Yesterday, as lawmakers gathered on Capitol Hill to certify election results, a mob of Trump supporters also congregated in Washington D.C. to mount an insurrection at the behest of the president. The certification vote, typically a routine process, was thrown into chaos after President Trump and some of his allies in Congress continued to make unfounded claims that the presidential election was fraudulent.
Scenes from the Capitol showed a mostly white mob breaking windows and parading around the chambers with little resistance. Questions around police presence and force linger in the aftermath as elected officials begin to distance themselves from the president.
Listen: Reflecting on the insurrection at the Capitol.
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Dearborn representing Michigan’s 12th Congressional District, says she was on the floor of congress when yesterday’s chaos began. Quickly, Congresswoman Dingell says, lawmakers were evacuated to safety. After the Capitol was secured, it was important for lawmakers to return to the floor to do their jobs, says Dingell, stating that our democracy was under attack. Going forward, she implores Americans to not take democracy for granted. “All of us, I don’t care who you are, everyone is an American first of all and all of us have to work to keep Democracy safe,” says Congresswoman Dingell.
Congressman Andy Levin, a Democrat from Bloomfield Township representing Michigan’s 9th District, says he never thought he would see what happened yesterday in the United States’ Capitol. He adds that racism is being used to conjure up hate and division. “Until we tackle income and wealth in this country, until we give poor and working people a chance… I’m worried structurally that we’re going to be in this soup of demagoguery and using racism to whip people up,” says Congressman Levin.
Eugene Scott covers identity politics for “The Fix” in the Washington Post and is the host of “The Next Four Years,” a podcast exploring the outcome of the 2020 election and what comes next. In regards to President Trump’s refusal to concede the election, Scott says that the voters have spoken: “The reality is that voters in many states that have large Black populations, large urban populations, and other groups of marginalized people, have said they don’t want Trumpism to continue,” says Scott. He adds that the insurrection at the Capitol was the culmination of what’s gone on for years, not just the last several weeks.
Scott also expressed deep frustration and disappointment with the seemingly lax nature of some of the Capitol police. “It has been deeply perplexing to many of us who are on the ground here in D.C. and have been for years and wondered why law enforcement couldn’t just… carry out the oaths they made to protect the people who visit this city,” says Scott.
Web story written by Clare Brennan.