February 7, 2021
Following a rally for former President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021, Trump supporters formed a mob and made their way to the Capitol to protest Congress’ certification of the presidential election. It is believed by many politicians, some of whom later voted to adopt an article of impeachment, that Trump incited this riot by telling the rally to march to the Capitol. Much of the organization of the protest was organized on far-right social media platforms including Parler and Gab.
Capitol police were quickly outnumbered, and rioters climbed scaffolding to reach the door of the building. The first barrier was breached around 1 p.m. Congress members were still being escorted out of the building when the first rioters made their way into the Capitol at around 2:15 p.m. Members of Congress were given gas masks and led down into the tunnels below the Capitol as police barricaded doors to keep rioters out. During the protest, one woman was shot and later passed away. Three other protestors died of medical emergencies, and one police officer died from sustained injuries.
Once inside the building, rioters ransacked the premises, breaking into offices and waving confederate flags. Several protesters made their way into Nancy Pelosi’s office and one stole a sign from her room. Police officers stood by, asking rioters to leave but not attempting to physically expel them.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a citywide curfew starting at 6 p.m. on Jan. 6 and continuing until 6 a.m. on Jan. 7. Bowser later extended this emergency until Jan. 21. Many lawmakers called on Trump to call off the riot, and around 3 p.m., he tweeted and urged his followers to remain peaceful, but made no attempt to call them off. Former Vice President Mike Pence tweeted shortly after, saying that everyone at the Capitol must leave. President Joe Biden also urged Trump to tell the rioters to leave during a news conference in Delaware.
The chaos continued until Pence activated the National Guard, who arrived at the Capitol around 5:30 p.m. and began to force the protesters out. Finally, Trump tweeted out a video where he urged the mob to go home—amidst claims that the election was rigged. His video was flagged on Twitter and taken down. His account was locked and later on completely suspended. Following this, Trump was also banned from Facebook and Instagram.
Lawmakers began to call on Pence to remove Trump from the office using the 25th amendment. The 25th amendment states that if the current president is unable to perform his duties, the vice president can take his place. Eventually, Congress reconvened and continued the certification process. Only four Republicans who were originally going to oppose the certification changed their minds due to the events of the day. 147 Republicans still voted to oppose the results. Eventually, the certification was approved, and Biden was set to become the next president.
Pence did not invoke the 25th amendment, but Trump was impeached 232 to 197 on Jan. 13 for inciting violence, making him the first president to be impeached twice. The Senate impeachment trial began on Tuesday, Feb. 9.