Wednesday afternoon, thousands of pro-Trump demonstrators marched to the Capitol building after hearing President Trump speak as the House and the Senate prepared to certify the results of the November general election. Adorned in ‘Make America Great Again’ apparel, the mob carried Trump and confederate flags as they began pushing through the barricades and police line on the building’s perimeter.
After the Capitol was breached, many members of Congress and staffers were evacuated from the Library of Congress and the Cannon House office building. In the chambers, members, staff and press were told by police to use gas masks as tear gas was used in the Capitol rotunda. As the mob continued to break down doors and windows of the Capitol’s many chambers and offices, members in the chamber were then relocated to a secure, undisclosed location.
The group hung flags, broke into the offices of lawmakers, disrupted law enforcement and removed furniture from the Capitol throughout the nearly four hours that they roamed the halls. Congress went into recess causing a delay in the certification of votes.
Many lawmakers tweeted about their whereabouts throughout the insurrection about their safety. Others tweeted at President Trump pleading for him to call off the demonstrators he incited at his morning rally.
U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R) spoke about the events of the day placing direct blame on President Trump for violent protests and the breach of the building.
“We gather due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of supporters who he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning,” Romney said. “What happened was an insurrection incited by the President of the United States.”
District Representative Eleanore Holmes Norton (D) tweeted about the events also placing direct blame on the President.
“President Trump’s incitement to challenge the counting of the electoral votes in a certified election set the stage for today’s insurrection at the Capitol,” Holmes Norton wrote.
As the mob continued, the entire 1,100 member Washington D.C. National Guard was called in at the request of DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D). Additionally, members of the Virginia state police, Maryland state police and New Jersey state police have been deployed to the District and Capitol. Wednesday evening the Metro Police Department (MPD) took over clearing the Capitol.
At 8:00 p.m Wednesday, the House and the Senate resumed session in the Capitol building shortly after it was cleared by the MPD. Early Thursday morning the joint session of Congress convened and certified the results of the general election for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
As of Thursday morning, the National Guard and many state troopers are actively patrolling the Capitol and its grounds. Fencing is now being erected around the perimeter.
Throughout the afternoon, President Trump issued several tweets asking demonstrators to remain peaceful in the Capitol and a video where he said to the mob “we love you, you’re very special” that was later removed by Twitter citing violent claims. The President’s account was later suspended for 12 hours due to their violation of Twitter’s civil integrity policy.
President Trump issued a statement Thursday morning stating that he would participate in a peaceful transition of power after Biden and Harris are inaugurated.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said.
Sarah Payne is a History and Neuroscience student at The University of Michigan interning with HillRag. She writes for and serves as an assistant news editor for Michigan’s student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.