WASHINGTON – Supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol Building Wednesday afternoon, interrupting the congressional session that was meeting to confirm the Electoral College votes.
Hundreds of protesters were shown on television news coverage walking through Statuary Hall without having gone through any security checkpoints. Debate was halted, and lawmakers were ordered to return to their offices and shelter in place. Legislators were told they may need to hide under their chairs and to be quiet and not draw attention to themselves.
The protesters appeared to have come from a rally earlier in the day in which Trump condemned, as he has repeatedly since November, the results of the Nov. 3 election that made former Vice President Joe Biden the president-elect.
Trump didn’t directly address the actions of the protesters but he did ask them to avoid violence, tweeting, “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
The sight of massive crowds halting the democratic process in the nation’s capital city was jarring to observers, some of whom laid the blame for the crowd’s actions at the president’s feet.
“This is a coup attempt,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. Then, addressing Trump, he wrote, “You are not protecting the country. Where is the DC guard? You are done and your legacy will be a disaster.”