Home>Congress>Statements on the First Anniversary of January 6, 2021

Protestors at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021. (Photo: James Watt).

Statements on the First Anniversary of January 6, 2021

By David Wildstein, January 06 2022 10:27 am


“One year ago today, the world watched in horror as our sacred temple of democracy, the U.S. Capitol building, was besieged by fellow Americans. This was the culmination of a months-long, coordinated campaign by former President Trump to sow deep distrust in the integrity of our elections because he refused to accept defeat in a free and fair election.

“That day, the foundation of our constitutional order was severely eroded. Democracy prevailed when the brave men and women of the Capitol police force, including fallen hero and New Jersey native Brian Sicknick, and DC’s Metropolitan Police Department fought valiantly to protect our elected leaders. Their sacrifice made it possible for us to fulfill our constitutional duty to certify the election results.

“Since then, however, the same American leaders who threatened the survival of the Republic have sought to further undermine our constitution and democratic process. Former President Trump continues to question the results of the 2020 election and he has encouraged his supporters to do the same. In states all across the country, the right to vote, the bedrock of any healthy and functioning democracy, is under attack. We cannot remain silent in the face of such blatant affronts to our multiracial democracy, the integrity of our elections, and the fundamental right to vote.

“Last year’s insurrection must serve as a moment of national reckoning, a clarion call for all Americans to uphold our collective responsibility to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We must reaffirm our commitment to doing everything necessary to ensure our Republic prevails, stronger and more resilient than ever before. That’s why we must continue to advance our efforts in the Senate to protect our democracy and safeguard the sacred right to vote.”


“The scene that unfolded in our nation’s capital one year ago was one of the darkest in our country’s history.  This was not a protest, but an act of domestic terrorism bent on overturning a free and fair election, shredding the tenets of our American values, and shattering the bedrock of our democracy.  The riot shook the sacred principles of our political system that we hold so dear and which have made us an example for the world. Defiantly, Congress returned to complete their duty. Democracy won over baseless conspiracies.  Over the last year, our nation has been tested in many ways and we have shown the true resiliency of the American spirit. But our democracy remains fragile, and forces continue to try to exploit our division. We must continue working together, both Democrats and Republicans, to advance as one nation.  Tammy and I again offer our condolences to all those who suffered that day, and to the family of United States Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, a New Jersey native who gave his life protecting the Capitol from violent insurrection. Officer Sicknick dedicated his life to protecting the Constitution and, by extension, upholding our democracy, and we thank him for his service to our nation.” 


“Today, we mark the anniversary of one of the most tragic events in American history.  For the first time ever, American citizens stormed the Capitol Building to illegally change the result of a free and fair election.  The right to vote is sacred and all Americans have the right to have their vote counted.  What happened on January 6, 2021 should anger ever American.  It should convince every national elected official that we need new laws to protect our elections and our votes.  I applaud Representative Bennie Thompson and my colleagues who are investigating the horrible events of that day.  My prayers continue to go out to the brave law enforcement officials who tried to save our Capitol Building and protect our elected officials from harm during the attack.”


“Democracy is the foundation on which our country stands. One year ago today, a violent mob stormed the United States Capitol in what can only be described as an act of harrowing domestic terror.  An event fueled by hate and disinformation campaigns; the lives of Congressional members, staffers, officers and the public at-large were put at risk. In an attempt to divide us, a real evil that has been growing was revealed.  Our foundation, however, cannot be shaken. Democracy does and will prevail. A year later, we reflect on the sacrifice of the many brave Capitol police and individuals, who on that day used their bodies for the protection of their friends, colleagues, and fellow Americans.  The tragedy remains in the lives that were lost during the events of January 6th and over the course of the weeks and months that followed. We pray for solace for the families, while standing firm in our commitment as a nation to see justice be done.”


“One year ago violent extremists threatened our democracy, endangering the lives of lawmakers and staffers, and ultimately resulting in the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick and in numerous injuries to his fellow law enforcement officers. While this reprehensible attack was the most visible expression of creeping tyranny and Fascism in our country in recent memory, it wasn’t the first time this radical ideology has reared its head. It’s up to every person in our country who believes in democratic values to stand up against those who would engage in conspiracy theories and those who would undermine faith in our elections.”


“Exactly one year ago this week, I was inside the House Chamber when lawless thugs and insurrectionists breached the United States Capitol, in an attempt to upend our democracy and our 230-year tradition of a peaceful transition of power. The insurrectionists failed miserably. Democracy conquered anarchy. Once again, America was triumphant.  While they smashed windows, broke down doors, and even tore down the American flag, the insurrectionists did not break the great American spirit. Their attempted obstruction was foiled, and our democracy persevered, even stronger. Now, instead of splitting us asunder, Republicans and Democrats are working in a bipartisan manner investigating the attack, so we can hold those responsible to account. Now, we must continue to work together to protect our electoral system, the integrity and security of our elections, and the will of the American people.  We must all come together — across party, backgrounds, and any lines that divide us — to ensure an attack like this never happens to our nation again.  To this day, my thoughts continue to be with the brave law enforcement brutally attacked that day and all their loved ones.  While we must not forget the dark days we’ve been through, we must also commit ourselves to unity, civility, and truth, and embrace our calling to a higher purpose and to help strengthen our nation.”


A year ago today, our democracy was attacked by a violent mob inspired by the former President and his lies about the 2020 election. The former President has had an entire year to take responsibility for his actions, yet he has chosen to continue to lie to his supportersAs a nation, I believe that we must have a full understanding of what happened on and before January 6It is important for future generations to accurately understand our history, and for us to protect our democracy. For that reason, I want to share my story of that day. 

The morning of January 6th started off quiet, but my staff and Iwatched as more and more people, many waving Trump 2020 flags, began to congregate at the barriers that had been set up. While I was on the House floor watching debate, my staff saw the initial barriers knocked aside as the crowd rushed forward towards the Capitol. I knew that the situation was becoming serious when Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, and Majority Whip Clyburn were rushed off the House floor by security. I witnessed as rioters broke the windows on the doors to the chamber. Police, security, and some of my fellowMembers did all they could to barricade the door. Wwere instructed to put on gas masks as tear gas had been deployed outside the Chamber. My colleagues and I were then rushed off the floor to safer locations as more rioters rushed into the areas around the Chamber. returned to my office where I could lock down with my staff. My staff and I remained locked down, in dark rooms, as shouts and flash bangs went off outside until the complex was secured. After hours of chaos and uncertainty, Ireturned to the House floor to do my part to ensure that the election results were certified, the very process the rioters sought to halt. I am continually grateful to the Capitol Police who sacrificed to protect lawmakers on that day, and to the National Guard who were deployed to monitor the Capitol in the weeks after the attack. 

The experience of a violent attempt to overthrow democratic institutions brought back intense memories of my childhood in Cuba. It was a terrifying moment that I never imagined would happen in the country that took my family in when we fled a violent dictatorship. The fact that many lawmakers, the former President, and others try to rewrite those events as anything less than a violent attack on democracy is inexcusable and amounts to nothing more than propaganda. In the year since the attack, I have repeatedly been disappointed by my colleagues across the aisle who vote down legislation to create a committee to investigate those days events and continue to support lies about the validity of the election and the violence of the mob. Their actions are not only wrong, but they are dangerous for the future of our democracy. 

“I continue to support the work of the January 6th Select Committee. Their investigation will provide the American people with a comprehensive understanding of what occurred on January 6thThis common understanding will allow us to heal as a nation, hold those responsible accountable, and better protect our democracy from any future attack.”


“Republicans must be clear and condemn the violent attack on the Capital on Jan 6. Republicans must be clear and state we respect the Courts and the process of law. In order for the Republicans to be trusted by the majority of New Jerseyans and majority of Americans, we cannot be silent on this day.”


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