WASHINGTON—The US Capitol went into lockdown Wednesday with lawmakers inside as violent clashes broke out between a mob in support of President Trump and police following Trump’s speech claiming the election had been stolen from him. Supporters stormed the Capitol building, prompting Mike Pence to reportedly be rushed from the scene and both chambers to recess the Electoral College debate. At least one person has been shot, according to the AP.
President-elect Joe Biden Called on President Trump to go on national television and “demand an end to this siege.” Trump later released a video in which he continued to baselessly claim he had won the election but told his supporters to go home.
Video posted by journalists to Twitter on Wednesday showed the mob clashing with law enforcement following Trump’s speech. Trump supporters entered the Capitol building where a joint session was set to formalize Biden’s win, despite objections from some of Trump’s Republican allies.
A person was shot and in unknown condition.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement demanding Trump tell his supporters to leave.
“We are calling on President Trump to demand that all protestors leave the U.S. Capitol and Capitol Grounds immediately,” the lawmakers wrote.
Speaking from Delaware, Biden said he was “genuinely shocked and saddened” that the US had “come to such a dark moment.”
Some members of Congress inside House chamber were told by police to put on gas masks after tear gas was dispersed in Capitol Rotunda after supporters breached the building. Armed guards drew guns on some who arrived at the door of the House floor. Photos from the scene showed supporters had breached the Senate chamber, and at least one reached the dais where he shouted, “Trump won that election.”
President Trump, who just hours earlier addressed his supporters and claimed again the election had been stolen from him, said in a pair of tweets his supporters should “support our Capitol police” though few appeared to be heeding his remarks. He did not ask supporters to leave the building. Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said National Guard troops would be deployed to quell the violence.
The New York Times reported that Pence was “rushed” from the Capitol. Protesters stormed doors and broke windows at the front entrance, chants of “USA” could be heard outside.
The mayor of Washington, D.C., has ordered a curfew in the nation’s capital beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Members of Congress tweeted that they were safe in undisclosed locations or tweeted photos of themselves in protective gear. Congressman Seth Moulton said the nation was witnessing an attempted coup.
We are being told to shelter in place not because of a foreign terrorist attack but because of a domestic coup attempt. I expected this as a US Marine in Iraq. I never imagined it as a US Congressman in America.— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) January 6, 2021
I am safe. We have been evacuated.— Rep. David Trone (@RepDavidTrone) January 6, 2021
Let me be clear: we will not be stopped by this lawless intimidation. pic.twitter.com/WWDJst4V1B
At least two office buildings on the Capitol complex, the Madison Memorial Office Building and the Cannon House Office Building, were evacuating, according to multiple media reports.
Senator Mitt Romney placed blame on Trump for the tense situation, telling the New York Times he had incited an “insurrection.”
.@MittRomney summoned me as lawmakers and press arrived at a secure location— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) January 6, 2021
“This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection,” he said w fury in his voice.
The shouts and cheers of fired up Trump supporters could be heard inside the Capitol as senators began their debate over the Arizona objection. Thousands of people began descending upon downtown Washington hours before Congress was set to count Electoral College votes.
The streets outside the White House took the shape of a Trump campaign rally, with diehard fans railing against Democrats, communists and Antifa and chanting “Stop the Steal.”
“We don’t want to lose our country,” said John Waynesboro, 50, a mill operator from Pennsylvania who walked near with friends from Pennsylvania and waved a bright yellow, “Don’t Tread on me” flag. He said he knew it was stolen because “you never see this kind of love pouring out for a president as you do for President Trump.”
Fly-by-night preachers preached from megaphones and portable, makeshift sound systems — speakers tethered to rolling carts and handi-movers — against socialism, communism and abortion, calling for people to support Trump and Jesus Christ. One man simply shouted conspiracy theories as he made his way to the rally, calling Chief Justice Roberts “a pedophile” and “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
Many, like Jan Sheffield, 55, a stay-at-home mom from Georgia, arrived on buses after riding through the night. Decked out in Trump buttons and holding Trump flags attached to a fishing pole, she said she was in Washington “to take our country back.”
When asked who she and other protesters were taking the country back from, Sheffield fought back tears as answered. “From the wicked,” she said, those who want a socialist nation and those that sold the US to China -- “D and R alike.”
“I’m from Georgia, and they stole our two Senate seats,” said Sheffield, who rolled into the city near 6 a.m. with more than 50 others. “We are here to make sure that what happened in the presidential election doesn’t happen in Georgia, too.”
Here are images of the scene:
Trump supporters are trying to break past police lines at the Capitol building.pic.twitter.com/kzLo2vWyfq— Mike Baker (@ByMikeBaker) January 6, 2021
Whoa: Trump supporters going at it with the police on the steps of the Capitol as Congress counts the Electoral College ballots inside pic.twitter.com/LiQhaa5KkQ— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 6, 2021
BREAKING: Trump supporters clash with police, attempting to gain access to the U.S. Capitol building, as the Congress debate an objection to Arizona's Electoral College votes. pic.twitter.com/E3TAcJpaPM— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 6, 2021
Associated Press material was used in this report. Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the lawmaker who joined Nancy Pelosi in demanding Trump call his supporters away from the Capitol. It was Chuck Schumer.
Christina Prignano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.