WASHINGTON (CBSLA/AP) — Angry supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in a chaotic protest aimed at thwarting a peaceful transfer of power, forcing lawmakers to be rushed from the building and interrupting challenges to Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Senators were being evacuated. Some House lawmakers tweeted they were sheltering in place in their offices, including Carson Rep. Nanette Barragán.
Sheltering in place in my office. Got instructions on the loud speaker to stay in office and away from windows. We have seen more police arrive from office window but this unreal. pic.twitter.com/vKUEo5RrVY
— Nanette D. Barragán (@RepBarragan) January 6, 2021
Patrick Boland, spokesman for Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, declined to comment beyond saying, “Congressman Schiff is safe.”
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Los Angeles, tweeted, “We are safe, and are grateful for the outpouring of concern.”
Los Angeles Rep. Karen Bass told CBSLA she blamed the day’s events on the president and his “cult following”.
“The idea that the President of the United States would have incited this level of violence is just shocking,” said Bass. This is an attempted coup by the President of the United States.
Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, described the scene on his Twitter account.
“Got stuck in the gallery, which is above the House Floor, for some time because people were trying to get in,” he wrote. “Had to lay on the floor with about 30-50 of my colleagues. With gas mask in hand. But I’m safe.”
Rep. Mike Levin, D-Dana Point, said, “I am safe, sheltering in my office. Thanks to our Capitol Police for trying to get this situation under control as soon as possible. This is not who we are as Americans. We can disagree about politics without resorting to violence.”
Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, wrote on Twitter, “I am safely sheltering in place, and am grateful to the Capitol Police for their service. Violence will not prevent a transfer of power, and cannot destroy our constitutional process.”
Trump issued a restrained call for peace but did not call on his supporters to leave.
The ordinarily mundane procedure of certifying a new president was always going to be extraordinary, with Republican supporters of Trump vowing to protest results of an election that they have baselessly insisted was reversed by fraud.
The deliberations inside were still in their early stages when they were overcome by raucous demonstrations outside, as protesters who clashed with police entered the building, shouting and waving Trump and American flags. They abruptly interrupted the proceedings in an out-of-control scene that featured eerie official warnings directing people to duck under their seats for cover and put on gas masks.
With the crowds showing no signs of abating, Trump tweeted, “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
He later posted a video message urging people to leave the Capitol building, repeating claims that the election was stolen from him and telling protesters to “go home now”.
(Copyright 2020 CBS Corp. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)