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Rep. Tim Ryan and University of Akron Political Professor on Capitol Attack

The U.S. Capitol was attacked on Jan. 6, 2021. [Nicole Glass Photography/shutterstock]
The U.S. Capitol was attacked on Jan. 6, 2021. [Nicole Glass Photography/shutterstock]

Yesterday afternoon, in what many American leaders are calling "a dark day" and former President Jimmy Carter called "a national tragedy," the United States Capitol building was placed on lockdown after being overrun by pro-Trump extremists.

Yesterday devolved from a Pro-Trump protest on the Ellipses of the National Mall, to clashes with Capitol law enforcement, to the mob smashing windows and breaking into the halls of Congress.

U.S. Senators and members of the House were left trapped inside their offices and chambers, with many shuttled to undisclosed, secure locations, protecting them from the violence. 

That was the first incursion into the capitol building since the war of 1812. This time though, it was Americans on the attack, not the British.
And there were casualties. The Washington Police Department reporting four fatalities including a woman who was shot by the U.S. Capitol Police, as well as two men and one woman who died in "separate medical emergencies." 

Overall, police made at least 52 arrests, 26 of those on U.S. Capitol grounds. 14 D.C. Police Department Officers were injured during the demonstrations. The city will remain under Public Emerency status through the inauguration of President Biden.

One of two explosive devices was later found just blocks away - near the Republican National Committee headquarters. It was safely detonated. The Democratic National Committee building was also evacuated. 

National Guard officers from D.C., Virginia, and Maryland were deployed shortly after the violence to help clear and secure the Capitol. 

Amid all the violence, rioting, and insurrection, President Trump told his followers through Twitter to quote "stay peaceful." He said, "No violence! Remember WE are the party of law and order." But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer lead a cadre of officials calling on the President to do more to disperse the crowd, and outright tell them to leave the Capitol. 

In a news conference, President Elect Joe Biden had called on President Trump to go on television to condemn the actors. Eventually, the president did speak through a recorded video, where he called for peace, but he first repeated his mantra of falseness, referring to "a fraudulent election'' that he said "was stolen from us.'' This was taking place as demonstrations interrupted what is normally a fairly standard procedure by Congress of counting of the electoral votes to confirm Biden's win. 

The chambers were in the middle of their first debate about the legitimacy of the electoral votes from the state of Arizona, with two other states expected to be challenged by a faction of Republicans who support the President's claims of widespread voter fraud, that have been so far unsupported by court challenges. And one of the Democratic Congressman inside the house chamber at the time was Ohio's 13th congressional district representative, Tim Ryan, who we spoke to on The Sound of Ideas this morning.

Overnight, after the vote certification passed, President Trump released another statement. 

It reads, "Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it's only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again."

Also joining us this hour to discuss the attack and the events leading up to it was Dr. David Cohen, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and Interim Director, Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, University of Akron. 

-U.S. Representative Tim Ryan (D-Ohio 13th District) 
-David Cohen, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, Interim Director, Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, University of Akron

Rachel is the supervising producer for Ideastream Public Media’s morning public affairs show, the “Sound of Ideas.”