Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Senator Tammy Duckworth on rioters waving the American flag as they attack the Capitol

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Hello, Broadsheet readers! Jane Fraser makes her mark on Citigroup, the House impeaches President Trump and Senator Tammy Duckworth tells us what it was like to be on Capitol Hill as the pro-Trump mob broke down the doors. Have a good Thursday.

– Inside the Capitol attack. History was made last night when the House of Representatives voted 232 to 197 to impeach Donald Trump – making him the only US president to be impeached twice.

The charge is “an incitement to insurgency,” a reaction to last week’s attack on the Capitol, when a crowd of supporters of the president violently burst into the building in an attempt to derail the certification of the victory of President-elect Joe Biden.

One of the lawmakers on Capitol Hill that day was Senator Tammy Duckworth, who spoke to Emma about what this unimaginable experience was like. Duckworth said she was not on the Senate floor when the building was smashed – she was in the underground tunnels on her way to speak there when the Capitol Police informed her of what was going on – above ground. She redirected to a safe place, where she escaped attack.

Duckworth is an Army veteran who served in the Iraq War, where she was injured in an attack on a helicopter she was piloting, losing both of her legs. Her experience both as a soldier and as a wheelchair user is evident in the way she reacted to the danger of the moment. She tells Emma that she “always knows[s] where is the exit of a room… and I knew I could take care of myself.

From her preparation (“I always have groceries in my backpack – water, aspirin, Tylenol, power bars”), to her presence of mind (“I knew the best thing we could do was stay out of [the Capitol Police’s] be one less factor for them to worry about ”), to his calm reflection on how to deal with such a situation in a wheelchair (“ There are several doors in the floor of the Senate chambers, but I cannot really come in and out behind the stage. I can only use the elevators “), it’s hard to imagine anyone handling a crisis with more grace.

Duckworth’s military experience also brought a special sting to the moment. She says:

“… It was really frustrating for me to see people carrying the American flag – the same flag I wore on my uniform when I went into battle – but they carried the flag to attack our Capitol and try to overthrow the Constitution.

The senator tells Emma that she believes insurgents should face the consequences of their actions – just like the president. And now that the House has had its say, Duckworth will likely have a chance to vote on it later this month, when the Senate is expected to begin its impeachment trial.

Kristen bellstrom
kristen.bellstrom@fortune.com
@kayelbee

Today’s Broadsheet was organized by Emma Hinchliffe.



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