WASHINGTON — Local leaders in Washington, D.C. for the certification of the Electoral College vote took to social media Wednesday as chaos descended on the U.S. Capitol.
Angry supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol and marched through the building, shouting and waving Trump and American flags and forcing a halt to congressional deliberations over challenges to President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory.
Some House lawmakers tweeted they were sheltering in place. Senators and Vice President Mike Pence were evacuated.
Newly sworn-in Rep. Ritchie Torres spoke with PIX11 News Wednesday while he sheltered in place at an undisclosed location within the Capitol.
When asked if Trump can end the violent occupation at the Capitol, Torres said, "the damage has been done. Never in the history of our country has there been an attempt by a sitting president to instigate a violent mob to storm into the Capitol and disrupt a presidential vote count. This is the greatest assault on American democracy in the modern history of our country."
"When you're interfering with a presidential vote count and when you're interfering with what should be a peaceful transfer of power, I would certainly describe that as a coup," he added.
Full interview with Rep. Torres
Rep. Yvette Clarke called the events "domestic terrorism," and alleged the nation is "in throngs of a coup."
New Jersey Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg issued a joint statement.
"What we are witnessing in Washington is not how our democracy is supposed to function," they said. "The protestors who have breached the United States Capitol building illegally should go home immediately or face the full force of the law."
Below are more reactions from local leaders.
This is domestic terrorism. Period, full stop.— Yvette D. Clarke (@RepYvetteClarke) January 6, 2021
We are in throngs of a coup because @realDonaldTrump refuses to respect the will of the American people.
The eyes of the world are on us right now. Democracy will prevail.
My staff and I are safe.— Sen. Cory Booker (@SenBooker) January 6, 2021
It’s disgraceful that Trump and his allies have enabled this violence and attacks on our democracy.
Grateful to the Capitol Police for keeping us safe.
My staff and I are safe and have been brought to a secure location by the Capitol Police. Everyone who is responsible for this violence and lawlessness must stop. This is absolutely unnacceptable and un-American.— Nicole Malliotakis (@NMalliotakis) January 6, 2021
After being in the House chamber to certify the results of a fair and free election, I am now sheltering in place.— Rep. Nydia Velazquez (@NydiaVelazquez) January 6, 2021
The President and every single Republican who incited and encouraged this behavior must denounce it immediately.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out to check in. Myself and my staff are safe and sheltering.— Congressman Jamaal Bowman (@RepBowman) January 6, 2021
What we are seeing right now is fascism, fueled by white supremacy—the logical extension of our failure to reconcile our history.
Everyone please stay safe.
I am safe. We are sheltering in place. Make no mistake: President Trump and his enablers are directly responsible for this violence.— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) January 6, 2021
My staff and I are safe.— Rep. Ritchie Torres (@RepRitchie) January 6, 2021
This is a volatile and unprecedented situation.@realDonaldTrump & his enablers have disrupted our democracy and have made an embarrassment out of our nation. https://t.co/sGI9SpWefR
My staff and I are safe and following guidance from Capitol Police.— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) January 6, 2021
The scene in the Capitol goes against every value we pledge to uphold as a nation. Democracy will prevail.
I’m safe and currently under lockdown orders at the Capitol complex. I’ve never seen anything like this horrific attack but I want to assure you - we will carry out our constitutional duty and certify the results of the presidential election.— Rep. Frank Pallone (@FrankPallone) January 6, 2021