SHELTERING IN PLACE: Rep. Cooper COS Lisa Quigley Recalls Insurrection Day in D.C.

Jan 6, 2021.

I left home for the office at 6:30am as I anticipated enhanced screening protocols at the Capitol. To my surprise, there were none. There were only low, movable gates (think bike racks) encircling the Capitol complex.

For 10 months, few staff had been attending in-person, so it was a normal day: Capitol Police & Dunkin employees were on duty, but otherwise there were empty hallways. I started tracking progress on the East & West fronts of the Capitol B4 8am from my window.

Rep. Jim Cooper & I gathered in his office to remotely attend the House Democratic Caucus. It was celebratory: Senator Warnock and Senator Ossoff were headed for victories, securing the Senate dem majority. Certification of the presidential results would begin in hours. 

As the count started midday, I went downstairs to grab lunch. In passing, I heard two Capitol Police officers asking each other, “Do you think we should lock these doors too?”

This was worrisome for a few reasons: 1) This was the 24-hour door to the Longworth building. It’s always guarded, but never locked. 2) “Too?” What other doors have been locked? 3) Why are these officers making this call? Where is Capitol Police command?

Rep. Cooper had just received his 2nd Covid shot, but was trying to keep his family safe w/ regular testing. He was only going to the House Floor for votes. No lingering there. I reported what I’d heard & he left for the Attending Physician’s office for a Covid test.

Almost immediately, we were notified via internal House email that the Madison and Cannon buildings were being evacuated. Evacuated? What? And go outside? The Longworth building was the next one in the line of buildings. I texted Cooper the news and he rushed back.

The order from the House changed to “shelter in place”. When Cooper returned, we locked the front door, locked his internal office door behind us, and then started clearing out his closet as I noticed that it had a lock on it too. Shoes, dry cleaning — it all came out.

That’s when the security squawk box sounded. Had worked in Congress for 30 years & had never heard it. Thought it was an obsolete relic. We are now watching the insurrection on split screen: via CNN & outside our window.

We took one last look, closed the blinds, turned off the lights & pushed his very heavy desk in front of the door. My cousin coached me on building a proper barricade. Me: “How do you know how to do this? What are you, a French revolutionary?” Jason: “Video games.”

Safely (?) barricaded, he put his banjo away for safekeeping & we fielded calls & texts from family, friends & media. The concern for those outside the Capitol was that the attackers would get into the underground tunnels.

(former Nashville  mayor)Megan Barry⁩ called to ask if we had a gun & if we knew how to use it. I knew there was no gun in the office. He crossed the room, reached the top shelf of his mostly bare closet, handed (the below) to me & asked: “Do you know how to use it?” A club from travels to Kenya.

As night fell, we inhaled a box of chocolates that was laying around, reinforcements finally arrived, and he played a few tunes on his banjo. As the night wore on, there was never an all-clear signal. The House, determined to fulfill its constitutional duty, reconvened.

We remained there until 3:38am, when the election was finally verified. I got in my car and drove home on the now-empty streets. I climbed into bed at 5:00am and my husband said, “So, honey, how was day at the office?”  Humor can help w/ healing, for sure.

People often ask me if this was the scariest day of my life. I say “no”. Because I mistakenly thought that the madness was over, that the American people would never stand for this kind of attack on our democracy. Trump was gone, and Trumpism would be seen as a disgrace.

So, actually, the scariest days have been every day since. Our democracy is still at great risk. We all have to work to save it. It’s fragile.

P.S. – Rep. Cooper gifted me the club from Kenya today, as a morning memento of that horrible day. God Bless America.

Lisa Quigley is the Director of the Anti-Hunger Campaign, Tusk Philanthropies. She spent 30 years on Capitol Hill, most recently as the Former Chief of Staff for Rep. Jim Cooper.


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The special committee about the January 6th insurrection is happening now, and it is extremely powerful. Anyone trying to downplay what happened that day is complicit. The cover-up is part of the insurrection.

Some highlights:

REP. SCHIFF: “When you were racially attacked, you asked if this is America. Is it?” OFFICER DUNN: “If you look at our history… I guess it is. But that’s not the side we represent. We represent decency.”

SGT. GONELL: “My time, compared to Iraq, totally different… This is our own citizens, people who we’ve sworn an oath to protect, yet they are attacking us with the same flag they claim to represent.” #jan6thcommittee

OFFICER FANONE: They tortured me. They beat me… and they continued to do so until I yelled out that i had kids… it’s believed I was unconscious for 4 minutes…The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful! —- Nothing has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day and betray their oath of office.” #January6thCommittee ” #January6thCommission

Rep. Kinzinger, a Republican, crying: “You guys won. You held. Democracies are not defined by our bad days, but how we come back from bad days. How we take responsibility for it… many in my party have treated this as just another partisan fight- SELF-GOVERNANCE IS AT STAKE.”

It’s clear why Republicans tried to stop this committee from happening. These recounts of what happened that day by these officers are incredibly powerful. Eternal shame on Trump and everyone who helped enable this. What you’re doing is the opposite of patriotism.

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MOUNT JULIET GRIFTER *PASTOR* LOCKE: “Don’t believe this Delta Variant nonsense” – says if anyone shows up to church wearing a mask he’ll kick them out. Cases are spiking in Tennessee, almost all hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated. ? (He recently had a church member, a musician who believed his garbage, die of COVID)

BALLAD SCREW-UP: In JOHNSON CITY, “Ballad Health sent letters to ~100 patients stating they may have been exposed the hepatitis A, hepatitis B, or HIV… occurred during a “medication incident’ involving “a single nurse.”?  IN OUR INBOX: One person’s 72yo father with cancer went in for a transfusion after a car accident and got this letter. ?

“COLORED PEOPLE”?: Discussing CRT, Williamson County Moms for Liberty Chair Robin Steenman refers to non-white kids as “colored kids” on Marsha Blackburn’s show, with zero pushback from Marsha. She called teachers “brainwashing assholes”, equated diversity efforts with the Holocaust.

PSAKI NAME-CHECKS VALENTINE: “We don’t want that to be the breaking point for anyone.” —- PSAKI references Tennessee conservative radio host PHIL VALENTINE, who had an epiphany about the vaccine once he was in the hospital “fighting for his life” (after mocking the vaccine with a parody song) ?

TUCKER CONFRONTED IN MONTANA: “You are the worst human being known to mankind… What you have done to ??… to people’s families…” – Local Montana fly-fishing guide Dan Bailey confronts Tucker Carlson. #Hero

FLYNN’S THREAT:  “Maybe I’ll find somebody in Washington D.C…” – Trump’s now-pardoned former National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn *jokes* about assassination at the “Church of Glad Tidings” in Yuba City, CA as he gets a semi-automatic rifle. ?

MASKLESS MARSHA: Marsha Spotted maskless at the airport, where federal law requires them in the terminal… ?

BLEDSOE’S ANTI-VACCINE SHERIFF: Bledsoe & Marion County jails have not yet offered vaccinations for inmates. Bledsoe Sheriff Jimmy Morris: “To my knowledge, people has died everywhere from this vaccine” —— Wouldn’t say where he got the info behind that (false) claim. ? (He was arrested for a bar fight in 2012)

KIRK LOVES SINEMA: Trump sycophant Charlie Kirk calls Senator Kyrsten Sinema “more of a Republican than McCain” and praises her for preserving the filibuster, an anti-civil rights relic…. How proud you must be, Senator. What a ringing endorsement. #EndTheFilibuster

WILD, TRAGIC STORY: 60yo BETHPAGE, TN man wouldn’t give up the handle @Tennessee…gets harassed & “swatted” (fake SWAT team emergency reported to his house) —he dies of a heart attack when they show up with guns… Another TN man got 5 years for his role.

SHAMELESS MCCONNELL: Despite right-wing misinfo obviously causing ??’s vaccine hesitancy, McConnell blames BIDEN for the vaccination rate, saying “they inherited a good trajectory from Republican leadership.” One of the most shameless things you’ll ever see. ?


GRAHAM’S GRANDSON HOSPITALIZED: Rev. Billy Graham’s grandson, evangelical Pastor Jonathan Lotz, has been hospitalized with COVID-19. ?

NASHVILLE: “A petition to have Metro Nashville Public School students mask up for the upcoming 2021-22 school year has just crossed 1000 signatures.” ?

?LISTEN: “What a fraud… Trump got a shot in the White House during a pandemic and didn’t tell anyone. That’s not the President’s job. You’re a coward.” – ?Rep. Cohen on the Daily Memphian Podcast says if upcoming elections are about Trump Dems will win.

STUDY: “States cutting unemployment benefits didn’t get people back to work” – Seems Governor Lee & the TN GOP slashed $500 MILLION out of our economy for no reason. (bc they think unemployed Tennesseans are lazy)?

WATCH: “JUST GET THE STUPID SHOT.” – Florida mom who was against getting vaccinated and didn’t take COVID seriously thanks to the right-wing misinformation engine changes her tune after nearly dying. ?

FLASHBACK: “Remove the bust of the KKK Grand Wizard from our capitol!” Ashley King regularly protested the statue by being loud, and making those who kept it there uncomfortable. It’s gone. We want to make sure we salute Ashley for his efforts… join us LIVE TODAY AT NOON CST WITH ASHLEY ON THE HOLLER.


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OJEDA: “They Think They People Of Tennessee Are That Damn Stupid”

Ex-Paratrooper/wv sen/Prez candidate Richard Ojeda torches (All 7 TN GOP) reps who voted to cover-up the insurrection.


Insurrection GRITS

New year, new… WTF. Aftyn and Anna are back for season 4 in the wake of the pro-Trump QAnon furry hat wearing insurrection identifying the Tennessee culprits and grappling with how to humanize those involved. BONUS: tips on how to talk to your people who believe in conspiracy theories


Sign this petition to take down Steve Berger,

Gov. Lee’s extremist pastor at Grace Chapel

How to speak to people who believe in conspiracy theories

Republican Attorney Generals launch robocalls

Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver’s Tennessean patriot profile

FULL PODCAST available on Apple Podcasts, and wherever else you like to listen.

Sen. Johnson: “GET OUTTA MY FACE”

Williamson County Senator Jack Johnson was unenthusiastic about discussing the role a letter from Tennssee state legislators encouraging Tennessee reps to challenge Biden’s win played in the deadly attack on our Capitol by Trump supporters.


Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver: “I DID NOTHING WRONG”

Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver ducks questions about her presence in DC during the deadly Trump insurrection (which she posted fondly of afterward) as her husband INITIATES PHYSICAL CONTACT with our reporter.


“You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself for Belittling What Happened at the Capitol”

On WZTV FOX 17 News, the Holler’s Justin Kanew skewers Tennessee Republican Party EC member Michelle Foreman for deflecting blame from Trump (onto city mayors…) and denying systemic racism.


Rep Jim Cooper on Experiencing the MAGA Insurrection

“I have to admit It was pretty scary…the police seemed overwhelmed, outnumbered, and sometimes complicit.” Representative Jim Cooper on the attack on the Capitol, how easily it was breached, and how “out of control” it got.

PODCAST available on Apple Podcasts, and wherever else you like to listen.