Jamie Raskin’s son Tommy remembered in emotional Trump impeachment speech

Democrat vows to make the US Capitol a safe place for his family to visit again

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Wednesday 10 February 2021 00:34 GMT
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Jamie Raskin, the Maryland representative leading the impeachment case against former President Donald Trump, choked up on the Senate floor on Tuesday as he remembered the attack on the Capitol, which came the day after the funeral service for his son Tommy, who died by suicide on New Year’s Eve .

Mr Raskin remembered 6 January started out on a more hopeful note, as colleagues from both parties dropped by to console him after the funeral, a day he said in his speech was “the saddest day of our lives”.

“I felt a sense of being lifted up from the agony, and I won't forget their tenderness,” he said.

Read more: Follow all the latest Trump impeachment news live

But soon, a mob of violent Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, disrupting the certification of the election results, and cutting off Mr Raskin’s ability to get back to be with his daughter and son-in-law, who were visiting the Capitol that day and watched as the crowd stormed the scaffolding around the building.

They told the Washington Post they hid under a table behind locked doors in a vacant office, while Mr Raskin’s chief of staff guarded them with a fire poker. Tabitha Raskin, a teacher in Philadelphia, said it reminded her of the active shooter drills that have become common in schools.

“That’s really when my mind went to the drills we had in school: Hide under a desk. Hide in corners. Turn lights off and turn off any noise. Don’t speak,” she told the Post. “In my mind I was wondering, ‘How are these people still out there? What is going on?’ Your mind goes to the worst place, and you think, ‘Where is law enforcement?’ Law enforcement is gone. You are fending for yourself,” she added.

Read more: Which US presidents have been impeached?

A group of demonstrators banged on the locked door, but weren’t able to get inside, and Capitol police rescued them. 

Eventually, Mr Raskin described, they were reconnected.

“I told her how sorry I was, and I promised her it would not be like this again the next time she came back to the Capitol with me,” he said, to which she responded that she didn’t want to come back. “Of all the terrible, brutal things I saw and heard that day, and since then, that one hit me the hardest, that and watching someone using an American flag pole, the flag still on it, to spear and pummel one of our police officers.”

Read more: What does impeachment mean for Trump?

Mr Raskin, a Democratic former constitutional law professor and the House’s lead impeachment manager, has drawn on his family experience as he makes the case for trying former president Trump.

He told CNN before the trial in January that he was “not going to lose my son at the end of 2020 and lose my country and my republic in 2021”.

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