Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney released a statement Jan. 7 condemning the violent insurrection that occurred at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6. Additionally, she called for reflection by the Loyola community.
A pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building Jan. 6 while lawmakers were certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, according to the Associated Press (AP). At the time, lawmakers were debating a challenge to Arizona’s electoral votes when proceedings were suddenly halted and lawmakers hid for their safety.
What followed were hours of uncertainty as insurrectionists flooded the Capitol. Some carried Trump and Confederate flags as they entered and looted parts of the building, according to the AP. Lawmakers were seen wearing gas masks as they evacuated their chambers.
After about seven hours, U.S. Capitol Police supported by D.C. National Guard and D.C. Metropolitan Police were able to secure the building, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. Congress returned to its chambers and was able to certify the election in the early hours of Jan. 7.
Rooney — having been a principal deputy in the U.S. Department of Defense back in 2011 — described the events as a “direct threat to our democracy” and said while the nation isn’t perfect, violence isn’t the answer. She called on the Loyola community to commit to preserving principles of justice, opportunity and inclusivity while engaging in civil discourse.
“We must find ways to listen to others; use our critical thinking skills and judgment to discern fact from rumor; speak out when we face injustices or hear falsehoods; commit to civil and productive debate and discourse; and carefully weigh our words and actions, recognizing the potential power and consequences of each,” Rooney wrote.
In addition to this statement, Rooney joined 25 other Jesuit university presidents in signing a statement released by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) denouncing the insurrection.
The statement called for an end to the violence, disinformation and rhetoric that fueled the insurrection and called on President Trump to concede.
“The president and his adherents bear responsibility for perpetuating false rumors and unsubstantiated facts regarding the election,” the AJCU statement said. “It is time that the president concede his loss to duly-elected President Biden and allow the smooth and peaceful transition of power, which will be completed on January 20th.”
Five people died as a result of the riot. AP reported three of those fatalities were medical emergencies while one woman was shot by police trying to breach a barricade. A U.S. Capitol Police Officer later died from injuries sustained during the riot, according to a press release by the agency.
Trump encouraged supporters to march to the Capitol at a rally earlier. The rally was held on The Ellipse in Washington D.C. and was broadcast nationally by several news outlets.
“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women,” Trump said at the rally. “We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
He later tweeted a video saying insurrectionists should go home, while also expressing his “love” and support for them. He also reiterated his false claim the election was “stolen” and “fraudulent.”
After the video was posted, Twitter suspended Trump’s account and deleted some of his tweets related to the incident citing its Civic Integrity Policy. While the initial suspension was temporary, Twitter later announced Jan. 8 it would permanently suspend Trump’s Twitter account.
After Congress certified the electoral vote, Trump finally conceded and released a statement saying there would be an “orderly transition on Jan. 20,” the day Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are set to be inaugurated.
There have been calls by members of Congress for Trump to be removed from office either by impeachment or through the cabinet invoking the 25th amendment. The 25th amendment allows for the vice president and cabinet to declare the president unable to carry out his duties and makes the vice president the acting president.