On Jan. 6, while Vice President Mike Pence presided over a joint session of Congress where newly sworn-in lawmakers gathered to certify the Electoral College vote confirming Joseph R. Biden’s election to the presidency, a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters surged outside the Capitol.
It was not long before America’s palace of democracy fell and was placed on lockdown.
The vice president was evacuated, and congress members were told to take cover as the doors to the House of Representatives and Senate Chambers were locked. Capitol Police were involved in an armed standoff in the House chambers, and the image of a Trump supporter posing at the Senate dais quickly circulated on social media. A woman was shot and killed, the Associated Press reported.
All while the world watched, and President Trump tweeted.
What we know
Around 1 p.m., an unknown number of Trump supporters illegally entered the Capitol, pushing past Capitol Police and several barriers. Footage of Trump supporters chasing and attacking law enforcement officers through the building as they attempted to locate Congress members was released.
According to first-hand accounts of Huffington Post reporter Igor Bobic, Trump supporters ran throughout the building shouting, “Where the fuck are they?”
Protesters are on the third floor of the Senate, walking door to door, shouting “Where the fuck are they?”
They’re in the gallery pic.twitter.com/3v4XsPWl5o
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 6, 2021
According to authorities, one bomb was found on Capitol Hill, and shots were fired inside the building. One woman has died from a gunshot wound to the neck.
Trump supporters made it past metal detectors, broke windows, and stormed the Senate floor along with several other Congressional offices. A photo of a Trump supporter sitting at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk went viral.
San Diego Congresswoman Sara Jacobs, who represents California’s 53rd Congressional District, tweeted that she and her staff were safe following the breach.
My staff and I are safe. The Capitol complex remains on lockdown and everyone should stay clear of the area.
— Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (@RepSaraJacobs) January 6, 2021
Jacobs’ office could not be reached for further comment.
Trump’s lies cause no surprise
For weeks President Trump has encouraged his supporters to rally in a “Save America March” to protest the 2020 election results. Trump continues to preach falsified claims and baseless conspiracies of widespread voter fraud and has yet to condemn the violence, essentially doing the opposite, calling his supporters “special people,” and saying “we love you” in a video published on his social media accounts. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube removed the video. Twitter also took down several of Trump’s earlier tweets spouting gross falsehoods about the election and locked the president out of his account for 12 hours, citing continued violations of the social network’s civic integrity policies.
As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C., we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump Tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy. https://t.co/k6OkjNG3bM
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 7, 2021
A group of Republicans in Congress has done the same, raking in millions of dollars in campaign contributions along the way. Most notably are Senators Ted Cruz (TX) and Josh Hawley (MO), both of whom objected to the Electoral College vote certification on Wednesday.
President-elect Joe Biden addressed the nation calling upon President Trump to address his supporters. Biden called today’s riots “borderline sedition” and “insurrection.”
Across the country, San Diego State students were watching the chaos unfold.
“I was on Instagram watching people’s Insta(gram) stories when I heard the news,” computer science first-year Adekanyinsola Adewuyi told The Daily Aztec. “I wasn’t surprised when I saw it. I was like ‘Oh this again.’”
While currently in Los Angeles, Adewuyi is from Maryland and has family living just an hour from Washington, D.C.
“I called my mom to check up on her cause she is still in Maryland, and she was like, ‘what’s my business with this? I’m not going anywhere’,” Adewuyi said.
Other students were taken off guard by what many people are referring to as an attempted coup.
“I woke up to the news, and although much has happened in 2020 and I thought nothing could shock me more, I was still very shocked,” interdisciplinary studies third-year My Hoang said. “I felt betrayed by the people who were supposed to be protecting us, but sadly was not that surprised by the betrayal.”
SDSU President Adela de la Torre tweeted that she was “surprised and shaken” by Wednesday’s events.
Like many, I am surprised and shaken by the events in our nation’s capital today. Attempts to stand in the way of democratic processes and that incite violence are against everything that brings greatness to our country.
— Adela de la Torre (@PrezdelaTorre) January 7, 2021
President de la Torre, Vice President of Student Affairs & Campus Diversity J. Luke Wood and Associated Students President Christian J. Holt sent an email to the campus community highlighting resources for students, faculty and staff to rely on.
“Many of us are surprised and shaken by the violence seen in our nation’s capital today,” the email reads.
SDSU continues to offer counseling services through Counseling and Psychological Services, the Employee Assistance Program, Office of Faculty Advancement and Center for Human Resources.
More information about mental health resources offered by the university is available at the C&PS website.