WASHINGTON, D.C. – The news has been flushed with imagery of the invasion of the Capitol Building, which at press time had resulted in the deaths of four rioters and one officer. While some agitators continue to call for violence, there are many more voices denouncing the attack and urging peace.
The group believed that the 2020 presidential election results were fraudulent. However, multiple Republican leaders have said the election results are accurate, including Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, and former Attorney General Bill Barr.
Congressman Andy Kim (D-3rd), had been on his way to the House floor when he got an alert on his phone. He was told to shelter in place. He returned to his office, locked his door and stayed away from windows.
It was unclear, at first, what was going on, he said. He knew protesters had come in, but he didn’t know if they were armed or what their goal was. He had tried to contact colleagues but was unable to reach them, which made him fear the worst.
Later, he would learn about bombs being found. He heard staff members of other members of Congress had to barricade themselves into their offices with furniture. There was only one way out of the office, through a door that the rioters were breaking down.
“We’re now providing counseling resources for Congress and their staff,” he said.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th) honored Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick who was killed by the rioters.
“Words are inadequate to convey my sadness, shock and anger over the murder of Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick who courageously fought the violent mob that stormed the Capitol building,” Smith said. “He died a hero and deserves our eternal gratitude for his sacrifice.”
Sicknick was a member of the New Jersey National Guard and served in Operation Southern Watch in 1999 and Enduring Freedom in 2003. He served overseas only to be killed in the line of duty defending Members of Congress and staff and the Capitol building during a joint session of Congress.
“My wife Marie and I – and my family and staff – offer our deepest condolences to and prayers for his family, friends and colleagues,” Smith said.
What Do We Do Now?
The questions on a lot of people’s minds are: Where do we go after this? How do we talk to the other side of the aisle when our versions of reality are so different? How can we heal a deeply divided nation?
“There’s no piece of legislation I can write that will fix this. No president – Biden or anyone else – can do it alone,” Kim said. “It has to be built upon the respect for Democracy and for each other.
“If they truly respected Democracy they wouldn’t have done what they did,” he said. The front door of the Capitol Building was torn to pieces. “They literally broke down the door of America. Cigarettes were put out on statues. American flags were trampled. American flags were replaced with Trump flags,” he said.
“We have a long road to recovery. We have to recognize all of us are Americans. We have to move past this idea that someone else is The Enemy because of how they voted, what color their skin is, or what their religion is.”
A lot of photos of the rioters have been published, and critics have pointed out their anti-Semitic shirts and white supremacy tattoos. There was another photo that has been making the rounds – Kim cleaning up some of the mess. His office didn’t have a copy of it, since it was not a photo op. He said it was just a little thing he thought to do at the time.
When there are people trying to disrupt Democracy, the first thing you should do is show them that the capitol is strong and resilient. The House members went to work after the attack.
“Maybe it’s just the little things…Showing humility and respect,” he said.