House Democrats gathered Thursday afternoon to share their ‘testimonials’ about what they experienced one year ago during the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chair who became a punching bag for former President Donald Trump during his first impeachment, recalled how that prominence colored his experience.
‘I stayed behind for awhile until two Republicans came up to me,’ Schiff said, recounting how lawmakers were vacating the House chamber. ‘One of them said, “You can’t let them see you. I know these people. I can talk to these people. I can talk my way through these people. You’re in a whole different category.”‘
Rep. Colin Allred, a Texas Democrat and former NFL player, told his fellow Democrats: ‘I thought when I left the NFL as a linebacker, where my job was to put people on the ground, that those abilities and the need to do that were over.’
Allred then thanked those law enforcement officers who engaged in true hand-to-hand combat that day.
Gladys and Charles Sicknick, the parents of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died a day after engaging with protesters at the riot, were in the audience for the House Democrats’ event held on campus on Capitol Hill.
Reps. Adam Schiff (left) and Colin Allred (right) gave memorable ‘testimonials’ during a Thursday afternoon event where House Democrats gathered to talk about their experiences on January 6
Democratic House members shake hands with Gladys and Charles Sicknick, the parents of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died a day after engaging with protesters at the riot, who were in the audience for the Thursday afternoon event
‘I’ll say to the Sicknick family, I’ll say to you, your son’s sacrifice allowed me to meet mine,’ Allred said.
The event was hosted by Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat from Colorado and military veteran, credited with having Capitol Police lock the last House gallery entrance preventing the MAGA mob from swarming into the House chamber.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democrat, recalled having to escape the House chamber while using a cane, after having knee replacement surgery
He received accolades for other reasons too.
Rep. Sara Jacobs, a California Democrat who had been sworn-in three days prior, thanked Crow ‘for the glass of whiskey you poured me after we finally got back to our offices on January 6.
A number of lawmakers recounted being trapped in the House gallery and noted how they had no idea there were gas masks tucked under the seats.
‘Like many of you trapped in the House gallery, I remember every moment vividly. I viscerally feel the pounding on the gallery doors. I hear the shot ringing out. replay how I made plans to use my gas mask and my cane – newly at my side five week old knee replacement surgery – to fight back if attacked,’ said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
‘And I remember not knowing if we would make it out of our seat of democracy alive or if our democracy itself would survive,’ she added.
She said that on January 6 ‘we saved our democracy,’ crediting ‘all the voters that came out in the most important election in our lifetimes that delivered us a new president who is not corrupted by his love of power and lack of regard for our Constitution.’
Rep. Mike Quigley also remembered Jayapal’s cane.
The event was hosted by Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat from Colorado and military veteran, credited with having Capitol Police lock the last House gallery entrance preventing the MAGA mob from swarming into the House chamber
Rep. Sara Jacobs, a California Democrat, recalled how Rep. Jason Crow gave her a glass of whiskey after the lawmakers made it back to their offices after the Capitol attack one year ago
‘She was upset she was walking so slowly with her cane that she was afraid that that would allow the insurrectionists to catch up to us,’ Quigley said. ‘And [Rep.] Brad Schneider was just ahead of us, and you heard her say this. And he came back and walked on her left side, and he said, “Well then we’ll all just walk togeher.’
‘I was never more proud at that moment to walk alongside all of you,’ the Illinois Democrat said. ‘It reminds me that we have to walk alongside and help guide our country away from darkness as we walk together into that bright light of our democracy.’
Quigley also paid homage to journalists who worked through the attack.
‘There’s a photo I saw the other day I’d completely forgot about,’ he said. ‘We’ve seen the images and we know what to expect – the broken glass, the guns drawn, the makeshift barricades. I remember sheltering in place.’
‘But I saw something I’d forgotten. It was a reporter in the midst of all this,’ he continued. ‘It was a reporter in the midst of all this. Bent over her keyboard still working.’
Other lawmakers recalled being stuck in their Congressional offices for hours.
Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, a Pennsylvania Democrat who was the recent victim of a carjacking, said she was in her office on the phone ‘getting tips from a friend who’s a high school teacher on how to barricade my office door.’
‘She had done that before, I hadn’t,’ Scanlon noted, alluding to the trend of schools having to go through active shooter trainer.
‘I was most concerned, as others have said, that my children not be worried – so I sent them a picture of me with a bottle of Jameson’s I had found in one of my staffer’s cupboards,’ Scanlon recounted.
She added, ‘America survived a coup last year, but only just barely.’
Rep. Susan Wild, also a Pennsylvania Democrat, talked about the scene in one of the rooms lawmakers were kept hidden by law enforcement.
Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, a Pennsylvania Democrat who was the recent victim of a carjacking, said she was in her office on the phone ‘getting tips from a friend who’s a high school teacher on how to barricade my office door’
She noted how many of the lawmakers had taken their Congressional lapel pins off, so to not be identified as members of Congress by the MAGA mob.
‘And I ran into one of my new freshman colleagues, a black man, and he still had his pin on and I said … “We should take our pins off. You need to take your pin off.” And he looked right at me and he said, “I want them to know I’m a member of Congress,’ Wild recalled.
She implored Americans to start talking to those across the aisle, so that January 6 never happens again.
‘Talk to them. That neighbor who flies a political flag you don’t agree with,’ Wild encouraged. ‘Find something to talk to that neighbor about that you can agree on – the flowers and their beauty, the dog, the frolicking children in the neighborhood, the weather, find something you can share with that person with whom you disagree on political matters.’
Rep. Mikie Sherrill gave one Republican a hat-tip too – Rep. Liz Cheney, the only Republican House member – who brought along her dad, former Vice President Dick Cheney – to be in the House chamber for the noon moment of silence.
‘And so I think it’s appropriate to point out one person who I think has shown a great deal of moral courage,’ Sherrill said. ‘Someone who has stood up for her country, at great personal cost, and that’s Liz Cheney.’