Response to Capitol Riots

On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, I stood at my office window overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue and watched the angry mob make its way from the Ellipse rally to Capitol Hill. Waving Confederate flags and Trump 2020 campaign banners, chanting “Stop the Steal,” “Four More Years,” and “USA, USA, USA,” these fellow Americans were on their way to disrupt a sacred ceremonial rite of transition in which the National Archives plays an important role. Having watched and listened to the charged language of the rally speeches, I was even more concerned as I watched this mob move by. They were on a mission.  

My pride in the work that our Office of the Federal Register does in administering the Electoral College process was very much in my mind as was the role that we all play in defending and supporting the Constitution of the United States every day. And special pride in the role that our Agency plays in the orderly transition of administrations. 

As my attention shifted to the televised Joint Session of Congress called to certify the vote, I was horrified to watch the storming of the Capitol and the increased agitation of the mob still streaming by our building. Not since 1814 have the hallowed halls of Congress been breached and those were foreign troops. Last week, our own countrymen invaded the Capitol.    

 With order restored, at 3:44 on Thursday morning, Congress certified the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next President and Vice President of the United States. That morning from my office, as the sun warmed the limestone of buildings around us, I was reminded of the words attributed to Benjamin Franklin at the end of the Constitutional Convention when asked “…what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?” to which he responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.” That day we passed the latest test. 

4 thoughts on “Response to Capitol Riots

  1. Trump has nothing to do with the riot at the U.S. Capitol everybody khows that..That assumption is way LEFTFIELD wouldn’t you say? Unless Trump had a plan put together to send in military officials to recover a device with with enough corrupt activities to put away the bad guys that might be plotting on taking down American(not telling no one untill the right time). Kind of like Obama did when he supposedly had Bin laden shot & killed (i doubt it)…Just a thought though but who knows by Jan. 20th it may take a right turn and the bad guys get LEFT to rot prison with the rest of the pedophiles….I guess time will tell.

  2. What a terrifying time. But in the midst of it, as you say, there were committed government employees who continued to do their jobs.I stayed up until 4am to watch the process play out, and was inspired by them – and you. I am hopeful better times are ahead for our country, but we cannot let our guard down.

  3. Part of what was frequently reported on last week was the staffers who thought to remove the election certification results. While I was happy to see that (and wondered if any Archives staff was there since your agency initially receives the results), I also wondered what it would have meant, not just symbolically, if the rioters had destroyed the results because I’d imagine there would have to be scanned copies of the documents, at the very least.

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