• Anna McLean

Capitol Hill Chaos and Its Rippling Effect on Michigan

Wednesday, January 6th, as our nation's Congress convened to validate the 2020 election’s Electoral College votes, extreme supporters of President Trump sieged the capitol building.

Congress and the Vice President convened to debate the results of the Electoral College votes submitted by the states on the 6th to finalize President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory. What had started as the “Save America March,” soon turned into riots and insurrection. The citizens decked in red “MAGA” and “Trump 2020” hats soon breached the walls of the Capitol themselves.

The mob was told first by President Trump, “We are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue,” and that he would join them in their march to make their voices heard. As they reached the capitol, the marchers started to first push past police guarding metal fences around the premises. They eventually overrode the police to open the doors of the Capitol. Members of Congress inside were told to shelter-in-place, while the Vice President was evacuated. All members of Congress were evacuated safely with no injury.

This, however, was not the case for police and others involved in the chaos. Five are reported dead and 14 police officers injured. Two officers still remained hospitalized as of late Wednesday night, January 6. However, as of Thursday night, January 7, Officer Brian Sicknick was pronounced dead due to “injuries sustained on duty,” Capitol Police officials said in a statement. He is the 5th person to die as a result of the siege, and the first federal officer.

Rioters ripped through the Capitol building, breaking windows, assaulting officers, and plundering Congressmen and Congresswomen’s offices. Photos of breached and vandalized Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office spread across social media. Another man, arrested as of January 11, smiled for a photo while carrying a lectern throughout the corridors of the Capitol.

Although these unprecedented events took place in our nation’s capital, the events ricocheted back to Michigan’s own Capitol building in Lansing. According to the Detroit Free Press, “A bomb threat was made the morning of Thursday, January 8th. Michigan State Police say that a man called the Capitol control facilities around 6:40 a.m Thursday and ‘made a bomb threat.’”

As of Saturday, January 9th, Michael Varrone, the man responsible for the bomb threats against our state’s capital, has been arrested and will face felony charges. ClickOnDetroit.com says, “Varrone was arraigned Friday before Magistrate Laura Millmore in 54-A District Court in Lansing on two counts of false report or threat of terrorism. He also faces one count of false report or threat of a bomb/harmful device.”

Michigan’s Second Congressional District’s Representative, Bill Huizenga, says, in a press release, that, “This definitely isn’t the start to the 117th Congress that I had hoped for. The events that took place on January 6th serve as a stark reminder that we have lost the notion of civility.”

The past few weeks have been nothing short of riveting, but our nation and our state have proven that our country still holds true to our true values of democracy. Congress approved all electoral votes, and President-Elect Joe Biden has taken office on January 20th as scheduled.

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