Lawmakers reacted with horror on Wednesday as rioters breached security and entered the U.S. Capitol, forcing lawmakers to abandon their debate on the Electoral College results and take shelter.
“I am appalled at what is occurring in the U.S. Capitol right now. President Trump needs to call for an end to this violence and permit Congress to facilitate a peaceful transition of power,” U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, said in a post on Twitter.
“The violence at the Capitol needs to end now. The lives of countless workers — journalists, staff, and Capitol Police are being put at risk by this attack on our democracy,” tweeted U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, demanded that Trump “condemn this unacceptable vandalism and violence.”
“The right to protest peacefully is protected under the Constitution but the actions by violent mobs against our law enforcement and property at the U.S. Capitol building today are not,” Portman said on Twitter.
Lawmakers inside the House chamber were told to put on gas masks as tear gas was fired in the Rotunda, the Associated Press reported.The National Guard was called up to help Washington D.C. police as they struggled to control the violence, which included one woman being shot. Protestors climbed onto the U.S. Capitol, broke windows and poured into the Statuary Hall and the Senate chamber.
Congress members were evacuated as protesters breached security in the early afternoon, ending debate over a Republican objection to the Electoral College vote that affirmed the election of Democrats Former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California. On Nov. 3 they won nearly 81.3 million votes, beating Trump by more than 7 million votes. Those results that were certified by all states and affirmed by the Electoral College 306 to 232 in December.
“What is occurring right now at the Capitol is completely unacceptable. In America, we have the right to peacefully assemble and protest. But, we do not, under any circumstances, have the right to violently storm government buildings and threaten the safety of our police officers and our fellow citizens,” said U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati. “The disturbing violence being reported must stop immediately, and anyone participating in such violent acts must be held accountable.”
“Respecting those with whom we disagree is not a matter of politics; it’s a fundamental principle upon which this nation was founded,” Chabot added. “And it is critical that we, as a nation, find a way to put our differences aside, and focus on those basic beliefs that unite us as Americans.”
U.S. Reps. Brad Wenstrup, R-Cincinnati, and Steve Stivers, R-Ripley, also posted Tweets decrying the violence.
U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, were among the the Republicans who objected to counting Electoral College votes for states that picked Democrat Joe Biden.
“I want to thank the Capitol Police for its dedicated service and for keeping everyone — from members to staff — safe. I have every confidence that they will be able to handle this situation,” Davidson tweeted.
Jordan tweeted, “Stop the violence. Support Capitol Police” and later issued a statement that said: “Americans support peaceful protests, First Amendment activity, and the men and women of law enforcement. What happened today is wrong and is not what America is about.”
Trump and his allies have said the election was stolen from him, and Trump had urged his supporters to converge on Washington D.C. on Wednesday as Congress tallied the Electoral College votes.
No evidence of widespread fraud or voting irregularities have been found that could have changed the results of the election. In a video Trump posted on Twitter in the late afternoon he continued to claim the election had been stolen from him, but also told protestors to go home.
Biden called the violence an insurrection by extremists that did not reflect American values.