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Raskin gives an emotional speech recounting being trapped in the Capitol with his family: ‘They thought they were going to die’
In his closing, Raskin gave an emotional speech noting that Trump’s impeachment trial is “personal” for those who were trapped during the siege, including lawmakers, reporters, Hill staffers, custodial staff, law enforcement, and others.
He added that the trial was especially personal for him because his youngest daughter, Tabitha, and his son-in-law, Hank, were at the Capitol with him on January 6 when Congress convened to count the electoral votes.
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It was one day after the Raskin family buried their son, Tommy, who died by suicide on New Year’s Eve. The Maryland lawmaker said Tuesday that it was the “saddest day of our lives.”
Tabitha and Hank accompanied Raskin on January 6 “because they wanted to be together with me in the middle of a devastating week for our family,” he said. “And I told them I had to go back to work because we were counting electoral votes that day … It was our constitutional duty. And I invited them instead to come with me to witness this historic event: the peaceful transfer of power in America.”
Raskin continued: “They said they heard that President Trump was calling on his followers to come to Washington to protest, and they asked me directly, ‘Would it be safe? Would it be safe?’ And I told them, of course it should be safe. This is the Capitol.”
The Maryland Democrat went on to thank colleagues in his own party and on the other side of the aisle who stopped by to pay their condolences on January 6, saying, “I felt a sense of being lifted up from the agony, and I won’t forget their tenderness.”
As he gave a speech on the House floor condemning Trump and GOP lawmakers’ efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, Tabitha and Hank watched from the House gallery, Raskin said, before going back to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s office.
“They didn’t know that the House had been breached yet and that an insurrection, a riot, or a coup had come to Congress. And by the time we learned about it, about what was going on, it was too late,” he said. “I couldn’t get out there to be with them in that office. And all around me, people were calling their wives and their husbands, their loved ones, to say goodbye.
Raskin added: “Members of Congress in the House were removing their congressional pins so they wouldn’t be identified by the mob as they tried to escape the violence. Our new chaplain got up and said a prayer for us and we were told to put our gas masks on.”
“And then there was a sound that I will never forget. A sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram, the most haunting sound I ever heard, and I will never forget it,” he said, adding that his kids and his chief of staff were “locked and barricaded in [Hoyer’s] office. The kids hiding under the desk, placing what they thought were their final texts and whispered phone calls to say their goodbyes. They thought they were going to die.”