Chaos at the Capitol: Trump supporters launch assault as Congress counts votes
Violent crowds of President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, while lawmakers carried out the ceremonial process of officially counting the Electoral College votes from the 2020 election.
Following a rally held by Trump a short distance away, crowds of his supporters clashed with Capitol Police who surrounded the building. They charged through barricades and tried to push through law enforcement, who responded by attempting to block the crowd and discharging pepper spray.
Videos shared on Twitter showed the disturbing scene. At the same time, reporters revealed that nearby buildings had been evacuated by Capitol Police for undisclosed reasons.
BREAKING: Trump supporters have breached the Capitol building, tearing down 4 layers of security fencing and are at… https://t.co/ldYHmHplxV— ELIJAH SCHAFFER (@ELIJAH SCHAFFER) 1609956659
Trump supporters are trying to break past police lines at the Capitol building. https://t.co/kzLo2vWyfq— Mike Baker (@Mike Baker) 1609957779
Stop this https://t.co/1mGt1hwWWn— Dana Loesch (@Dana Loesch) 1609958121
President Trump called for his supporters to march from the White House area down Penn toward the Capitol. Hundreds… https://t.co/w3GtYB1kVf— Ford Fischer (@Ford Fischer) 1609957794
FLASH: Capitol Police have ordered evacuations of two Capitol campus buildings -- LoC Madison Building and Cannon H… https://t.co/mazse232dB— Mike DeBonis (@Mike DeBonis) 1609957564
House GOP staffer tells me private residences on Capitol Hill are now being evacuated by Capitol Police— Jake Tapper (@Jake Tapper) 1609958772
These images -- Trump supporters attacking officers, tearing down barricades, trying to force their way into the Ca… https://t.co/Ilakeu6dbK— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche Alcindor) 1609959792
Trump protesters have broken through barriers at the US Capitol https://t.co/9IgXQkGorE— Donie O'Sullivan (@Donie O'Sullivan) 1609956526
Despite Joe Biden's decisive 306-232 win, Trump had refused to concede and urged his supporters to oppose the process of affirming the vote. He even openly pushed for Vice President Mike Pence, who oversees the joint session of Congress that counts the vote, to reject enough of Biden's electors to overturn the result. But Pence released a statement shortly before Congress convened confirming, as legal scholars agree, that he has no role in rejecting electors.
Observers have warned for months that the president's rhetoric around the election could lead to violence. He has led his supporters to believe there's no way he could have legitimately lost the election, and therefore, increased the likelihood that they would turn to violence.
He even encouraged the protests of the counting of the Electoral College votes on Wednesday with language that was clearly threatening:
I hope the Democrats, and even more importantly, the weak and ineffective RINO section of the Republican Party, are… https://t.co/qOXn3ASfvH— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1609884740
Washington is being inundated with people who don’t want to see an election victory stolen by emboldened Radical Le… https://t.co/u4LEyfrt5W— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1609884356
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