President Trump tells protestors to go home “peacefully” after reports of gunshots inside the Capitol, still claims election fraud.
By: Sabrina Benet and Olivia Frasca
Updated Jan. 7, 2021, 10:30 am
On Wednesday afternoon protestors forcibly breached the barricades of the U.S. Capitol and entered the building, prompting both House and Senate chambers to go on lockdown.
After 2 pm, both chambers declared a recess in response to the trespassers. Vice President Mike Pence was evacuated from the Senate chamber shortly after.
Muriel Bowser, Mayor of Washington D.C, called for a 6 pm curfew in an effort to clear the mob before sundown. The Washington Police Dept utilizes tear gas and strobe lights to ward off protestors, many of whom show no signs of moving.
According to CBS News, one unidentified woman was rolled out on a stretcher, visibly bleeding and in critical condition. Independent journalist Tayler Hansen tweeted a video of the chaos in the Capitol when a woman near him appeared to be shot.
The woman, an Air Force veteran identified as Ashli Babbit, was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. Her social media accounts demonstrate that she was a staunch supporter of President Trump and many alt-right conspiracy theories.
Hours after the pro-Trump mob was largely cleared from the Capitol, DC Chief of Police Robert Contee reported that three other people died from “medical emergencies.” More than 50 people were arrested and multiple incendiary devices were found on the scene, including two pipe bombs.
Images and videos taken from the Capitol show protestors inside the Senate chamber and congressional offices. Lawmakers and members of the press have been relocated to an undisclosed area.
The Department of Defense mobilized the DC National Guard around 4 pm, two hours after the protestors initially entered the Capitol. The FBI SWAT team also entered the building.
Huffington Post journalist Matt Fuller live-tweeted from inside the House chamber:
Video from the chamber. pic.twitter.com/UKF7MScHKN
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) January 6, 2021
Fuller described hearing gunshots from inside the chamber in addition to legislators instructing others to put on gas masks.
The extreme protestors, many of whom wore MAGA hats and brandished “Trump 2020” flags, roamed the halls of the building as legislators began to evacuate. Hundreds remain outside the Capitol, chanting and climbing the walls in an attempt to get inside.
The lockdowns come after members of Congress were debating the results of the Electoral College. The approval of electoral votes is a formal step in certifying the confirmation of President-Elect Joe Biden.
As the Capitol went on lockdown, President Trump criticized Vice President Pence for refusing to reject the electoral votes.
Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
Biden spoke regarding the U.S. Capitol mob violence from Willmington, Delaware. As he addressed the nation, he called on President Trump to step up and address the violence and criminal acts being committed in his name.
“I am calling on you, President Trump, to get on national television and condemn this violent behavior.”
Biden states that he and his cabinet will focus on rebuilding the integrity of America.
Following Presidential-Elect Biden’s speech, Trump followed up with a minute-long video on Twitter responding to the chaos.
“We had an election that was stolen from us, it was a landslide election, everyone knows it, especially the other side,” Trump said. “But you have to go home now, we have to have law and order, we have to respect our great people in law in order. We do not want anybody hurt, it is a very tough period of time.”
“This was a fraudulent election,” Trump continued. “But we can’t play into the hands of these people, we have to have peace. So go home, we love you, you are very special. Go home and go home in peace.”
Trump ended his video reassuring the crowd that he understood his supporters’ pain. The president’s video sent mixed messages, as he seemed to incite tensions earlier in the day by claiming the election results were fraudulent.
“It’s not a protest, it’s insurrection,” Biden stated in his speech. “The world is watching and so are so many Americans, our nation has come to such a dark moment.”