By Julia Duggan
Senior Staff Writer
In an unprecedented moment in American history, thousands of Trump supporters descended upon the Capitol building in Washington D.C. today. The rioters breached security to reach the floor of Congress, disrupting today’s certification of electoral college votes.
Protesters started gathering around 8:30 a.m. according to the Washington Post.
By 11 a.m., ten protestors were arrested for carrying guns and ammunition in front of the Capitol building. As the senators arrived at the Capitol building, they were met with mobs of protesters, according to the Washington Post.
Around noon, President Trump held a rally in front of the White House and in the rally said “We will never concede,” according to the New York Times.
“So we’re going to, we’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I love Pennsylvania Avenue, and we’re going to the Capitol and we’re going to try and give...The Democrats are hopeless. They’re never voting for anything, not even one vote,” said President Trump at the rally.
At 1 p.m., the pro-Trump mob approached barricades to the building in order to get inside.
“They tussled with officers in full riot gear, some calling the officers ‘traitors’ for doing their jobs. About 90 minutes later, police said demonstrators got into the building and the doors to the House and Senate were being locked. Shortly after, the House floor was evacuated by police,” said reporters from CNN.
The Senate halted its proceedings with Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) being interrupted by an aide who said protesters were in the building. The U.S. Capitol Police announced that no entry or exit would be permitted in the buildings within the Capitol Complex. “Stay away from exterior windows, door. If outside, seek cover,” police said, according to The NY Times.
Rep. Daniel Kildee (D-Mich.) tweeted: “I am in the house chambers. We have been instructed to lie down on the floor and put on our gas masks. Chamber security and Capitol Police have their guns drawn as protesters bang on the front door of the chamber. This is not a protest. This is an attack on America.”
House and Senate leadership is now safe in undisclosed locations, according to CNN.
At 3:13 p.m., Trump tweeted: “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law &Order — respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
At around 4 p.m., it was announced that the National Guard had been deployed to assist the police on-scene. The decision to deploy the National Guard was announced in a tweet by White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
At 4:17 p.m., President Trump posted a video asking for the protesters to go home but continued to call the election fraudulent, according to a video posted on Twitter. Twitter initially restricted the President’s video so it cannot be liked, responded to or shared, due to a risk of violence, but has since removed the tweet entirely.
“Go home, we love you, you’re very special, you’ve seen what happens, you’ve seen the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil, I know how you feel, but go home and go home in peace,” said Trump in the video.
The Senate floor was cleared of rioters as of 3:30 p.m., and the Capitol building is secure as of 6 p.m. The New York Times reported that only 13 people have been taken into custody and one woman has died from a gunshot wound to the chest, according to NBC News, which she sustained while on Capitol grounds.
A citywide curfew went into place at 6 p.m. According to District of Columbia Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, no one other than essential personnel is allowed outdoors in the city, according to the Washington Post.
According to The New York Times, groups such as QAnon and the Proud Boys had openly been planning to overtake the Capitol for months on social media platforms, in opposition to Trump’s loss in the 2020 election.
President-Elect Joe Biden spoke out against the incidents of the day, in an effort to unite the nation in a time of strife.
“Today is a reminder that democracy is fragile,” he said. “And to preserve it requires people in good will, leaders encouraged to stand up, who are devoted — not to the pursuit of power or personal interest, pursuits of their own selfish interests of any cause — but to the common good.”
Biden called the events a “god-awful display.”
He said that he felt shocked and saddened by the riots — bringing the nation to an ultimately dark moment.
“To storm the Capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices, the floor of the United States Senate rummaging through desks, on the Capitol, on the House of Representatives, threatening the safety of duly elected officials — it's not protest, it's insurrection.”