Protestors supporting President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, causing Congress to suspend proceedings to confirm the election of Joe Biden as president.
Protestors freely roamed through the Capitol complex, including the Senate chamber, where one man stood on the president of the Senate’s chair and shouted, “Trump won that election!”
Several law enforcement officials said at least one person in the Capitol building had been shot, and that at least one improvised explosive device was been found on the Capitol grounds.
Vice President Mike Pence, who had been presiding over the count of Electoral College votes, was ushered out of the Senate as the U.S. Capitol Complex went into lockdown when Trump supporters began breaching the complex.
Pence and Sen. Charles Grassley, the president pro-tempore, were taken to a secure location.
A spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is “safe,” but would not elaborate on her whereabouts.
Members of Congress were ordered to take shelter in the complex.
At the same time, shocking images of a protestor dangling from the walls of the Senate chamber, a woman drenched in blood on a stretcher, Capitol police point guns on the floor of the House of Representatives, and other chaotic scenes played on television screens and Twitter feeds around the nation.
Trump’s spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said the “the National Guard is on the way along with other federal protective services.”
“We reiterate President Trump’s call against violence and to remain peaceful,” McEnany said.
Biden, in a nationally television address, said, “At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault.”
“It’s chaos, it borders on sedition and it must end now. I call this mob to pull back and allow this work of democracy to go forward,” Biden said as the occupation of the federal legislative branch of government continued.
“Therefore I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the constitution, and demand an end to this siege,” the president-elect said.
“President Trump, step up.”
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in a joint statement said, “We are calling on President Trump to demand that all protestors leave the U.S. Capitol and Capitol Grounds immediately.”
Trump, during a rally earlier outside the White House, had encouraged thousands of his supporters to march to the Capitol to protest the proceedings there.
The president later was angered to learn that Pence had issued a statement saying he would refuse to go along with Trump’s demand that he try to block the confirmation of Biden’s Electoral College victory.
“This is a coup attempt,” tweeted Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican.
Sen. Mitt Romney, the Republican from Utah, directly blamed Trump for the riot.
“This is what the president has cause today, this insurrection,” said Romney, who was the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee.