In the early morning hours of Thursday, after enduring an attack on the US Capitol the afternoon before and finally getting to vote to certify the election of President-elect Joe Biden, Rep. Andy Kim saw that there was more to be done. Before he left the building, he joined officers in cleaning up, KYW reports. "Litter and trash and garbage and debris everywhere—all over the statues, the benches were all askew," Kim said, "and it just broke my heart." It wasn't a photo-op, said another New Jersey Democrat who spotted him working about 1am. "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," Rep. Tom Malinowski said, per AP.
People noticed anyway, per the PhillyVoice, and posted photos online of Kim pitching in. "This is our Congressman. A statesman. A patriot," a young voters group in his district posted. Kim said he was walking through the debris when he saw officers putting pizza boxes in trash bags, so he asked for one to help restore what he calls "the most beautiful building in the country." The long day had affected him emotionally, he said. "I felt this kind of heightened, kind of supercharged kind of patriotism that I just felt take over." Repairing the country's toxic partisanship, he said, will take longer. "This is going to be a long road ahead for recovery," Kim said. His work in the wee hours Thursday was a start, Malinowski said. "It was for me the most poignant moment of the long night," he said. (Read more uplifting news stories.)