The fracas started shortly after some GOP lawmakers, led by Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, launched a dispute to the certification of Arizona’s electoral votes. Over the following hour, scenes emerged of Trump supporters storming barricades, breaching the Capitol and even reaching at the very least one of many chambers.
“These storming the Capitol have to cease NOW,” Cruz wrote on Twitter, including that violence is “ALWAYS fallacious” and that “these engaged in violence are hurting the trigger they are saying they help.”
Cruz has spent weeks main as much as Wednesday’s vote sowing doubts within the electoral course of and repeating unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.
By early afternoon, proceedings within the Capitol floor to a halt as safety rushed Vice President Mike Pence out of the U.S. Senate chamber and the constructing was positioned on lockdown. The mayor of Washington, D.C., Muriel Bowser, ordered a curfew beginning at 5 p.m.
Experiences from the scene present Trump supporters swarming the hallways of the Capitol carrying pro-Trump paraphernalia — simply steps from the place lawmakers have been assembly. Lawmakers and reporters described a whole bunch of pro-Trump supporters barreling previous fence barricades and clashing with officers. Some demonstrators additionally mobbed the second flooring foyer simply exterior the Senate chamber whereas legislation enforcement officers tried to protect the chamber doorways.
“I am presently sheltering in place. The Capitol constructing has been breached and each chambers are locked down,” wrote U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso. “That is the chaos and lawlessness @realDonaldTrump has created.”
Amid the chaos and confusion, a number of Republicans inspired Trump to rally his supporters to tamp down on the violence.
“Mr. President, get to a microphone instantly and set up calm and order. Now. And work with Capitol Police to safe the Capitol. It is the very last thing you may do this issues as President,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Chip Roy of Austin. In a subsequent interview with The Texas Tribune, Roy, who famous he and his employees have been secure, referred to as on the White Home to “take motion instantly” and for the president to “communicate and inform folks to retreat from the Capitol.”
Amongst these in Washington on Wednesday was Legal professional Normal Ken Paxton, who spoke at a pro-Trump rally exterior the White Home earlier than Congress started the Electoral School certification course of. Final month, Paxton led an unsuccessful lawsuit difficult the presidential election leads to 4 battleground states.
On Wednesday afternoon, Paxton referred to as for calm.
“I’m sorely upset right this moment within the certification of the election, however I do not consider violence is the reply,” Paxton stated.
However later within the afternoon, Paxton tweeted a baseless declare, saying “These usually are not Trump supporters.” Most of the supporters within the movies are waving Trump flags and indicators and sporting “MAGA” hats and different clothes. Paxton’s workplace didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
One other state chief, Gov. Greg Abbott, issued a press release saying the “violence and mayhem should cease.” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick additionally addressed the state of affairs in a press release that invoked each the pro-Trump protesters Wednesday and apparently those that demonstrated towards police brutality final summer time.
“Those that burned down our cities final 12 months and those that stormed the U.S. Capitol right this moment don’t symbolize the folks of this nation,” Patrick stated. “We will disagree loudly and protest peacefully however the habits we have seen right this moment and within the final 12 months can by no means be acceptable to any American.”
Patrick chaired Trump’s reelection marketing campaign in Texas and has sided with him in his post-election fixation with voter fraud regardless of no proof of widespread fraud. Patrick at one level supplied as much as $1 million as a reward for proof of fraud.
The Republican Celebration of Texas additionally weighed in, saying in a tweet that it helps free-speech rights however “we do condemn violence and pray for all in our nation’s capital.” Its chairman, Allen West, was a vocal supporter of Paxton’s lawsuit and prompt secession by “law-abiding states” after the U.S. Supreme Courtroom rejected the swimsuit. West has additionally appeared at “Cease the Steal” occasions following Trump’s reelection defeat.
The state social gathering additionally stated it was eradicating its sergeant at arms, Walter West, because of a press release he had made “in regards to the lawlessness occurring on the Capitol Constructing.” The social gathering stated it “under no circumstances endorses” his assertion. West made a number of Fb posts Wednesday encouraging individuals who have been storming the Capitol, together with one the place he shared photos of the protesters and stated, “You Accepted ANTIFA burning down your cities… Now Cope with them taking again OUR HOUSE!”
Maybe the strongest condemnation of the pro-Trump rioters amongst Texas Republicans got here from former Rep. Will Hurd of Helotes. He wrote in a tweet: “That is an assault on our democracy and home terrorism to attempt to cease certifying elections. This needs to be handled as a coup led by a president that won’t be peacefully faraway from energy.”
There have been additionally denunciations from Texas Republicans who had resisted objecting to the Electoral School certification, together with Roy.
“To these storming the Capitol — I’m on the Home flooring and I cannot be deterred from upholding my oath, underneath God, to the Structure by mob demand,” he wrote. The Austin-area Republican made his disdain for Wednesday’s occasions clear, telling the Tribune he did not suppose Congress “needs to be taking place this highway” of objecting to the certification and calling for legal motion towards members of the mob who breached the Capitol.
“Individuals have to go jail,” Roy stated. “They should go to jail for a really very long time.”
Early Wednesday night, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, a staunch pro-Trump Republican, urged protesters to chorus from violence. Gohmert was the topic of a censure decision from Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, of Florida, after he warned of post-election violence following a string of courtroom losses by Trump and his supporters.
“Please folks; no violence. That solely hurts our trigger. These main the cost just like the man in yellow with the communist hammer & sickle tattoo: stopping the violence applies to you too,” Gohmert tweeted.
Texas Democrats, in the meantime, have been specific in linking the harrowing scene to Trump’s refusal to simply accept the election consequence and belligerent rhetoric.
“That is what Trump needed,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin. “Trump’s sedition: decided to maintain us from doing our constitutional responsibility.”
At a information convention in Delaware, in the meantime, Biden stated Trump supporters’ breach of the Capitol was “an assault on the rule of legislation like few instances we have ever seen it.” The Democrat went on to demand that Trump go on tv and publicly “demand an finish to this siege.”
“At this hour, our democracy’s underneath an unprecedented assault, not like something we have seen in trendy instances,” Biden stated. “An assault on the citadel of liberty, the Capitol itself.”
In an interview with C-SPAN, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, stated the pro-Trump rally that passed off earlier Wednesday doubtless “despatched a robust message to plenty of the oldsters right here.” Cuellar then reprimanded Trump for being “fast to name the Nationwide Guard … and people to sure locations when the left was protesting,” however not responding as quick to sentence his personal supporters.
Trump beforehand referred to as on his supporters to rally in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. At a protest earlier within the day, Trump acknowledged that rallygoers have been going to march towards the Capitol to encourage lawmakers to not certify the vote.
“I do know that everybody right here will quickly be marching over to the Capitol constructing to peacefully and patriotically, make your voices heard right this moment,” he stated.
After going through criticism for not doing sufficient to finish the violence on the Capitol, Trump tweeted a video Wednesday afternoon urging his supporters to “go residence in peace” — although he continued to share a baseless declare that the election had been stolen from him.
“We’ve to have legislation and order. We do not need anybody harm,” he stated in a video message filmed on the White Home. Then, the president appeared to supply encouragement to his supporters: “We love you. You are very particular,” Trump stated. “I understand how you are feeling.”
This text initially appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2021/01/06/texas-trump-capitol/.
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