Rep. Jamie Raskin Recalls Son’s Suicide Just Days Before Jan. 6 Capitol Riot

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In an emotional sit-down interview, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) opened up about the death of his son by suicide just days before the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and how as part of the House committee investigating the attack he won’t let “American democracy go down the tubes.”

“I’ve already lost my son, the thing most precious to me, but I’m not going to see American democracy go down the tubes. We are in the fight of our lives to defend American democracy,” he said in an interview that aired Sunday with CBS’s “Sunday Morning.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin goes through some family photos with a visitor, focusing on the memory of his son, Tommy.

The Washington Post via Getty Images

Raskin’s son, Tommy, died by suicide on Dec. 31, 2020, at the age of 25 after struggling with mental illness. It followed a particularly difficult year for the Harvard Law School student, who was taking classes remotely due to the pandemic and was particularly shaken by the violent death of George Floyd by police and the relentless false election claims by President Donald Trump, his father said.

“The darkness of the time overcame him,” said Raskin, who said he found his son lifeless, along with a note.

“Please forgive me. My illness won today. Please look after each other, the animals, and the global poor for me. All my love, Tommy,” the letter read.

In this Sunspot, Rep. Jamie Raskin and his wife, Sarah Bloom Raskin, who a year ago lost their 25-year-old son, Tommy, to suicide, offer their thoughts for parents who have concerns about their own children or who have suffered loss

— CBS Sunday Morning 🌞 (@CBSSunday) January 2, 2022

So when thousands of protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol just one day after Tommy Raskin’s burial and called for the hanging of then-Vice President Mike Pence ― prompting the senator’s colleagues to fervently pray and text their loved ones, as Raskin recalled while speaking to the Senate back in February ― Raskin huddled with other lawmakers but said he was devoid of fear.

“I didn’t feel any fear the entire time and I think that was because of Tommy. The very worst thing that could ever happen to me already happened,” he said.

Raskin in his interview credited Pence as “a hero” that day for refusing Trump’s order to reject Joe Biden’s certification. Up until that point, Raskin said, he believes Pence “went along with way too much during the Trump administration. But on that day, he was a constitutional patriot.”

Raskin’s interview comes ahead of the release of his memoir, “Unthinkable,” on Tuesday, which recalls his family’s experience grappling with his son’s suicide and the violent insurrection.

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.