- New Jersey Rep. Andy Kim said he donated the suit he wore on January 6 to the Smithsonian Institution.
- Kim said he wore the suit on January 6 and again on January 13 when he voted to impeach Trump.
- He said “telling the story” of the riot at the Capitol “isn’t optional, it is necessary.”
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New Jersey Rep. Andy Kim announced Tuesday he donated the blue suit he wore during the January 6 riot at the US Capitol to the Smithsonian Institution.
Kim explained his decision in a 17-tweet thread posted to Twitter.
“While some try to erase history, I will fight to tell the story so it never happens again,” Kim wrote.
Many Republican lawmakers have attempted to distance themselves from and downplay the events of January 6. Supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the building after a rally held by Trump outside the White House.
Rioters overpowered Capitol Police and other authorities, broke windows, and stormed into the building while lawmakers held a joint session to count the results of the 2020 election, which Trump lost. While some Republican lawmakers have since likened rioters to tourists, 550 people have faced charges for their participation.
Kim called the suit “unremarkable” and said he purchased it “off-the-rack” at J.Crew because he wanted to wear a “bright blue new suit” to the inauguration of President Joe Biden on January 21.
Kim said he decided to wear the suit earlier, on January 6, when he saw the news that Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock had won their races for Senate in Georgia.
“I bought it to be a suit of celebration, and I thought what better way to give the suit meaning than to wear it when I confirm the electoral college and then later to the inauguration,” Kim said.
He added: “Like my suit, what I did on Jan 6 on its face was unremarkable. I saw a mess and cleaned it. I wanted to right the wrongs of that day as quickly and as tangibly as I could. Neither my suit nor my actions are on their own worthy of memory, but the story didn’t end there.”
Kim said he decided to wear the suit one more time: on January 13 when he voted to impeach Trump. His pants still had “dust” on his knees from January 6.
“When I got home I vowed to never wear the suit again. I even considered throwing it away. It only brought back terrible memories,” he said.
He said he hid it in a closet until he received “thousands of cards” from people across the country who told him the blue suit represented “resilience and hope.”
-Andy Kim (@AndyKimNJ) July 6, 2021
“I told the Smithsonian yes to donating the blue suit because the telling of the story of [January 6] isn’t optional, it is necessary,” he said. “There are many stories of [January 6]. Mine is just one. We cannot heal as a nation unless we have truth.”
Valeska Hilbig, a spokesperson for the Smithsonian Museum of American History, confirmed to Insider that Kim had donated the suit as “part of a larger collecting initiative to continue to assess now and in the future what historians and the public will know about” January 6.
“Our curatorial staff, including in the division of political and military history, continue to monitor the evolving situation regarding the election of 2020 and the Capitol building insurrection and interruption of the final ratification of that election,” she added.
There were no “immediate plans for a display,” Hilbig told Insider.