A look at what happened on January 6th
After the electoral college formal votes, the Congress will convene in a joint session to certify the election result. Usually, this is only a ceremonial event, but the disturbance happened in the capitol building this year has had a much larger impact on the American Democracy than a mere certification.
A brief overview of the event
On January 6th, 2021, Congress convened in a joint session to certify the 2020 Presidential Election result, giving Joe Biden and Kamala Harris a formal win. Several members in the House and the Senate of the Republican party planned to object the result, which Democrats decried it as “anti-democratic”. The objectification of the election result was backed by many, if not most, of the members of the House Republicans, including the party leader Kevin McCarthy. However, the majority of the Senate Republicans didn’t back this move, including the Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who called the move “would damage our republic forever”. As the Congress was debating about the result, Trump had a speech in front of his supporter where he continued to claim that the election had been stolen and he was the real winner. Trump also urged his supporters to “march to the capitol”. And thus, this marks the onset of the mayhem.
The Storming of the Capitol Building
At 2:30pm, Trump supporters began to march on to the Building. They were met with minimal resistance from the Capitol Police. Shortly after, members of the Congress were told to evacuate as the police officers were being overwhelmed by the mob. The mob broke through the defensive line and stormed into the Building. From there, they ransacked, vandalized, and caused damages to the interior of the building, including the Senate chamber and members’ offices. There were reports that the police had not prepared for the riots and calls for the deployment of reinforcements had been refused by the Capitol police. The police responded with tear gas, flash bangs, and pepper spray, but the efforts were still not enough to repel the mob. Eventually, the Department of Defense called in the National Guard after reports of the Secretary of Defense initially refused to do so. Other federal agencies such as the FBI and the ATF were called in to support the Capitol police as well. By 8:00pm, the Capitol Building was secured, and Congress reconvened to continue to the certification of the election result. McConnell gave a speech proclaiming that the Senate will not be intimidated and will “We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation. We are back at our posts, and we’re going to do it tonight.” At 3:41am, Congress confirmed the outcome of the Electoral College vote, with Pence declaring that the President and Vice President-elect Biden and Harris would take office on January 20.
The Capitol riots fallout represents a security failure of the law enforcement system of the most important government building. Worse yet, there are reports and evidence that several Congressional members conspired with the insurrectionists and led them to inspect the Capitol Building a day before the riot, as well as the police opening the gate for the mob to come into the Building. Investigations are being held, arrests are being made, but one thing is certain: what happened on January 6th won’t be the only one, or the end of the period of tension which we’re going through.