US president Donald Trump has been banned from social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat. According to a statement by Twitter, Trump was banned because his messages could cause people to act violently. (This is known as “inciting violence.”)
Many of Trump’s messages before the ban have been proven to be lies. For instance, he tweeted that he won the recent US election, when he in fact lost both the Electoral College and the popular vote.
The things Donald Trump says and posts have an effect. His posts are believed by many of his supporters.
Rioters break into US Capitol
Around 3 p.m. on January 6, thousands of Trump supporters illegally broke into the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. They were angry because they believed (incorrectly) that Trump had won the November presidential election.
The Capitol Building is where US lawmakers meet. On January 6, members of the US House and the Senate were meeting to confirm the number of Electoral College votes each state had cast for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. That process makes it official that Biden and Harris will be the next president and vice-president of the United States.
At noon on January 6, before the process took place, Trump spoke to a massive crowd of his supporters. He told them to walk to the Capitol to “take back our country.” He suggested they “show strength.” And that is exactly what they did.
Within an hour, thousands of Trump supporters had gathered on the grounds of the Capitol. They tore down metal barricades in front of the Capitol, smashed windows and broke into the building where Congresswomen and -men as well as Senators were conducting the certification.
They walked through the halls and into people’s offices. They tried to break into the main meeting room but police prevented them from entering. The Senators and Congresswomen and -men were rushed to safety.
Some of the rioters had weapons. There were so many of them, they were able to overtake the relatively small police and security forces in the building.
President-elect Joe Biden went on television from Wilmington, Delaware. He urged Trump to tell his supporters to stop the violence.
After more than three hours, Donald Trump posted a video telling his supporters to go home. However, in that video he also told them “we love you” and he continued to insist (incorrectly) that the election had been “stolen” by the Democrats. That video has since been removed from social media.
At 5 p.m., police began bringing the rioters, mostly white men, out of the Capitol Building and by about 5:50 p.m. they had secured the building and the riot was mostly over. Some people compared this relatively calm police action to the violent way in which police have sometimes treated peaceful protests by Blacks in the past.
The mayor of DC declared a rare 6 p.m. curfew. A curfew is an order for people to be inside their home by a certain time. However, the rioters ignored the curfew and the police did little to enforce it.
Although the riot delayed the confirmation of the votes for a few hours, the members of the US House and Senate–led by current US vice-president Mike Pence–decided to continue working into the night until the US election results were confirmed.
The riot caused some lawmakers who had originally objected to some states’ vote counts, to change their mind and accept the results more quickly. This was the opposite of what the rioters had been hoping to do.
Confirmation of the Electoral College votes
Late into the night, Vice-President Pence confirmed the states’ Electoral College votes and confirmed that Joe Biden had won the presidency.
The FBI and other law enforcement organizations are now searching for the rioters, arresting them and bringing charges against them.
In the coming weeks and months many things will happen because of the events of January 6. For instance, many Democrats are calling for Donald Trump to be impeached again and removed from office.*
The world will watch to see what happens to him, to the rioters and to the Republican Party that Trump leads.
In any case, on January 20, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.
UPDATE: On January 13, the US House of Representatives impeached President Trump, making him the only president in US history to be impeached twice. Note: On January 14, this article was edited to change “Wilmington, Virginia” to the correct “Wilmington, Delaware.”
THINK AND DISCUSS
- A lot happened on January 6. Create a timeline, showing the times of the events mentioned in this article. Add in any other events you know about that happened on that day.
2. The US Capitol Building is sometimes referred to as a “symbol of democracy.” What does that mean? How does that relate to the January 6 riot?
3. Point of view: Pick a person (or even an object) involved in this event. Tell the story from their viewpoint. Now, pick someone with a different viewpoint and tell the story again. How are the two stories the same or different?
4. The journalist who wrote this article has a point of view. What do you think her viewpoint is? Do you think this article is biased (leans in favour of one group or another)?
5. What are some of the things that may happen in the near future as a result of the January 6 Capitol riot?
6. US president Donald Trump has been banned from posting messages on Twitter and other social media platforms. How do you think he can now get messages to his supporters? Try to come up with three or four things he could do.
7. The “Capitol” Building is spelled differently from a “capital letter.” Are there any other definitions of “capital” and “capitol”? https://www.dictionary.com/e/capital-vs-capitol/
8. About three hours after the rioting started, Donald Trump posted a video with a message to his supporters. What did he say to them? How do you think they responded to that message?
9. Journalists from all over the world were at the Capitol to cover the confirmation of the Electoral College votes. They witnessed the riots and some were even caught up in them. Describe why journalism is important, and the challenges faced by journalists as they covered the January 6 events at the Capitol.
10. While this was happening, the world is suffering from a pandemic. Is the pandemic relevant to this story, and if so, in what ways? (Or, why not?)
January 5, 2020 TKN article about the first impeachment of Donald Trump: