The US Sergeant-at-Arms and Capitol police announced on Wednesday night that the US Capitol building was secure hours after supporters of President Donald Trump breached a police barricade and forced their way inside and spurring a lockdown.
Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said the Washington, D.C. National Guard has been deployed and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam also approved that the state’s National Guard and state police to be deployed to the Capitol.
On Wednesday night, New York Gov. Andew Cuomo said he would deply 1,000 members of the New York National Guard to Washington, D.C. for up to two weeks.
“A peaceful transition of power is the cornerstone of our democracy and New York stands ready to help ensure the will of the American people is safely carried out,” he said.
Eyewitness accounts indicate a terrifying account of what happened when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, the home of the US Congress.
“Where are they?” a Trump supporter demanded in a crowd of dozens roaming the halls of the Capitol, bearing Trump flags and pounding on doors.
They — lawmakers, staff members and more — were hiding under tables, hunkered in lockdowns, saying prayers, and seeing the fruits of the country’s divisions up close and violent.
Guns were drawn. A woman was shot and killed. A Trump flag hung on the Capitol. The graceful Rotunda reeked of tear gas. Glass shattered.
On Wednesday, hallowed spaces of American democracy, one after another, yielded to the occupation of Congress.
The pro-Trump mob took over the presiding officer’s chair in the Senate, the offices of the House speaker, and the Senate dais, where one yelled, “Trump won that election.”
They mocked its leaders, posing for photos in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, one with his feet propped on her desk, another sitting in the same seat Vice President Mike Pence had occupied only moments before during the proceedings to certify the Electoral College Vote.
This began as a day of reckoning for President Donald Trump’s futile attempt to cling to power as Congress took up the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. It devolved into scenes of fear and agony that left a prime ritual of American democracy in tatters.
Trump told his morning crowd at the Ellipse that he would go with them to the Capitol, but he didn’t. Instead he sent them off with incendiary rhetoric.
“If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” he said. “Let the weak ones get out,” he went on. “This is a time for strength.”
His lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, told the crowd, “Let’s have trial by combat.”
What happened Wednesday was nothing less than an attempted coup, said Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., a frequent Trump critic, said: “Today, the United States Capitol — the world’s greatest symbol of self-government — was ransacked while the leader of the free world cowered behind his keyboard.” CURRENTPH