Capitol Hill became a scene of chaos and terror on Jan. 6 as supporters of US president Donald Trump stormed Congress in an attempt to stop the certification of president-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.
After tearing down layers of fencing, the demonstrators, many with backpacks and potentially armed, made their way inside the building. Legislators inside ripped gas masks from the bottoms of their seats as police officers began escorting them to a room in the building’s basement.
Many lawmakers who were caught in the violence or working nearby tweeted about what they were seeing, in some cases posting videos, with members of both parties calling for an end to the violence.
Update: gas masks are being prepared pic.twitter.com/6TYWImnoK3
— Rep. Peter Welch (@PeterWelch) January 6, 2021
We are locked in the House Chamber. They have suspended debate. We have just been briefed the Capitol has been breached. They are asking us to put on masks for tear gas. Violence has no place in our politics. This needs to stop now!
— Kat Cammack (@Kat_Cammack) January 6, 2021
This is a coup attempt.
— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) January 6, 2021
— Rep. Mike Gallagher (@RepGallagher) January 6, 2021
I’m currently sheltering in place. The Capitol building has been breached and both chambers are locked down.
— Rep. Veronica Escobar (@RepEscobar) January 6, 2021
Violence is always unacceptable. Even when passions run high.
Anyone engaged in violence—especially against law enforcement—should be fully prosecuted.
God bless the Capitol Police and the honorable men & women of law enforcement who show great courage keeping all of us safe.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 6, 2021
Violence and anarchy are unacceptable. We are a nation of laws.
This needs to end now. https://t.co/zyrFUFYZm1
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) January 6, 2021
I am in the House Chambers. We have been instructed to lie down on the floor and put on our gas masks. Chamber security and Capitol Police have their guns drawn as protesters bang on the front door of the chamber.
This is not a protest. This is an attack on America.
— Rep. Dan Kildee (@RepDanKildee) January 6, 2021
This is not a protest. It is a terrorist attack on our democracy.
— Rep. Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) January 6, 2021
Dear @DHS_Wolf: You overrode local authorities and deployed your troops to protect confederate statutes and buildings last year. Where were your folks today to protect our nation’s Capitol? https://t.co/QD8IAjyftk
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) January 6, 2021
I’m in the Capitol. I’m safe, and my team and I are sheltering in place.
The President of the United States has incited a riot that has now stormed the Capitol. There are rioters roaming the halls of the Capitol. I saw them with my own eyes.
Our country deserves better.
— Congresswoman Cori Bush (@RepCori) January 6, 2021
Just evacuated my office in Cannon due to a nearby threat. Now we’re seeing protesters assaulting Capitol Police.
This is wrong. This is not who we are. I’m heartbroken for our nation today. pic.twitter.com/jC9P0YfSLQ
— Rep. Nancy Mace (@RepNancyMace) January 6, 2021
I don’t recognize our country today and the members of Congress who have supported this anarchy do not deserve to represent their fellow Americans. (2/2)
— Rep. Elaine Luria (@RepElaineLuria) January 6, 2021
Thank you to Capitol Police for protecting the People's House.
Protesters have a Constitutionally-protected right to be heard, but I urge them to remain peaceful.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) January 6, 2021
There is nothing patriotic about what is occurring on Capitol Hill. This is 3rd world style anti-American anarchy.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 6, 2021
I served in uniform to defend the right to peaceful protest.
What’s happening at the Capitol right now is not peaceful nor a protest. It’s anarchy, & a betrayal of the American ideals we all hold dear.
My staff and I are safe.
Thanks to Capitol Police for your selfless work.
— Joni Ernst (@SenJoniErnst) January 6, 2021
I am safe in a secure location.
The President of the United States is inciting a coup.
We will not be intimidated. We will not be deterred.
— Congressmember Bass (@RepKarenBass) January 6, 2021
Trump also tweeted: “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
He later followed with a slightly more forceful message:
I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
As he was being ushered to a safe place, senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, waved over a reporter to say: “This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection.”
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