I am grateful to be safe after Wednesday’s terrorist attack on the Capitol. Thank you to all those who asked. I know that many of you are interested in what it was like being in the Capitol during the siege, so I want to share my experience and takeaways.
At first, the crowd seemed like a normal group of protestors. Then I watched as the group begin to rush in like water through a broken dam.
Senators were evacuated to a nearby building where we waited until Capitol Police gained control over the Capitol and restored order. Providence Journal reporter Mark Patinkin breaks down the day in detail here:
Lock the door and avoid windows: Sen. Whitehouse inside the Capitol siege
Sheldon Whitehouse walked into the Capitol's senate chamber around noon on the day of the insurrection. Despite his 14…
By the time we are allowed to return to the Capitol to certify President-elect Biden’s victory, I was mad as hell! Mad as hell at the spectacle we presented to the world.
One bright spot has been the outpouring of support we have received in the aftermath. An 11 year old Rhode Islander who wrote to me captured the moment perfectly: “Capitol Hill means to me a place of hope, dreams & promise, not what we’re seeing today.” It is, Caleb, and it will be again. Let’s hope the day of infamy and outrage has taken some wind out of the sails of those who fomented it.
We must all be clear about what transpired. On Wednesday, President Trump incited an attempted insurrection. He’s unfit. He ought to go, by resignation, the 25th Amendment, or impeachment.
Beyond Trump, the Senate needs to oversee federal investigation of the attack and ransacking of our national Capitol, through Judiciary and perhaps Homeland Security. We may also be the client in federal civil suits for damages and for restraining orders, likely also under Judiciary purview.
The Senate will need to conduct security review of what happened and what went wrong, likely through Rules, Homeland and Judiciary. The Senate Ethics Committee also must consider the expulsion, or censure and punishment, of Sens. Cruz, Hawley, and perhaps others.
Because Congress has protections from DOJ under separation of powers, specifically Speech and Debate Clause, significant investigation will need to be done in Senate.
Because of massive potential conflict of interest, Sens Cruz, Hawley and Johnson (at least) need to be off all relevant committees reviewing this matter until the investigation of their role is complete.
Maybe, maybe at last the spell is broken and we can begin the necessary work to rebuild our democracy.