U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel reflects on 'surreal' Capitol insurrection 1 year later

Congresswoman spoke live to WPTV on Jan. 6, 2021, while barricaded inside room
Posted at 6:00 AM, Jan 06, 2022

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Thursday marks a day of reflection for many members of Congress who were trapped for hours exactly one year ago as the U.S. Capitol was under attack.

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., said democracy won that day. She spoke with WPTV as the tense and violent insurrection unfolded on Jan. 6, 2021.


Exactly one year ago, the U.S Capitol was under siege as scores of rioters storming the building — a mob of pro-Trump supporters invading the hallowed halls — as members of Congress were trapped inside.

"It's surreal," Frankel said. "Really when I think back, it is absolutely surreal."

Frankel spoke to WPTV one year later, reflecting and remembering Jan. 6, 2021.

"I forgot it was you because I'll tell you, it was such a crazy blur at the time," Frankel said.


She recalled speaking live with WPTV from inside the Capitol that day while cowering in a corner.

"I'm talking very softly because we are actually barricaded in a room," Frankel told Hughes during the live broadcast on WPTV's Facebook page.

"If I didn't know where I was, I really would have thought I was either watching a movie or watching the news program about another country," Frankel said.

Last year, members of Congress were counting electoral votes to certify then President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election. But that formality quickly turned into a violent insurrection.

"It's pretty scary because there are people scattered all over the Capitol and these people are out of control," Frankel told Hughes during the insurrection.

Frankel said she and another colleague piled chairs against the door and tried to stay calm while trapped in that room for nearly five hours.

Chairs block a door inside the U.S. Capitol building during an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021.jpg
Chairs block a door inside the U.S. Capitol building during an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021.

"We had these courageous fierce Capitol police who were under attack and there was no one coming to their aid. That is heart-breaking to me as I think back," Frankel said. "Probably the most heartbreaking part."

The unprecedented assault on American democracy turned deadly. In the past year, hundreds have been arrested.

Frankel said the government is resilient, but as the U.S. House Select Committee still investigates the attack on the Capitol, she would like to see the truth uncovered.

"Would like to make sure that whatever we find we can prevent what happened on January 6 from ever happening again," Frankel said.