On Tuesday, February 9, Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland, one of the House Managers prosecuting former President Trump in the Senate's impeachment trial, emotionally recalled the day of the insurrection during his closing arguments.
Raskin's daughter and son-in-law were visiting him on the Capitol that day to offer him comfort following the death of his son, Tommy, who they buried the day before.
When insurrectionists stormed the building, Raskin and his family became separated. His daughter and her husband locked themselves in an office and hid under a desk, quietly sending what they thought might be their last texts.
"They thought they were going to die."
Raskin also described his own experience, locked in a room with a chaplain who prayed for their safety while officers told them to put on their gas masks.
"Then there was the sound that I will never forget: the sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram. The most haunting sound I ever heard and I will never forget it."
Bravo to @RepRaskin for what is instantly one of the extraordinary speeches in American public life. https://t.co/UUekVe7TFh— Anand Giridharadas (@Anand Giridharadas)1612924287.0
@matthewamiller @RepRaskin Rep. Jamie Raskin recalls his daughter's words after being rescued from the insurrection… https://t.co/fBqZP5l2fl— The Recount (@The Recount)1612900800.0
.@RepRaskin fights from his heart through unthinkable tragedy to protect our democracy every day. Thank you, my fri… https://t.co/ZdZUISpidq— Elizabeth Warren (@Elizabeth Warren)1612916700.0
After Raskin and his family were reunited, he told his daughter things would not be like this at the Capitol the next time they visited.
"You know what she said? She said, 'Dad, I don't want to come back to the Capitol'. Of all the terrible, brutal things I saw and heard on that day, and since then, that one hit me the hardest."
"That and watching someone use an American flagpole, the flag still on it, to spear and pummel one of our police officers ruthlessly, mercilessly. Tortured by a pole with a flag on it that he was defending with his very life."
Thank you, @RepRaskin.— Robert Reich (@Robert Reich)1612922770.0
Lead impeachment manager and dear friend @RepRaskin was absolutely phenomenal, heartbreaking and true today. Watc… https://t.co/NCNmSfg82b— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@Rep. Pramila Jayapal)1612937740.0
Raskin was praised online for his brave recollection of the harrowing experience.
@RepRaskin is grace under unimaginable pressure personified. What an extraordinary way to honor his beloved Tommy.— (((Bradley Whitford))) (@(((Bradley Whitford))))1612930819.0
This veteran is grateful of @RepRaskin; for upholding his oath of office in defending the Constitution from enemies… https://t.co/MmhAN2WZAV— David Weissman (@David Weissman)1612923501.0
To experience a life-threatening insurrection the day after burying one's son seems almost unfathomable.
When life is unbearable we continue to push bc others are watching... Inspiring. Be Well @RepRaskin 🙏💔 Be Well! https://t.co/V4EiDFHYtH— Renewed Hopeful Looking towards the Future🌈 (@Renewed Hopeful Looking towards the Future🌈)1612966354.0
I have no idea how @RepRaskin is doing this, but I will be eternally grateful that he is.— Matthew Miller (@Matthew Miller)1612899866.0
How can anyone watch this from @RepRaskin and not become emotional themselves? Wow. https://t.co/r8I9RFNz55— Leana Wen, M.D. (@Leana Wen, M.D.)1612920890.0
Raskin concluded his arguments, saying:
"People died that day. Officers ended up with head damage and brain damage. People's eyes were gouged. An officer had a heart attack. An officer lost three fingers that day. Two officers have taken their own lives. Senators, this cannot be our future."
"We cannot have presidents inciting and mobilizing mob violence against our government and our institutions because they refuse to accept the will of the people under the Constitution of the United States."
@RepRaskin gave the finest oral argument I’ve ever heard too. He was magnificent. And his analysis was compelling.… https://t.co/qLGCQn61iJ— Laurence Tribe (@Laurence Tribe)1612927319.0
When I was in high school and he was with the ACLU, he defended a group of us kids as we fought against homophobic… https://t.co/mFi3w9tG13— Adam Jentleson 🎈 (@Adam Jentleson 🎈)1612928328.0
Republicans in the Senate continue to argue it's unconstitutional to impeach a former President, despite the fact they blocked this impeachment trial from happening while Trump was still in office.
Raskin cut through this line of reasoning by pointing out, following Republicans' logic, Presidents would be beholden to no laws during their last weeks in office.
"History does not accept a January exception in any way, so why would we invent one for the future?"