Vice President Mike Pence was rushed out of Senate Chambers by security on Wednesday afternoon after protesters loyal to President Donald Trump breached the Capitol, preventing Congress's counting of the electoral votes to confirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory. After Pence was escorted out of the building, the police escorted senators and members of the House from the building. Protesters made their way in the hallways just steps away from where lawmakers were meeting.
While everything was unfolding, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah yelled at his colleagues: "This is what you've gotten guys," referring to the ones who were leading the charges to press Trump's claims of a stolen election, according to the New York Times. Outside the building, protesters were clashing with officers and barreling past the fence barricades. Officers when placed themselves in front of the chamber doors as demonstrators were in the second-floor lobby.
Just evacuated my office in Cannon due to a nearby threat. Now we’re seeing protesters assaulting Capitol Police.
This is wrong. This is not who we are. I’m heartbroken for our nation today. pic.twitter.com/jC9P0YfSLQ— Rep. Nancy Mace (@RepNancyMace) January 6, 2021
"I don't recognize our country today, and the members of Congress who have supported this anarchy do not deserve to represent their fellow Americans," Representative Elaine Luria, Democrat of Virginia said. This comes shortly after Pence wrote an open letter to U.S. Congress on Wednesday, stating he would not comply with him to challenge the results of the 2020 president election.
"It is my considered judgement 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," Pence wrote in the letter. He went on to state that he has no "unilateral authority to decide presidential contests."
As the protesters breached the Capitol barricades, members of Congress urged them to be peaceful. "Thank you to Capitol Police for protecting the People's House," Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, wrote on Twitter. "Protesters have a Constitutionally-protected right to be heard, but I urge them to remain peaceful." Trump also asked the protesters to not result to violence.
"I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful," he stated on Twitter." No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!"