Never-before-seen video footage of the siege on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021, that left multiple people dead, captured America's attention as millions watched in shock.
Emotions ran high in the chamber and across America and its territories, as footage showed employees of the Senate and House being whisked away to safety; footage also showed the heroism of Capitol Hill police; and, terrifyingly, the insurrectionists' storming of the nation's most sacred halls of democracy.
Standing out among the Democrats leading the impeachment charge was Delegate to Congress Stacey E. Plaskett, the congresswoman hailing from the US Virgin Islands. Her sharp delivery, no-nonsense demeanour accompanied by raw video footage of the attack on the Capitol, captivated America. Ms Plaskett's rebuke of Mr Trump was unequivocal and damning; her expression also matched the seriousness of the moment.
"Mr President, distinguished senators, I am Stacey Plaskett, I represent the people of the Virgin Islands of the United States," Ms Plaskett stated proudly as she readied herself to deliver. The congresswoman tailored her presentation to include video footage of the attack followed by biting condemnation of the former president. She spoke of the insurrectionists who broke through the Capitol in hunt of the powerful House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Vice President Mike Pence, both performing their Constitutional duty to ascertain that the 2020 General Election was certified.
"They were put in danger because President Trump put his own desires, his own need for power, over his duty to the Constitution and our democratic process," Ms Plaskett condemned. "President Trump put a target on their backs and his mob broke into the Capitol to hunt them down."
The congresswoman recalled the 9/11 attack on America, particularly when the crew of Flight 93 sought to takeover the plane that was being controlled by terrorists, in an effort to foil an attack on the Capitol. “Those Americans sacrificed their lives for love of country, honour, duty—all things that America means. The Capitol stands because of people like that,” she said. “This Capitol that was conceived by our founding fathers, that was built by slaves, that remains through the sacrifice of servicemen and women around the world, and when I think of that, and I think of these insurgents, these images incited by our own president of the United States.”
The delegate to Congress's performance catapulted to the forefront of some of America's top media houses, among them the Washington Post, which in a story titled, 'Stacey Plaskett, a House Delegate Who Couldn't Vote to Impeach Trump, is Using Her Prosecutorial Background to Try to Convict Him', wrote, "The chilling, unseen footage of a riotous mob storming through the US Capitol intent on killing Vice President Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was presented to senators by a nonvoting member of Congress from the Virgin Islands."
Vogue wondered whether Ms Plaskett was the "breakout star" of the impeachment trial; NPR recognized the congresswoman's limited power in Congress and wrote that she made history Wednesday when she became "the first nonvoting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives to serve as an impeachment manager." Occupy Democrats, a Facebook page with nearly 9 million followers, praised Ms Plaskett's performance and included an image of the congresswoman on its platform that has since gone viral with over 3,700 shares. A post accompanying the image read, "BRAVO! Delegate Stacey Plaskett did an AMAZING job of laying out a POWERFUL case for Trump's impeachment today!"
The praises and sense of pride were loud at home as well. If you're on social media, more pointedly Facebook, you couldn't scroll too far before seeing a friend, acquaintance or politician lauding Ms Plaskett.
"Women it’s okay to celebrate other women. Madam Delegate you did an awesome job! We are proud to call you ours!," wrote Senate President Donna Frett-Gregory.
Governor Albert A. Bryan Jr also commented. "Represent! Awesome job Delegate!! We are proud!," he wrote, sharing a screenshot of the delegate's performance.
Ms Plaskett's delivery was one of someone who knew the importance of the moment. As a delegate to Congress, she has no voting power, and the people she represents — many of whom have served in the Armed Forces and have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country — cannot vote for president, and do not enjoy the wide range of benefits as Americans living in the states. Ms Plaskett has long advocated for parity, with her most recent engagement on the matter being an Op-Ed released to local media titled, "Disenfranchisement on Display". In it, she said, "There is, however, still a very troubling reality that continuously exist for the 4 million Americans who live in US territories—second-class citizenship and the lack of the right to vote for the US President. Deeply rooted in the fabric of the stilted development of territories like my home, the US Virgin Islands, are a series of decisions made by the US Supreme Court between 1901 and 1905, known as the Insular Cases."
But there she was on Wednesday, delivering a stinging rebuke against a former president while millions of Americans watched, her title emblazoned on screens as the Congresswoman from the US Virgin Islands.
All great changes are preceded by chaos.”