“We will never concede…. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved,” President Donald Trump said at a rally just south of the White House on the morning of January 6.1 “Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.” After the president concluded his remarks, rally attendees—who believed, incorrectly, that Vice President Mike Pence had the power to reject Electoral College votes during the largely ceremonial congressional count and certification of the election results—walked to the U.S. Capitol building and gained entry by force, though some officers of the U.S. Capitol Police were recorded moving barricades aside to let the mob through.2 3 4 5 “We’ve just got to let them do their thing now,” one officer told a reporter.6 Once inside, many of the insurgents stole art and photographs wandered around, destroyed property, livestreamed, and posted selfies to social media.7 Members of Congress, their aides, and journalists were removed to secure locations after rioters breached both chambers, though many were forced to hide in closets and conference rooms for hours.8 Rosanne Boyland, a QAnon believer with a don’t tread on me flag draped across her shoulders, was either trampled to death by fellow protesters or collapsed while inside the Capitol Rotunda; Brian Sicknick, a Capitol policeman who had an account on Parler, a social media app favored by the right that was among the platforms used to plan the attack on the Capitol, was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher during a clash with rioters and later died from his injuries; Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran and QAnon believer who had struggled with civilian life, was fatally shot in the neck by a Capitol Police officer while attempting to enter the Speaker’s Lobby; an Alabama man suffered a fatal heart attack and a Pennsylvania man experienced a fatal stroke in the crowd outside the building; and a Capitol Police officer died by suicide three days after the insurgence.9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!” the president tweeted during the riot.17 Mike Pence certified the results of the 2020 presidential election at 3:41 am on January 7.18 Missouri senator Josh Hawley, who was photographed pumping his fist to a crowd of Trump supporters before the attack and was among six Republicans who objected to the certification after it ended, had his book contract with Simon & Schuster terminated.18 19 “This is the Left looking to cancel everyone they don’t approve of,” wrote Hawley in a statement posted to Twitter. “I will fight this cancel culture with everything I have.”
In a caucus call, Nevada representative Steven Horsford told his colleagues he thought the unrest in the U.S. Capitol was “an inside job,” implying a tactical alliance between the Capitol Police and rioters.20 Multiple Republican lawmakers, including John Wiik, a South Dakota state senator; David Eastman, an Alaska state representative; and Jim Olsen, an Oklahoma state representative and the chair of the House Committee on Elections and Ethics, blamed the violence and property destruction on Antifa, communists, Black Lives Matter, and other leftist agitators who had infiltrated the group, while the Q Shaman—aka Jake Angeli, aka Jacob Anthony Chansley—who stormed the Capitol wearing a horned fur hat and with visible neopagan and neo-Nazi tattoos, was smeared online as a crisis actor.22 23 24 25 26 27 28 South Carolina representative Jim Clyburn told reporters that his iPad had been stolen from an unmarked office.29 “Whip Clyburn’s iPad is safe and sound. In the chaos on Wednesday, a staffer moved it to a more secure location and other staff was unaware,” a spokesperson for Clyburn later clarified.
Pro-Trump rallies concurrent with the storming of the U.S. Capitol took place at the state capitols of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington, most of which, though peaceful, were attended by armed protesters.30 When asked by reporters whether a guillotine was permitted on the steps of the capitol, the Arizona Department of Public Safety stated that officers monitoring the rally were “aware it’s there.”31 YouTube announced that it would penalize accounts that uploaded videos about election fraud and, after a third violation, remove them.32—Annie Geng