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January 06, 2022

Trone: Events were attack on democracy

Credit: Cumberland Times-News, Brandon Glass

CUMBERLAND — U.S. Rep. David Trone was in the U.S. Capitol when the Jan. 6 insurrection happened. He heard yelling and banging on doors before being evacuated to safety. He knew it was bad, but had yet to understand the full scope of the incident.

A year later, Trone considers the events of that day a stain on America’s 200-year-old democracy.

“When you were there you didn’t realize outside how many people were there, and you didn’t see the flags and the slogans, Trone (D-Md.) said Tuesday. “You’re just inside hearing the noise and the screaming. When you see it later on TV and in the documentary on it, you really see that the focus was to find Mike Pence (and) hang the vice president of the United States, (to) come after Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi and disrupt — effectively attempt a coup of — a legitimate election, which has been litigated in over 60 different courts of law. Every single one said the election was a 100% legitimate election, yet some people refuse to believe the facts.”

The Jan. 6 committee, a group of nine members of the House of Representatives made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, was set and tasked with probing what led to the attack on the Capitol. To date, members have interviewed over 300 witnesses and plan to hold public hearings to discuss their findings.

“The Jan. 6 committee — it’s so important that they get to the bottom of it, to the truth, and show who is behind this, the phone calls, the emails that preceded this,” he said. 

Things are different at the Capitol now. Security jumped up the priority list. 

J. Thomas Manger, longtime chief of police in Montgomery County, was named chief of the United States Capitol Police in July. William J. Walker was sworn in as Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives in April. Walker was the 23rd Commanding General of the District of Columbia Army and Air Force National Guard prior to his new appointment.

A committee formed to suggest member safety improvements released 103 written recommendations, 90 of which have been or are in the process of being implemented, said Trone. House members have been equipped with cell phones, which were never issued in the past. 

There have been improvements in intelligence connectivity between D.C. Metropolitan Police and the House, Trone said. The walls and Capitol building were made more difficult to scale. 

They implemented “new ways for the men to deal with riot control,” said Trone. “They didn’t have the right barriers, the right tools to deal with a riot of that magnitude.”

Security has gotten better, however, as with everything else, COVID-19 has gummed up the process, forcing training programs to shut down and leaving the Capitol Police force short staffed.

“It was a pretty unbelievable, significant event when you never thought we’d live to see a day when America’s Capitol was attacked by other Americans,” said Trone. “It’s a day that really brought disgrace and dishonor on our country.”