It has been one year since the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building. The day was marked with an address to the nation by President Joe Biden as well as a moment of silence on the floor of Congress.
Five people lost their lives as a result of the attacks as the mob of rioters descended on the Capitol building, vandalizing the structure and assaulting police officers. One rioter was fatally shot by police. Three more people died from medical emergencies.Read More »
President Addresses Nation
The president addressed the nation with a somber yet firm speech held Thursday morning in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol. Biden held back no punches when talking about his predecessor, former President Donald Trump. While he never addressed Trump by his name, he left no doubt that he blamed the former president for attempting to undo the American principles of democracy.
The president spoke for just under 30 minutes, pleading his case that the country must come together and decide to fight against the threats to democracy by Trump and the rioters who stormed the Capitol building. Biden referenced “the former president” 16 times throughout the speech, accusing him of lying, failing, and losing.
Moment of Silence on Floor
There was a moment of silence on the House floor led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Prior to the moment of silence, Pelosi honored the hundreds of law enforcement officers and congressional staff who went to battle against the rioters on the day of the attack.
Pelosi called these officers and staff “defenders of our democracy” while hailing them for their courage and patriotism on this fateful day. The speaker credited these officers for clearing the Capitol so that Congress was able to return to work later that night to carry through the peaceful transfer of power.
Pelosi also applauded the lawmakers for returning back to the floor to certify the Electoral College votes despite the trauma of the day.
Former Vice President Cheney Speaks Out
Former Vice President Dick Cheney was also on the floor of the House during Thursday’s commemorations. He was there alongside his daughter, Rep. Liz Cheney. In a statement earlier in the day, the former Vice President conveyed his disappointment in many fellow members of the Republican Party for failing to recognize the seriousness of the January 6 attacks and the threat that continues to plague the nation.
As a continued vocal opponent of Trump, Liz Cheney is the current vice chair of the House select committee investigating the insurrection.
The former vice president spent time visiting with House members, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff.
Congress Gives Back to Capitol Workers
There was an air of hope in the halls of Congress on the day of the anniversary when a group of lawmakers decided to pay it forward and thank the officers and building workers by serving them lunch. Known as the gallery group, this group of lawmakers partnered with World Central Kitchen to provide the lunch to Capitol staff, including police officers.
According to Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips, the group invited about 800 Capitol police and staff to enjoy the lunch. Phillips recognized that January 6 was a terrible day for everyone at the Capitol building, not just the members of Congress.
Former Trump Press Secretary Speaks Out
The former press secretary of Trump, Stephanie Grisham, is speaking out about her previous boss. Grisham announced Thursday that she is part of a group of former Trump administration colleagues that are planning to organize and meet next week with the goal of stopping the former president from his plans to divide the country further.
Grisham said the group will discuss ways to formally stop Trump and his brand of extremism and violent rhetoric. While Grisham did not list specific names of the group, she said there were about 15 of her former colleagues that are on board with the effort. Grisham said that they have already had informal discussion but next week’s meeting will be more formal in nature.
History of the Day
It was right about 2:30 pm ET on January 6, 2021, when a group of rioters scaled the walls outside of the Capitol building. The mob stormed past police to gain entry to the hallowed halls of Congress.
Once inside the Capitol, the rioters freely roamed the halls and offices of the building. Many of the rioters posed for pictures inside Statuary Hall and while sitting behind the desks of lawmakers. The group eventually made their way into the Senate chamber.
Then-Vice President Mike Pence was forced to evacuate from the Senate floor as he was beginning the proceedings to certify the Electoral College votes. Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa was also evacuated as the third in line of succession to the office of president.
Quick-thinking staffers had the foresight to grab the boxes of Electoral College ballots so that they were safe from the mob.
About 20 minutes after the building was breached, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser mandated a citywide curfew beginning at 6 pm and lasting until 6 am the next day.
Officers were finally able to clear the rioters away from the floor of the Senate about one hour after the chaos began. Trump dispatched the National Guard to the site at 3:36 pm.