Jamie Raskin Emotionally Details Exchange With Daughter During Riot in Impeachment Opening

During what had already been an emotionally devastating week, U.S. Representative Jamie Raskin brought his daughter and son-in-law to the United States Capitol to witness the certification of President Joe Biden's election on January 6.

They ended up separated and barricaded, hiding from violent mobs that stormed the Capitol that day in a siege that left five people dead, he explained in a passionate speech from the U.S. Senate floor marking the start of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.

"They thought they were gonna die," Raskin said, choking back tears at multiple points during the nearly 10-minute personal statement.

After the riot ended, Raskin, who has represented Maryland's 8th Congressional district since 2017, promised his 24-year-old daughter Tabitha, that things would be different the next time she visited the Capitol.

"She said, 'Dad, I don't want to come back to the Capitol,'" Raskin recalled. "Of all the terrible, brutal things I saw and heard that day, that one hit me the hardest."

Just a day before the riot, the Raskins had held a funeral for his son, Tommy, who died by suicide at age 25 after suffering from depression—in his speech, the Maryland congressman called it "the saddest day of our lives."

"The reason they came with me was because they wanted to be together with me in the middle of a devastating week for our family," he said of bringing his daughter and son-in-law to the Capitol on January 6.

They gathered together to receive condolences in House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's office in the Capitol. Raskin began drafting a speech on unity that he planned to give later that evening and then he left to head to the House floor before family members went to the gallery to watch.

"By the time we learned about what was going on, it was too late. I couldn't get out there to be with them in that office," Raskin said.

For over an hour Raskin and his son-in-law and daughter were separated. They barricaded in Hoyer's office, and he was on the House floor.

"My son-in-law had never even been to the Capitol before," Raskin said. "When they were finally rescued over an hour later by Capitol officers, and we were together, I hugged them and I apologized."

Raskin is the lead impeachment manager for the House in the trial, which is expected to continue through the weekend.

Trump is accused of inciting his supporters to storm the building to disrupt the election certification. Votes were put on hold for several hours before lawmakers resumed the process late in the evening.

"This cannot be our future," he said. "This cannot be the future of America."

Jamie Raskin
In this screenshot taken from a congress.gov webcast, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) – lead manager for the impeachment speaks on the first day of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol on February 9, 2021 in Washington, DC. House impeachment managers will make the case that Trump was “singularly responsible” for the January 6th attack at the U.S. Capitol and he should be convicted and barred from ever holding public office again. congress.gov/Getty