Impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin on the tragic death of his son and surviving the insurrection
Less than a week after his son died, Rep. Jamie Raskin stood on the House floor on Tuesday February 9th, 2021, to lead the opening of the Senate impeachment trial with a fierce mix of personal testimony and specific outlines for how Trump incited the crowds of rioters to violence, showcasing the video where he told protesters to “fight like hell, or you aren’t going to have a country anymore.”
More powerfully, the Maryland congressman detailed the horror that he felt from inside the Capitol building, recounting his experience of seeing his younger daughter Tabitha — and other family relatives — fear for their lives.
“A sound I will never forget: the sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram; the most haunting sound I ever heard, and I will never forget it,” Raskin shared during one of Tuesday’s closing statements.
“The kids hiding under a desk, placing what they thought were their final texts and whispered phone calls to say their goodbyes. They thought they were going to die,” he shared, choking up.
Raskin’s daughter Tabitha and her husband Hank were at the Capitol on January 6 to witness Congress affirming electoral college votes, Raskin said. Before making the trip, Raskin said they asked him if it would be safe. He told them “of course it should be safe. This is the Capitol.”
What was supposed to be a peaceful transfer of power resulted in him fearing he would also lose his daughter just weeks after losing his son.
“My son-in-law had never even been to the Capitol before,” he shared on the Senate floor, pausing multiple times to gather his emotions. “When they were finally rescued over an hour later by Capitol officers, and we were together, I hugged them and I apologized. I told my daughter Tabitha how sorry I was and I promised her that it would not be like this again the next time she came back to the Capitol.”
He took a moment, looking down at the floor.
“And you know what she said? Dad.. I don’t want to come back….and of all the terrible brutal things I saw and I heard on that day, and since then, that one hit me the hardest.”
Raskin, 58, represents Maryland’s eighth Congressional district. He lost his son Tommy on December 31, 2020. He and his wife Sarah penned an emotional tribute to their son in a Medium post, chronicling Thomas’ kind demeanor and compassionate nature that led him to success inside and out of the classroom.
“On the last hellish brutal day of that godawful miserable year of 2020, when hundreds of thousands of Americans and millions of people all over the world died alone in bed in the darkness from an invisible killer disease ravaging their bodies and minds, we also lost our dear, dear, beloved son, Hannah and Tabitha’s beloved irreplaceable brother, a radiant light in this broken world,” Raskin penned.
Tommy, a graduate of Amherst College, was planning on following in his dad’s footsteps and attending Harvard Law School. Raskin shared that while the grief of losing his son so tragically continued to rock him and his family, the note Tommy left behind has stayed with him.
“Please look after each other, the animals and the global poor for me. All my love, Tommy.”