

However, the majority of the comments on Facebook were positive in regards to President Taylor’s letter and thanked him for posting his letter. Some of the comments even defended the president’s message.

“Thank you for this statement! We will be donating and supporting Cabrini as always!” Johnny Smith, a Cabrini donor, said in a comment.

“This is awesome, proud to have earned my degree here,” Danielle Dee, a Cabrini alumna, wrote in a Facebook comment.

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Gabrielle Cellucci

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