Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has come out against his Republican colleagues' attempt to block state electors in Arizona during a joint Congressional session to count the Electoral College votes and confirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory in November's election, saying their attempt to overturn the will of American voters would "damage our republic forever" in a fiery speech from the Senate floor.
Vice President Mike Pence also declined to reject the electoral votes from the state lost by President Donald Trump, despite the outgoing leader's urging, saying in a letter to his congressional colleagues, "It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not."
As the clash continued inside Senate chambers, pro-Trump rioters, incited by his message asking supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol, violently breached the walls of the Capitol building, despite the attempts of the U.S. Capitol Police to keep them behind safety barriers. As rioters invaded the building, many of them flying the Confederate flag, and chanting, "We want Trump!" both House and Senate temporarily recessed for safety reasons, and Pence was whisked away.
Lawmakers and staff were ordered to seek shelter and stay away from doors and windows. U.S. Capitol Police sent out an alert shortly after 2 p.m. warning of an "internal security threat," reports CBS. The alert urged people to move inside their offices, lock doors, seek cover and remain silent.
Holy crap. Trump supporters have broken into the Capitol building and are wandering through Statuary Hall shouting, "We want Trump! We want Trump!" pic.twitter.com/j1advKPmWE— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) January 6, 2021
As the chaos broke out in Washington, Trump tweeted denouncing Pence's failure to fall in line with his orders, tweeting, "Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!"
He would soon also tweet about the violence from his supporters, writing, "Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!" Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., tweeted, "This is wrong and not who we are. Be peaceful and use your 1st Amendment rights, but don't start acting like the other side. We have a country to save and this doesn't help anyone."