Chaos in the Capitol: An Attempt to Outrun American Democracy


Volunteer writer Leah Langley gives a rundown of the events of the 6th January in Washington, at the Capitol Building

On January 6th, the world was captured by the events that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol building. Rioters managed to force their way into the House Chamber and breach the seat of the U.S. democracy for the first time since the 1812 War. The rioters were made up of a mob of Donald Trump supporters who were attempting to overturn his 2020 Presidential Election defeat by disrupting the Electoral College vote count.

The mob were in the building for hours, during which time absolute chaos ensued. They looted, vandalised and ransacked offices and chambers within the building and caused for the counting of the electoral votes to be paused for several hours Improved Explosive Devices were found on the Capitols grounds and at offices of the Democratic and Republic National Committee separately. The Capitol was placed into lockdown whilst some members were able to be evacuated, and the turn of events saw 5 deaths and more than 170 cases of domestic terrorism, seditious conspiracy, and insurrection being opened.

Donald Trump received much criticism as, in a video posted on his Twitter account, he called the rioters “very special” and told them to “go home in peace.” He backed this up by, once more, calling the election results false. He also resisted sending the D.C. National Guard in as he did not want to cause any harm to his supporter. However, after pressure by his administration, the threat of removal, and numerous resignations, he made a televised statement in which he finally committed to an orderly transition of power.

In the aftermath of the chaos, resignations were seen from Trump administration officials and Capitol security officials. Some Capitol Police Officers were suspended on suspicion of involvement too. The events also saw Trump’s social media accounts being suspended and Trump was impeached for the second time, for “incitement of insurrection”, making him the only President in the history of the U.S. to be impeached twice. Trump released a video statement on January 7th in which he condemned the violence and said that “a new administration will be inaugurated,” which many saw as a concession. January 12th marked the first day that Trump was seen in public following the events. Along with condemning the attacks, he fervently denied the claims that he was responsible for the mob’s actions and confirmed that he felt his comments at the “Save America” rally had been “totally appropriate.”

The events sparked outrage all over the world with many political leaders coming forward to share their own messages about the situation. President-elect Joe Biden called the events an insurrection and said the democracy was “under unprecedented assault,” before the following day stating that the events constituted domestic terrorism. Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris backed these comments up and expressed that it was an “assault on the Capitol and our nation’s public servants.” Vice President Pence tweeted that the attack would not be tolerated and assured everyone that “those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” Aides had believed that Pence was set up as the scapegoat for Trump’s failure to overturn the results of the election and many remarks were heard in which the mob were actively seeking Pence out.

Former presidents of the U.S. also shared their thoughts on the matter with Barack Obama and Bill Clinton condemning the incitation of violence by Trump. George W. Bush released a statement in which he said, “This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic – not our democratic republic,” and stated that he was “appalled by the reckless behaviour of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today.”

Many Sovereign States also shared their disdain for the events that had unfolded with Nigerian Former President, Goodluck Jonathan, saying that “nobody’s political ambition is worth the blood of any citizen, in any part of the world.” Much of Europe also shared their thoughts on the matter with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz declaring the protests “an unacceptable assault on democracy.” Chancellor Angela Merkel, of Germany, blamed President Trump for failing to accept his defeat and expressed that both sides in elections must play their part to ensure “democracy itself remains the winner.” The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, also condemned Trump and said that he would “unreservedly condemn encouraging people to behave in the disgraceful way that they did in the Capitol.”

Header designed by Christos Alamaniotis – Assistant Head of Design

Article edited by Connor Wade – Politics Editor


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