(Insurrectionists in the Senate chamber. Credit: Igor Bobic)
As members of the House of Representatives and the United States Senate were meeting to certify the electoral college vote from the 2020 presidential election, supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol in a force that overwhelmed police officers tasked with protecting the legislators and staff that work inside of the building.
Insurrectionists donning Trump gear eventually made it inside of the building. While legislators wore gas masks with tear gas flowing through the air inside the Rotunda, Capitol Police officers stood with pistols drawn at the entrance to the chamber where the House of Representatives convenes.
Lawmakers were rushed into undisclosed locations for their safety as Trump’s supporters roamed free throughout the building. One insurrectionist was photographed sitting at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s desk.
One woman was shot and killed as the mob stormed the building. The circumstances around her death are still not clear at the time of publication.
Mitt Romney, a Republican Senator from Utah blamed President Trump for the day. “What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States,” said Romney. “Those who continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history.”
The President waited hours to ask the insurrectionists to leave the building they were occupying. However, in that ask, he continued to give the supporters fuel while asking them to go home. “This was a fraudulent election but we can’t play into the hands of these people,” Trump said in a video message. “Go home, we love you, you’re very special.”
President-elect Joe Biden addressed the country prior to when Trump’s video message was released. “At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault, unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times,” the president-elect said. “Let me be very clear: The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect the true America, do not represent who we are.”
Biden called on Trump to demand his followers vacate the Capitol.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a State of Emergency and sent members of the Virginia National Guard and 200 Virginia State Police officers to D.C. to help officers on the ground at the Capital.
Northam also declared a 6 p.m. curfew in the Northern Virginia cities of Alexandria and Arlington at the request of officials in those localities.
Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Amanda Chase was in attendance and spoke to the crowd prior to the insurrectionists storming the Capitol building by overrunning law enforcement officers. Chase also filmed a video on Tuesday night with Joshua Macias while in D.C. Macias was arrested in Philadelphia recently when he showed up to a vote counting facility heavily armed.
Chase has continuously pushed election fraud conspiracy theories and called for martial law since Biden was declared the winner.
After the Capitol was stormed and occupied, Chase posted a video on her Facebook while driving in a car away from the Capitol. Chase said she was safe, but she reassured her supporters that she still had people on the ground at the Capitol.
Chase also posted on Facebook, this time reiterating her unproven claims that the 2020 election was stolen. “I had to be there today to represent those of us who believe this election was stolen from We the People. This was not a fair, free election. We don’t believe the lies, deception and complete stealing of this year’s 2020 Presidential Election,” wrote Chase. “The people have had enough.”
Chase then took it even further on Wednesday night when she called Capitol Police murderers and referred to the insurrectionists as patriots. “A veteran who was brutally murdered by Capitol Police today,” wrote Chase, after identifying the woman that died after being shot inside of the Capitol on Wednesday. “These were not rioters and looters; these were Patriots who love their country and do not want to see our great republic turn into a socialist country. I was there with the people; I know. Don’t believe the fake media narrative.”
Delegate Kirk Cox, the only other declared candidate for Governor called for the mob to disperse in D.C. to disperse. “I condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the violent rioting and destruction happening in Washington D.C. These events are in no way justified or excusable,” Cox said in a statement. “The President needs to call on his supporters to leave the Capitol immediately. We are a nation of laws and those who have sworn to uphold the Constitution need to do so. Anyone who rightly spoke out against lawlessness and violence last summer cannot with integrity be silent now. We all have a duty to speak up.”
While he is the only declared or potential-potential Republican gubernatorial candidate to recognize Biden’s victory, Cox delayed that recognition for nearly six weeks while he repeated Trump’s talking points of counting “legal votes.”
Pete Snyder, a likely GOP gubernatorial condemned the violence in D.C. while trying to draw comparisons to the social justice protests that took place in cities across America after George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. “So very sad and horrified watching the violence at the Capitol today,” Snyder tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “I said it when Richmond was overtaken by violent mobs this Summer and I will say it watching this anarchy right now: VIOLENCE HAS NO PLACE IN OUR POLITICAL DISCOURSE.”
Glenn Youngkin, another likely GOP gubernatorial candidate has not released a statement.
U.S. Capitol Police cleared the building around 6 p.m. Wednesday night. Legislators are still tasked with certifying the electoral votes from each state in the final step of the 2020 election.
Members from both chambers reconvened shortly after 8 p.m. to continue debate on certifying the votes from each individual state – continuing the work that Congress is constitutionally tasked to do.
**Note: The term insurrection was used to describe the event that happened today. Several news publications have chosen to use this term, as has Republican Senator and former presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.
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