Democracy falls as the US Capitol building is mobbed by right-wing extremists

Incited by Trump, right-wing extremists breached the Capitol building to halt the election confirmation proceedings Jan. 6


John Minchillo, The Associated Press

Police use pepper spray on rioters in front of the Capitol earlier on Jan. 6. These rioters were protesting the certification of November’s election results by Congress. Many Creek students are furious at the actions of the rioters. “I’m extremely angry,” Creek sophomore Emily Michel said. “The hypocrisy in this country astounds me.”

Carly Philpott, News Editor

Thousands of rioters have descended on the United States Capitol. Representatives and Senators within have been evacuated to adjacent buildings and normal Congressional proceedings have been halted.

“[This is] something we haven’t seen since the War of 1812,” news anchor Rachel Maddow said on a live MSNBC broadcast. “The storming of the Capitol.”

Many congresspeople are currently locked down in their offices, while others have been evacuated. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Vice President Mike Pence were evacuated when security risks began to crop up and their whereabouts are not publicly known.

Representative Jason Crow (D-CO), who represents CO District 6, a district that covers much of Creek students and faculty, was trapped in the House Chambers with several other representatives as right-wing extremists broke windows and kicked down doors less than a hundred feet away.

Representative Jason Crow (D-Colo) shelters in the House Chamber as rioters break in. “I got into ranger mode,” Crow said. (Andrew Harnik, the Associated Press)

“I got into ranger mode a little bit,” said Crow, who is also an Army combat veteran, to the Denver Post. “Most of the members didn’t know how to use the emergency masks, so I was helping them get their emergency masks out of the bags and helped instruct a bunch of folks on how to put it on and how to use it. I wasn’t going to leave the House floor until every member was gone, so I waited until we were able to get everybody out.”

The FBI apprehended and dismantled multiple apparent explosive devices within and surrounding the Capitol. Around the nation, the Capitol isn’t alone.

“One [explosive] device was found at the [Republican National Convention],” said Michael Schmidt, a New York Times Washington correspondent. “[The Democratic National Convention] had been evacuated over a similar concern.”

Many state capitol buildings, including Colorado’s, have been closed as protestors gathered around the nation. Several have been mobbed, in states such as California, Kansas, Georgia, and Louisiana.

The rioters are protesting President Donald Trump’s loss of the 2020 election. Congress was supposed to certify the results of the electoral vote today, Jan. 6, but those proceedings were halted.

President Trump has been shockingly silent on the riots, even subtly encouraging them and citing incorrect information about the election.

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” Trump said in a Tweet that has since been deleted by Twitter. “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”

Trump’s Twitter account has now been locked for 12 hours.

Many Americans, including several politicians, are calling for Trump’s immediate removal from office. Some are asking Vice President Pence to cite the 25th Amendment in removing Trump from the presidency. The 25th allows the cabinet to remove the president from power if they are deemed unfit to serve. Meanwhile, many representatives are calling for impeachment, including Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn).

“I am drawing up Articles of Impeachment,” Omar said in a tweet, after being evacuated from the Capitol. “Donald J. Trump should be impeached by the House of Representatives & removed from office by the United States Senate. We can’t allow him to remain in office, it’s a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath.”

Other representatives gave phone interviews from their offices while they were locked down, many expressing anger with the president and his supporters. All of them made it clear that they were going to be returning to the Capitol as soon as possible to continue with election proceedings.

“We cannot allow these thugs, traitors, terrorists, to destroy our democracy,” said Representative Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz). “[They] will not stand in our way. They are traitors to our country, traitors to our Constitution.”

Some Republicans have also been calling out the actions of the rioters at the capital. “What happened at the U.S. Capitol today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States,” said Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

Other Republicans are hesitating to call out the president, but have made it clear that they believe that the actions at the Capitol today are unacceptable.

“We cannot keep drifting apart into two separate tribes… with separate facts, and separate realities … with nothing in common except hostility toward each other and mistrust for the few national institutions that we still share,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kent).

Meanwhile, some Republicans refuse to denounce the rioters at all. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Misso) is under fire for posing next to the protests with his fist up in encouragement.

Many are noting an extreme double standard when it comes to protest response in this country, citing violent police responses to largely peaceful racial justice protests throughout the summer, while few people have been injured or arrested in these riots by police. At least one woman has been fatally shot, but the origins of that shot are as of yet unclear.

Creek students are also angry, with many taking to social media to express their anger at the situation in D.C.

“The hypocrisy in this country astounds me. The fact that these people are getting away with this [but] people at peaceful BLM (Black Lives Matter) protests were getting gassed and shot at with rubber bullets is insane,” said sophomore Emily Michel. “There is a horrible double standard in this country.”

Update: Jan. 6, 9:26 pm MDT – Congress has reconvened. Both the House and Senate have voted against objections to the legitimacy of the electoral votes and will soon enter a joint session to certify the election. In the Senate, only six Senators voted for the objections, one of whom was Sen. Hawley.

Update: Jan. 7, 10:20 am MDT – Early this morning, Congress officially certified the electoral votes, making Joe Biden the official president-elect and Kamala Harris the official vice president-elect. Sen. Hawley, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and President Trump are being labeled as instigators and seditionists by people across news organizations and politics. Trump’s Instagram and Facebook accounts have been banned until Inauguration, according to a statement by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Four people have died as a result of yesterday’s riots; multiple police officers were injured, but only two were injured severely enough to still be in the hospital this morning. 52 arrests were made last night and several more have been made since; police have released photos of wanted people who were present at the riots.

This story won first place Breaking News from CSMA.