The U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. was under siege on Wednesday as pro-Trump rioters overwhelmed security, breached the Senate chambers and stalled the planned count of Electoral College votes. Senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives were rushed to safety. All — including District 14 Rep. Jackie Speier — were apparently safe.
Security broke down at about 2:15 p.m. eastern time. Three hours later rioters continued to occupy Congress. The U.S. National Guard had been activated.
Some Republican representatives — even those who supported the president’s erroneous claims of victory in the November election — did not mince words on social media as they struggled to describe what they were seeing from secured locations.
“This is a coup attempt,” said Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger over Twitter.
The mob was not peaceful. Television showed rioters fighting with police. CNN reported that one woman had been shot and at least one policeman injured.
The violence followed an angry screed from President Donald J. Trump, who said he would never concede despite losing the election on Nov. 3. At 4:20 p.m. eastern time he released a brief statement apparently attempting to disperse the crowd, telling them to “go home,” but it was a mixed message at best.
As the riot continued in and around the Capitol, President-elect Joe Biden addressed the nation. He called unfolding events an “Unprecedented assault, unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times.
“America is so much better than what we are seeing today,” he said.
It was not immediately clear where congressional representatives were taken in the wake of violence. Katrina Rill, a press officer for Speier, said the congresswoman was safe.
“That’s all I can tell you for the moment,” she said in an email. “Will let you know if I can share more info.”