Watch CBSN Live

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal says democracy was close to "being overthrown" in January 6 attack

Representatve Pramila Jayapal on "The Takeout"
Representatve Pramila Jayapal on "The Takeout... 51:03

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal was in the House chamber on January 6, when rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in support of President Trump's efforts to overturn the election results. The Democrat from Washington blamed Mr. Trump for spreading falsehoods about the election, saying that he had "incited an insurrection on the United States Capitol."

"The sitting president of the United States refused to accept the election results as real, used every opportunity to try to challenge those results, all of those challenges failed," Jayapal said in an interview with CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett. "And then [the president] incited an insurrection on the United States Capitol, the worst attack on the United States Capitol since the war of 1812, led by white nationalists and white supremacists who killed a Capitol police officers and chanted for Mike Pence to be hung and for Nancy Pelosi to be killed."

Listen to this episode on ART19

Jayapal spoke about her experiences on January 6 for this week's episode of "The Takeout" podcast. She said she could not "articulate how close our democracy came to being overthrown."

"And we survived, but barely," Jayapal said of the assault on the Capitol, which resulted in the deaths of five people, including a Capitol Police officer. She argued that with President Biden in office and Democrats controlling both houses of Congress, the threats presented by such extremists would be taken more seriously.

Jayapal also talked about her coronavirus diagnosis, which came after she spent hours on January 6 locked down in a room in the Capitol Complex with Republican lawmakers who refused to wear masks. In her statement announcing that she had tested positive last week, Jayapal slammed Republicans' "selfish idiocy" for "cruelly" refusing to wear masks.

"I was incredibly angry because I knew that I contracted it from that secure lockdown room where my colleagues on the other side of the aisle refused to wear a mask," Jayapal told Garrett. She said she had tested negative consistently in the days before she was in lockdown. Now, with Mr. Biden in office, the country will "finally have a president in the White House who takes this virus seriously," Jayapal said. During his presidency, Mr. Trump repeatedly downplayed the virus, which has killed more than 400,000 Americans, and he was rarely seen wearing a mask.

"I don't know how to describe the inability, unwillingness of my Republican colleagues to actually believe in truth and the facts," Jayapal said. "It's no surprise that we are where we are, this terrible place in terms of lives lost and people infected."

For more of Major's conversation with Jayapal, download "The Takeout" podcast on Art19, iTunesGooglePlaySpotify and Stitcher. New episodes are available every Friday morning. Also, you can watch "The Takeout" on CBSN Friday at 5pm, 9pm, and 12am ET and Saturday at 1pm, 9pm, and 12am ET. For a full archive of "The Takeout" episodes, visit And you can listen to "The Takeout" on select CBS News Radio affiliates (check your local listings).  

Producers: Arden Farhi, Jamie Benson, Sara Cook and Eleanor Watson
CBSN Production: Eric Soussanin, Julia Boccagno and Grace Segers
Show email:
Twitter: @TakeoutPodcast
Instagram: @TakeoutPodcast

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue