US Capitol Riot & its Impact on Trump’s Legacy
US Capitol Riot
On January 6, 2021, a mob of supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol in an attempt to overturn Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential election. Prior to this, at a “Save America” rally on the Ellipse on January 6, Trump told his followers that they would be marching to the Capitol to “show strength and be strong”. Moreover, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, called for “trial by combat” and Trump Jr. threatened the president’s opponents by saying “we’re coming for you”, and called for “total war”. Called to action by Trump and his allies, his supporters gathered in Washington, D.C., and began marching to the Capitol and overwhelming police barricades. In support of Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election had been “stolen” from him, many protesters became violent and attempted to locate lawmakers to take hostage and harm, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Pence, who refused to overturn the electoral vote count.
As the rioters infiltrated the Capitol, the building was put on lock down and security evacuated the Senate and House of Representatives chambers. Eventually, rioters broke into the empty Senate chamber, though federal law enforcement officers were able to defend the evacuated House floor. The offices of many members of Congress, including Pelosi, were looted and vandalized. Even various explosive devices were found on the Capitol grounds.
Eventually, the crowd was dispersed from the Capitol, and the counting of the electoral votes was completed in the early morning hours. Pence declared President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris victors and affirmed that they will assume office on January 20. Overall, five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died from the events, while dozens more were injured.
The storming of the Capitol was variously described as treason, insurrection, sedition, domestic terrorism, and an attempt by Trump to carry out a self-coup or coup d’état. Opinion polls showed that a large majority of Americans disapproved of the storming of the Capitol and of Trump’s actions leading up to and following it, although some Republicans still supported the attack or did not blame Trump for it. The FBI opened more than 160 investigations into the events, and the House voted (232-197) to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection,” marking it the first time in history that an American president has been impeached two times.
This 2nd impeachment is much different than Trump’s 1st impeachment in December 2019. In his first impeachment, Trump was charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for allegedly attempting to coerce Ukrainian officials to provide election interference against then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. However, he was acquitted in the Republican-coontrolled senate. On the contrary, this time, ten Republican House members supported Trump’s second impeachment. Following this, the Senate plans to begin the impeachment trial on January 20, right as Joe Biden starts his presidential term. However, an impeachment conviction would require at least seventeen Republicans to vote across party lines to get the two-thirds majority needed. Nevertheless, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) believes that this impeachment will make it easier to rid the Republican Party of Donald Trump, once and for all. If McConnell supports conviction, GOP sources state that Trump almost certainly will be convicted by 67 senators in the impeachment trial. If Trump is convicted, he may be barred from running for any future governmental office for the rest of his life.