The Capitol Hill Event Explained


Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Capitol Hill overrun with rioters who scale the walls of the building.

Abigail Gallup, Editor in Chief

On January 6th, 2021 the United States suffered a historic breach of Capitol Hill as a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol. Below details a timeline of events leading up to the event, the actual day of insurrection, as well as what’s coming to follow.

Events Leading up to the Rush of Capitol Hill: 

An Initial Call for Recounts: With the pandemic and the seriousness of the spread, mail-in voting became crucial for the 2020 presidential election. Because of the pandemic, many began to question the legitimacy of the election, and concerns of voter fraud arose weeks prior to early voting.

After Election Day and the Associated Press Certification, President Donald J. Trump began to claim widespread voter fraud and perpetuated allegations against many states with close calls, especially in Georgia and Pennsylvania. After election night and the call for investigations, many states recounted their votes by hand and machine to investigate the alleged voter fraud allegations. At this point, no one was completely sure of the validity of the election.

Attorney General and Congress Denounce Trump: After the president’s call for a recount, many individual states recounted and resulted with the same or close to the same results. Joe Biden remained to be the next President of the United States. While Democrats and Biden supporters began to celebrate, Republicans and Trump supporters at large continued to refute the election results. President Trump published his voter fraud allegations across multiple media platforms and began to refute the election.  

Capitol 1
Attorney General Barr and President Trump CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford

In the days that followed, many government officials came out supporting the voter system and the election’s legitimacy, including the Attorney General of the United States, William Barr. Attorney General Barr remarked, “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.” The refusal of Trump’s claims only fueled the tension between what now seemed to be those who supported the election’s validity and those who rejected it. At this point, it became clear how divided the Republican Party really was.


Capitol 2
Secretary of State Raffensperger and Trump Credit: USA Today AP/Getty

Georgia Phone Call: On January 2nd, 2021, Brad Raffensperger, the Secretary of State for Georgia, received a phone call from the president himself. In this hour-long conversationthey spoke about voter fraud in what seemed to be a pattern of Trump presenting a claim and Raffensperger refuting it. This back and forth only angered both sides of the phone call, and it came to a point where Trump remarked, “So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

After this phone call was leaked, the tension between Trump supporters and Biden supporters only grew. The legality behind vague threats Trump made towards the Secretary were also brought into question. Brad Raffensperger responded to Trump in a tweet saying, “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out.” After this phone call, vague impeachment whispers from politicians were heard, but no serious documents were drafted against President Trump. 

At this point, many Republicans still supported Trump in his claims about the elections validity. Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler was quoted saying that she had “real concerns” and wanted an “emergency audit.” Again, the fragility of the Republican Party continued to grow as those who support the election and those who do not continued to demonize each other. 

Trump’s Pre-Runoff-Election Rally: The day before the special election in Georgia, President Trump and his family held a rally. During this rally, Donald Trump continued to dispute the election. Trump reiterated how he had won two elections and that he had, in fact, won Georgia with great margins. This rally had thousands of onlookers both in-person and online. Trump’s supporters were definite in the belief that Trump had won, which was a continued idea after the Georgia runoff results.

Donald Trump himself opened the rally focusing on corruption and “all of the problems having to do with this election.” Trump also spoke about his phone call to the Georgia Secretary of State in saying,” They [the media] don’t like my phone call, everyone loved my phone call,” and continued to explain how this “election is your chance to stand up to the corrupt Democrat machine.” The running senators’ Perdue and Loeffler also made an appearance. Loeffler announced she would reject the election results at this rally, and Trump described Perdue as “a great gentleman,” Trump went on to say, “He loves you.”

Jon Ossoff (left) & Raphael Warnock (right) Credit: Getty Images

Georgia Senate Runoff: It’s important to mention the two Georgia runoff elections for senate seats that Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won. These two Democrats secured the Democratic majority in the senate, which was Republican pre-runoff. With these two wins, the senate splits 50-50, and the tie goes to the President of the Senate, Democrat Kamala Harris. After these two runoff elections, Democrats will control the House of Representatives, Senate, and the Executive Branch with the Presidential cabinet. Not only is this a huge change from the Trump administration, but this hasn’t been seen since 2011. The democratic win only solidified Trump’s loss, and this again angered his supporters. 

Plans to Object to the Electoral Votes Recertification: With the electoral vote certification on the horizon, Donald Trump called on many Senators and Representatives of the House to reject the certifications. Before the day of insurrection, 14 senate republicans and 140 representatives of the house planned to object to the certification of votes. 

Save America Rally Planned for the Day of Certification: President Trump planned a rally near Capitol Hill called the “Save America March.” In this rally, he shamed Vice President Mike Pence for going along with the results’ certification and called out “weak Republicans” for the same reason. Yet again, the Republican Party was divided between those who supported President Trump and those who rejected him. 

The Rush of Capitol Hill: 


Save America Rally: The Save America Rally prompted supporters to walk to Capitol Hill. Trump did not express any attempt to enter the building or commit harm to anyone. However, he verbally led the group down to Capitol Hill with a message to “fight like hell,” which could be construed in many ways. This rally was the main reason behind the numbers seen at the protest that quickly turned into a riot. 

Many other big-name Republicans spoke at this rally, including Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump Jr, and former campaign staff. Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, expressed direct support in saying, “we will have a trial by combat.” Donald Trump Jr. also made an appearance and posted a video of Trump and his team surveying the crowd in apparent approval on his Facebook. 

The Call for Help: As the day of insurrection continued, many questioned the absence of the Army National Guard. Videos of under armed law enforcement officers being stormed and outnumbered went viral across numerous social media platforms. In one video, an officer is forced to retreat as an aggressive group followed. Later reports discovered that the call for the National Guard was rejected multiple times days before.

Former Police Chief Sund: (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The officers on the ground made a call to the Pentagon as the situation took a dire turn and resulted in another rejection from a top Army official. The Pentagon responded to their inability to help by saying, “the Guard is not set up for a quick-reaction force” ( Former Capitol Police Chief Sund stated, “My concern is if they don’t get their act together with physical security, it’s going to happen again.”

The Response:

President-Elect Joe Biden responded to the Capitol Hill insurrection first in this video response. Biden says, “Let me be very clear, the scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true American,” he continues by saying, “President Trump step up.” There was criticism surrounding his rhetoric and the continual finger pointing towards President Trump. Many Americans wanted to see a collaborative and hopeful message, which Biden didn’t necessarily provide.

CNBC Television

Shortly thereafter, President Trump released the following video. Trump opened with sympathy for the rioters and again repeated how the election was stolen by saying that, “we had an election that was stolen from us.” He continued by stating that, “it was a landslide election.” Later on in the video, Trump said, “that we have to respect the great people in law and order,” and asked that his supporters “go home.” This video received a lot of backlash for his reluctance to directly share how illegal and heinous this attack on the U.S. Capitol was as he continued to support the stolen election agenda.

Denver 7

After the backlash that followed his first video, he released a second video directly denouncing the attack and actually calling it “heinous.” In this video, he addressed the attackers by saying, “you do not represent this country,” and made it clear that these people “will pay.” In this video, he again defends his past actions in contesting the election and asks for a reformation of voting laws. Later on, he promises a “smooth, orderly, and seamless transition of power” to the new administration, which he did not directly name as the Biden-Harris cabinet. 

CNBC Television

The Future: 

The future is certainly questionable as we move forward as a country. The House of Representatives, the Senate, and the current president have around two more weeks of needed cooperation to ensure democracy within the United States. 

Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) delivered a remarkable speech that received bipartisan support. In this speech, Graham says, “enough is enough; we’ve got to end it.” Senator Graham and many other Republicans supported the election results’ certification, especially after the attempted coup. Kelly Loeffler, a senator I quoted earlier as expressing support for Trump and the rejection of the results, came out and voted for the Biden-Harris certification after the attack.

Government officials are now debating how to approach the consequences given to President Trump and the best way to maintain democracy within the United States. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has asked Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment. This would call Trump unfit for duty and promotes Pence to the president position for the remaining time in office. This would require support from the vice president and the majority of Trump’s cabinet. Mike Pence has since gone on record as saying he will not invoke the 25th amendment on President Trump. Pence wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our nation or consistent with our constitution.” This leads the House to follow through with the second option.

The second option would be a second impeachment. This is a much more feasible option, and the House has already drafted the papers against Trump. This impeachment has two focuses: one that focuses on Wednesday’s actions and one that focuses on Trump’s conversation with the Georgia Secretary of State and his vague threats. CNN reported that Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, showed informal support for impeachment as it will be, “easier to get rid of President and Trumpism from the Republican party,” (

Many people see the impeachment or enactment of the Twenty-fifth Amendment as a move to only divide the Republican Party further. The Republican Party would again be forced to vote for Trump or against him. As we have seen, this vote has continued to cause great division, which is something that many Americans fear we can’t take much more of.

As the United States moves further, uncertainty remains; but the overwhelming majority of the United States government agrees that we must restore law and order and that the American people deserve security.

**As this event continues to evolve, this article will be updated with the current information.**

**This article was last edited on January 13, 2021.**