Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) paid tribute to his late son on Sunday while contrasting that tragedy with the insurrectionist riot incited by President Donald Trump, emotionally declaring, “I’m not going to lose my son in 2020 and lose my republic in 2021.”
On New Year’s Eve, the Maryland lawmaker’s 25-year-old son, Tommy—who was a Harvard law student, poet, and animal rights activist—took his life, writing an apology to his parents and telling them: “Please look after each other, the animals and the global poor for me.”
A day after burying Tommy, Rep. Raskin found himself hiding alongside his House colleagues as a seditious mob stormed the Capitol in an effort to stop Congress from certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s election. Following the violent riot that left at least five dead, Raskin helped draft the articles of impeachment against Trump and was tapped by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to manage the Senate trial.
During an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning, the Democratic congressman first spoke at length about the perilous situation members of Congress faced as the MAGA mob invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6. Furthermore, he noted that a lengthy investigation and impeachment trial isn’t necessary.
“You don’t need a six-month investigation to figure out what happened,” Raskin said. “There was an assassination party hunting for Nancy Pelosi.”
“They built a gallows outside of the Capitol of the United States,” he added. “This was an attack on our country.”
Turning to the tragedy of his son’s death, Raskin delivered a moving tribute, discussing Tommy’s lifelong passion for “human rights for every person” before saying he accepted Pelosi’s request to lead the impeachment trial because of him.
“When we went to count the Electoral College votes and it came under that ludicrous attack, I felt my son with me and I was most concerned with our youngest daughter and my son-in-law, who is married to our other daughter, who were with me that day who got caught in a room off the House floor,” he told anchor Jake Tapper. “In between them and me was a rampage, an armed mob that could have killed them easily and was banging on the doors where they were hiding under a desk with my chief of staff.”
“These events are personal to me, Jake,” he continued. “There was an attack on our country. There was an attack on our people.”
After Raskin said the president “did nothing” about the riot for hours, instead just continuing to “watch it on TV and enjoy their insurrection tailgate party,” Tapper expressed his condolences to the congressman.
“You just lost your son and now you’re in Congress worrying about your daughter and your other daughter’s husband because of these terrorists who had attacked the Congress,” the State of the Union host said. “That trauma on top of trauma just seems so debilitating to me.”
“I’m not going to lose my son at the end of 2020 and lose my republic in 2021,” Raskin sternly replied. “It’s not going to happen. The vast majority of American people—Democrats, Republicans, and independents—reject armed insurrection and violence as a new way of doing business in America.”
“We’re not going to do that,” he added. “This was the most terrible crime ever by a president of the United States against our country, and I want everybody to feel the gravity and the seriousness of those events.”