One Year Anniversary of the Capitol Insurrection


Mostafa Bassim

Supporters of former President Trump clash with authorities in the Capitol building’s Statuary Hall.

Sharon Sun

On January 6, a year ago, a mob of at least two thousand individuals stormed the US Capitol building – a number confirmed by the US Department of Justice. The attack occurred at the same time of a joint session in Congress that would see legislators finalize the count of electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election; as current President Joe Biden was projected to lead in the election a year ago, the count in the Capitol would see him formalized as the president-elect. 

Before January 6, the former president seeded claims about election fraud, urging his supporters to rally ahead of the Congressional count and support his challenge to President-elect Biden’s victory. Early in the morning of January 6, Mr. Trump tweeted “Democrats scrounging up votes from mystical places again…”; late in the morning that day, he announced on Twitter that it was a “rigged election!” as votes were being collected for the count (Source: American Presidency Project, which indexes presidential messages, remarks, and public papers). 

In a White House statement during the morning of January 6, Mr. Trump continued to warn that President Biden would be “an illegitimate president” and encouraged his followers to “fight like hell” and “take back [their] country” (Source: Associated Press Fact Check). He explicitly announced in his speech that “[the Democrats] did fraud,” and “when you catch somebody in a fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules” (Source: Transcript of Trump’s Speech at Rally Before US Capitol Riot by US News).

An hour later, attendees of the rally streamed towards the Capitol building. As such, it’s widely accepted that the crowd was intent on disrupting the Electoral College vote count in Congress that would formalize President-elect Biden as the new Commander-in-Chief.

According to NPR News’s timeline, at around 2pm on January 6, protesters reached the doors of the Capitol building and attempted to break in. Upon breaching the building, the mob flooded into Statuary Hall, flooding into other chambers of the Capitol and causing extensive physical damage, vandalism of historic arts and items, as well as theft of government property (namely of officials’ laptops and hard drives). The House and Senate counting processes were paused as Congressmen were evacuated from the chambers as well as documentation for the electoral college.

By 6pm, authorities cleared the last of the rioters from the building and bomb squads swept the Capitol to check for any hazards left behind. Before the siege, two pipe bombs had been discovered near the building by passersby and were safely resolved by authorities, heightening safety concerns, as stated by The New York Times. At 8pm, authorities indicated that Congress would be safe to reconvene, so leaders gathered together once again in the Capitol building to resume the count, with former VP Mike Pence leading the Senate session and Speaker Nancy Pelosi the House of Representatives. Late past night and into the morning of the next day, Congress confirmed President Joe Biden’s victory at 3am. 

Deeply interested in world politics, Thomas Xiao (12) offers his own viewpoint on the insurrection. “I think that in a democracy, we need a peaceful transition of power and accept that elections don’t always go our way,” he says. “I don’t believe that what happened on January 6 should have happened at all, but with the events leading up, it was obvious that [Mr. Trump’s] supporters wouldn’t take it well.”

Though the siege was a mostly one-day affair, it left lasting ripples on the political scene. President Trump was impeached a second time on the grounds of having incited the insurrection (later acquitted) and remained unable to overturn the results of the electoral college. He was also indefinitely banned from the Twitter social platform. On the back of the Capitol storming’s one year anniversary, it was an eventful affair that won’t be like to leave our memories soon.