Congressman Andy Kim on a Dark Day for America

New Jersey Congressman Andy Kim spent yesterday locked down in his office, trying to carry on with his day while making sense of the assault on the Capitol. After the dust settled and he cast his vote, he made his way through the building cleaning up debris and reflecting on the day’s events. Here’s how it happened, as told to GQ.

Before I became a Congressman, I was a United States diplomat. I worked in Afghanistan, spent time in Iraq. I’ve been in lots of lockdowns before, so that wasn’t new to me. But I wouldn’t compare yesterday to that—those experiences were in war zones, we knew what to expect. This time we didn’t know what was going on.

Sometime around 12:30 p.m. yesterday, I arrived at my office in preparation for the House vote scheduled for 1 p.m. I was on my way to the House floor when we were alerted that some sort of crisis was brewing. Shortly after the alarm started going off for the shelter in place. I was able to make it back to my office [in the Rayburn House Office Building, across the street from the Capitol] around 1:30 p.m., where I sheltered in place for the next six hours.

I had one staffer with me. We didn’t want any staffers in the building that day because we were concerned about staff walking or riding the metro in case something happened on the street. We didn’t ever imagine something would happen inside the building.

At first I spent the bulk of my time making calls, texting with my colleagues to figure out what was going on, but I wasn’t hearing back, which made the situation even more worrying. I called my wife and my parents to let them know that I was safe rather than seeing it on the news.

Everything was frantic and chaotic. We didn’t know what was happening but we were seeing images of people flowing into the Capitol. We didn’t know if they were armed or not, but we started hearing about explosives midway through the afternoon. They identified several explosives around the campus, so we were warned to stay away from any windows.

I was also still trying to do work—I had some phone calls with constituents, I swore in county officials in my district. Everyone was surprised that we kept going, but I had agreed to do it, and I didn’t want the insurrection to derail our democracy.

Anthony DeAngelo
Pop Culture

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