Democratic Lawmakers Give Emotional Testimony On Experiences Of Capitol Attack

Written by on February 4, 2021

Democratic lawmakers spoke on the Home ground on Thursday, delivering emotional testimonies of their experiences on Jan. 6, the day that armed, pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who earlier this week gave a play-by-play of the moments she thought she was going to die throughout the assault, organized a “particular order” hour for almost a dozen lawmakers to talk to their very own trauma after surviving the riots. 

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) recounted how she needed to flee the identical Capitol twenty years earlier on Sept. 11, 2001, and noticed the smoke from the airplane that hit the Pentagon. 

“We heard the phrases ‘hurry up, get out,’” Jackson Lee mentioned of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. As she and different colleagues heard taking pictures, “we crouched and a few of my good colleagues and I started to hope.” 

“White supremacy, insurrectionists and home terrorism is not going to prevail,” Jackson Lee mentioned of the rioters, a few of whom carried Accomplice flags, hung nooses and wore racist symbols.

Talking from the exact same room the place he and over a dozen colleagues needed to shelter on Jan. 6, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) described how lawmakers “needed to take cowl behind our seats” and “struggled to activate our gasoline masks.”

“We all know the sound of the breaking glass, of the screams, of the furnishings being moved in entrance of the doorways,” Phillips mentioned. “We all know what it looks like trying to find one thing, something to defend ourselves and realizing a pencil is about all we had … pondering that it’s an actual chance that we might not see our households and family members once more.”

Phillips, who’s white, then choked up as he recounted how he had urged Democratic colleagues to combine with Republicans in order that they could be protected from the right-wing mob. 

“I spotted mixing in was not an possibility for my colleagues of shade,” Phillips mentioned. “I’m sorry. For I had by no means understood, actually understood, what privilege actually means.” 

Different Democratic lawmakers had been moved to tears as they described an armed mob descending on lawmakers as they had been certifying the U.S. election outcomes. 5 folks died within the mayhem, together with a Capitol Police officer. 

Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, one of many first Muslim ladies elected to Congress, broke into tears as she recounted how she’s repeatedly obtained loss of life threats since being in workplace, together with on her first day as a congresswoman. 

“I didn’t even get sworn in but and somebody wished me lifeless,” the Democrat mentioned, including how extra threats got here through the years, together with one mentioning her son by title. “The trauma from simply being right here, present as a Muslim, is so laborious.”

Whereas Tlaib was not on the Capitol throughout the Jan. 6 assault, she spoke of how she worries “every single day” for the lives of her employees, a few of whom are queer or  Black and certainly one of whom wears a hijab. “I urge my colleagues to please take what occurred on Jan. 6 critically,” she mentioned.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) — who’s a longtime activist for Black liberation and who wore a masks printed with the title of Breonna Taylor, a Black lady killed at house by police in Kentucky final yr — condemned the “white supremacist assault on our nation’s capital.” 

Bush mentioned she was within the Home gallery on Jan. 6 when she left to see what was occurring outdoors and noticed a crowd approaching. She fled to her workplace, the place she watched on tv because the insurrectionists breached the doorways.

Bush used her time on the Home ground on Thursday to ship a message to her Republican colleagues:

“If we can’t stand as much as white supremacy on this second, as representatives, then why did you run for workplace?” Bush requested. “How can we belief that you’ll handle the struggling that white supremacy causes on a day-to-day foundation within the shadows in case you can’t handle the white supremacy that occurred proper in entrance of you in your own home?” 

Rep. Mary Homosexual Scanlon (D-Penn.) learn a letter signed by almost 400 congressional employees members “as a result of they don’t typically have a voice on this ground.”

“Our office was attacked by a violent mob making an attempt to cease the election vote rely. That mob was incited by former President Donald Trump and his allies, a few of whom we move within the hallways,” the staffers wrote. “Because the mob smashed by barricades, broke doorways and home windows and charged into the Capitol … many people hid behind chairs, beneath desks, or barricaded ourselves inside workplaces.” 

Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), who locked himself in his workplace along with his workforce throughout the rebellion, spoke of the “traumatic expertise” of leaving the constructing that evening and seeing bloodstains the place somebody had been shot.

Ocasio-Cortez, whose emotional account was dismissed by her Republican colleagues, condemned those that “are already demanding that we transfer on, or worse, making an attempt to attenuate, discredit or belittle the accounts of survivors.” 

“They ship a tremendously damaging message to survivors of trauma throughout the nation,” Ocasio-Cortez mentioned, “that what they skilled wasn’t dangerous sufficient.”


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