1/08 The Work Goes On

Wednesday’s horrifying siege on the U.S. Capitol continues to reverberate throughout the Trump Administration, Congress, and the country. As Americans reckon with how our nation came to this moment, policymakers have vowed to hold public officials accountable for inciting violence, sowing distrust in our democratic system, and standing by as violent words became violent acts.

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine emphasized on Good Morning America that “Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani, even the president were calling on supporters and hate groups to go to the Capitol” and that his office is “going to investigate not only the mob, but those who incited the violence.” Washington, D.C. U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin echoed that “all actors, not only the people who went into the building” are being investigated.  And in a long overdue moment of cultural accountability, Twitter announced late Friday that “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump’s account and the context around them, we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

Here is today’s update:

National Update

Trump’s Time Is Up: Vice President Mike Pence appears reluctant to invoke the 25th Amendment, but House Democrats have announced their plan to introduce impeachment charges against President Trump on Monday. The announcement follows reports of Trump signaling his intention to self-pardon and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi raising concerns about Trump’s access to nuclear codes. The wave of Trump Administration resignations continued as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos became the second Cabinet member to resign, announcing her intentions late Thursday night.

Riot Aftermath: The disparity between the treatment of Wednesday’s violent insecurrectionts and Black Lives Matter protesters has sparked national outrage. Many point to the lack of preparedness by Capitol Police and footage of officers opening the Capitol gates to a mob of Trump supporters.

Meanwhile, the human toll of the attack continues to increase, with five people now dead and 50 police officers injured. Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick died during the siege, prompting the D.C. police department to open a federal murder investigation. Over 80 rioters have been arrested, including West Virginia state Delegate Derrick Evans.

Inauguration: Wednesday’s unprecedented violence has sparked new fears of similar security threats during President-elect Biden’s inauguration. On social media platforms, Trump supporters have already indicated their intention to hold another riot on January 20. Meanwhile, Trump announced on Twitter earlier today that he does not plan to attend his successor’s inauguration, upending yet another presidential transition norm and making him the first outgoing president to skip his replacement’s inauguration in more than 150 years.

Messaging Guidance: What Comes Next

The Aftermath of January 6, 2021

  • The President and his supporters have repeatedly incited violence from extremists this election cycle. Those words resulted in Wednesday’s assault on the heart of our democracy.
  • These violent acts were not a matter of left or right, conservative or liberal. They were a matter of hatred.
  • Peaceful expression is protected by the First Amendment, but that is not what we witnessed. What happened was un-American, illegal and went against everything our country stands for. 
  • The individuals responsible for Wednesday’s violence—both those who entered the Capitol and those who incited it—must be held accountable. 
  • We must also address the drastic difference between the federal law enforcement response on Wednesday, in the face of violent rioting, and the aggressive response to Black Lives Matter protests last summer. We have to acknowledge the racism that continues to plague our justice system, commit to making change and hold those responsible for their actions.
  • What happened on Wednesday is painful and upsetting for all Americans. State leaders are committed to working with law enforcement and community leaders to do the work to repair our democracy and rebuild public trust.

Looking Ahead:

  • The Capitol may be secured, but we must remain vigilant in the days and weeks ahead.
  • There are already reports of online organizing for rallies and riots at state Capitols and back in D.C. the week of inauguration. We will take these threats seriously.
  • Already, those responsible for Wednesday’s events are facing the consequences.
  • Federal, state, and local law enforcement are working together with federal agents to investigate, arrest, and prosecute those who participated in the attack on the Capitol.
  • Law enforcement across the country is working in close coordination with state and local leaders to send a strong message that violence of any kind will not be tolerated.  Anyone who attempts a repeat of what we saw on Wednesday will be met with the full force of law.

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