January 6th Events Timeline

Donald Trump’s Riot Response

Piper Z.

January 6th was the day that Congress certified the electoral votes that each state in the US had submitted. Usually this would be a quick and easy process, but there has been much controversy over the validity of the election results, so each time a state with a disputed outcome would be certified, members of Congress would debate the legitimacy of the electoral votes submitted. The members of Congress were debating the results of the Arizona election when they were told that they were on lockdown. There was a gathering of armed Trump supporters that were under the impression that the election was ¨stolen¨, breaking into the Capitol building where they were accrediting votes. Many believe it was the intent of the mob to disrupt Congress so that they could not certify votes that they felt were invalid. Trump’s response to events throughout the whole thing had many shocked, and it began with a Trump rally that was held in Washington D.C.

Before: Speech

The speech that Donald Trump made at his ¨Save America Rally¨ held only a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol began like most of his speeches. Trump first began by bringing up a common topic with him and his followers, ¨fake news¨, even saying ¨The media is the biggest problem we have as far as I’m concerned.¨ Trump made a quick turn from talking about ¨fake news¨ to the topic he spent most of the speech talking about, which is what he states to be a ¨rigged election¨, and revisiting the topic of pressuring his Vice President, Mike Pence, into overruling congress on their decisions of the electoral votes, something that he is legally not allowed to do. 

Throughout the entire speech Trump had gotten a positive reaction from his supporters with clapping, chanting and cheering, and the speech proceeded as expected but a few quotes and moments turned heads, especially when connecting them to the events that followed the rally. Donald Trump, for instance said, ¨We fight like hell and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.¨ and the more famous one, ¨We will never give up, we will never concede.¨ Not only Trump made remarks like these, Lara Trump said, ¨We are in this fight to the bitter end.¨ His son, Eric Trump said, ¨We need to march on the Capitol today, and we need to stand up for this country.¨ His lawyer, Rudy Giuliani even saying, ¨Lets have trial by combat.¨ These, however, are only some of the incriminating things said at the rally implying violence, and many others, before the rally, dating all the way back to November using words like ¨ the fight¨ and ¨revolution¨ and several even saying we need to fight on January 6th.

During: Social Media

At around 1 pm in Washington D.C., the mob moved from the rally to the Capitol and began to feud with security and police at the Capitol steps, where they would soon break into several chambers and offices including the Senate Chamber where at the time, official electoral votes were being debated. 

This progressed for quite some time and while many awaited the president’s response, they were only followed with silence until 2:24 pm, nearly one and a half hours after the riot began, when he tweeted this: ¨Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a correct set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!¨ The tweet of course referring to Trump’s expectations that his VP would invalidate the electoral college votes, which is not a legal function of Pence’s position. 

A few minutes later, at 2:38 pm, we heard from Trump again when he tweeted: ¨Please support our Capital Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!¨ That came long after chaos and violence at the Capitol erupted. 

Trump tweeted again at 3:13 pm. ¨I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in a Blue. Thank you!¨ That was posted roughly twenty minutes after reports of his supporters forcefully entering the chamber in which Congress was meeting, and reports of shots fired went public. 

After several hours of news and media calling on Trump to do something and discourage what was happening, including president-elect Biden saying in a speech during the attack, ¨Therefore, I call on president Trump to go on national television now.¨ Trump released a video that has since been taken down during his media collapse for inciting violence and praising rioters by saying things like, ¨we love you,¨ and ¨you’re all special.¨ when referring to his followers at the Capital. 

After: Silence

The video he posted caused so much commotion and uproar that several social media platforms felt the need to suspend, ban, or in some way punish his accounts, to prevent him from causing more damage after the attack. The most newsworthy of these of course being Twitter. Twitter had already begun taking minor actions by labeling some of his posts discussing his opinion on the election with ¨This claim about election fraud is disputed.¨ 

The company, however, took much more forward action after the events of January 6th unfolded. They locked Trump’s accounts, saying that access would not be returned until he deleted 3 tweets that Twitter deemed a violation of its content policy. Twitter also banned @POTUS and @TeamTrump accounts after Trump tried to circumvent the ban of the @realDonaldTrump account by posting on those. On top of that, several Pro-Trump accounts were banned, flagged or restricted, such as pro-trump lawyer Lin Wood, Trump’s lawyer himself Rudy Giuliani, a former White House Cheif strategist Stephen Bannon, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., and more. Each was banned because they made false claims about the riot and conspiracies about the events. Twitter even came out with a statement, released and 3:21 pm on January 8th saying, ¨After close review of recent tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them, we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.¨ Several more companies and owners or leaders of companies came forward with a statement clarifying their action involving the president’s accounts including Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Reddit, and Twitch. 

Meanwhile, Congress resumed the process of certifying electoral college votes, and after being targeted by Trump supporters, many had shifted their views on the election results, leaving us with several momentous statements from members of Congress supporting the results in the submitted vote-count. After the attack several signatures supporting the objections were retracted, and all but one were denied before being debated because they did not meet the standard of being signed by a Senate member and a House of Representatives member. The only one congress debated was the last objection, Pennsylvania. In the end, they had certified each submitted vote for each state in the US and declared Joe Biden and Kamala Harris president and vice president elect.

After each of these events unfolded, the house of representatives voted on January 13 to impeach the now former president, Donald Trump, on the charge of inciting insurrection. 232 members voted in favor of the objection, 10 of which were from Republican members, the others being Democrats. 197 members voted against the objection, all of which were Republicans. It is, however, still debated whether or not it is constitutional to impeach a president that is already out of office. Throughout this process and the many political events following the attack on the capitol, Trump has stayed fairly silent.

Since one of the most traumatic political events in modern US history, 5 people have died and several more are severely injured as a result of the riot on January 6. One of the most important things, however, is the action authorities have taken to charge the rioters. At least 150 people have been charged by the justice department, with charges ranging from conspiracy to commit offense, to obstruction of an official proceeding, to violent entry/disorderly conduct, and several more. As of now, the justice department has more than 400 open cases being investigated. Still, there are so many questions to ask and topics to discuss; the comparison between this mob and the BLM protesters, the Capitol police’s response, how society will change after this attack, how the Biden administration will handle things differently, and so on.