New Jersey Rep. Andy Kim helps clean up Capitol building after breach

KELLY MCCARTHY
·2 min read

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the image of a congressman kneeling to clean up the litter-lined floors of the U.S. Capitol after pro-Trump rioters stormed the hallowed halls speaks volumes.

New Jersey Rep. Andy Kim, a Democrat, was photographed on Thursday morning picking up debris and garbage left behind after the massive security breach.

"I was just really affected emotionally. I felt this kind of heightened, kind of supercharged kind of patriotism that I just felt take over," the congressman said in an interview with The Associated Press.

PHOTO: Rep. Andy Kim, Democrat from New Jersey, cleans up debris and trash strewn across the floor in the early morning hours, Jan. 7, 2021, after protesters stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C., the day before. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
PHOTO: Rep. Andy Kim, Democrat from New Jersey, cleans up debris and trash strewn across the floor in the early morning hours, Jan. 7, 2021, after protesters stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C., the day before. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Kim worked alongside police officers to help clean up everything from water bottles to pizza boxes to clothing to flags.

"When you see something you love that's broken, you want to fix it. I love the Capitol. I'm honored to be there," he said. "This building is extraordinary, and the rotunda in particular is just awe-inspiring. How many countless generations have been inspired in that room?"

He continued: "It really broke my heart and I just felt compelled to do something -- what else could I do?"

The sobering image of Kim was widely shared in juxtaposition with the violent and dramatic day that saw a mob smash through windows and doors, ransacking the building.

One of Kim's Democratic colleagues told the AP that he didn't recognize him at first.

"I think it was 1 in the morning," New Jersey Rep. Tom Malinowski said. "There were a couple national guardsman, and I noticed somebody on his hands and knees leaning under a bench to pick something up, and it was Andy all by himself, just quietly removing debris and putting it in a plastic bag. He was clearly not doing it for an audience."

"It was, for me," Malinowski added, "the most poignant moment of the long night."

Gov. Phil Murphy hailed Kim for his example, saying he "represents the very best of New Jersey and our nation."

New Jersey Rep. Andy Kim helps clean up Capitol building after breach originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com