Hundreds of supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump attacked the US Capitol on January 6 as the House and Senate conducted the acceptance process for the electoral vote certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
The attack has brought a halt to that process as Capitol Police worked to both stop the flood of trespassers and protect the legislators. NBC News reports that the Offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser have requested the National Guard.
Trump had addressed thousands of his supporters earlier in the morning at a rally in Washington.
Soon after, House and Senate members were evacuated as those carrying Make America Great Again paraphernalia brawled with police officers who were barricading the crowds out of the nation’s capital, Reuters reports.
New York City elected officials were tweeting from the scene telling Twitter users they had were in safe locations and condemning the actions of conservative demonstrators they saw as disrupting a Democratic election.
A short walk from the rally, hundreds of Trump supporters overturned barricades and clashed with police on the grounds of the Capitol where Congress was meeting, clambering onto the structures erected for Biden’s inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20 to unfurl Trump flags and gathering on the Capitol steps. Police used teargas and pepper spray on some of the protesters.
Trump, who has spent much of his time since the November 3 election trying to overturn the results, falsely said he won as he spoke on an outdoor stage framing the White House, which Biden is due to move into in two weeks.
Crowds gathered at the so-called “Save America March” wore Trump-approved red baseball caps and cheered as Trump repeated the groundless conspiracy theories that have consumed his final days in office — a period during which coronavirus infections have surged throughout the United States as the pandemic worsens.
“You don’t concede when there’s theft involved,” Trump said. “Our country has had enough and we will not take it any more.”
For more than an hour, he aired familiar grievances with the news media and Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival from the 2016 election, and delighted the crowd by calling Democratic victories the product of what he called “explosions of bullshit.”
Congress was due to confirm Biden’s victory on Wednesday. Many of Trump’s fellow Republicans have promised a stonewalling effort that could stretch proceedings past midnight but was almost certain to fail.