The U.S. Capitol has been secured following an unprecedented day in American history that saw a mob of President Donald Trump supporters siege the building.
Four people died as a violent mob loyal to Trump stormed the building on Wednesday and forced lawmakers into hiding, in a stunning attempt to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House.
Washington, D.C., Police Chief Robert Contee said the dead on Wednesday included a woman who was shot by the U.S. Capitol Police, as well as three others who died in “medical emergencies.”
Police said both law enforcement and Trump supporters deployed chemical irritants during the hourslong occupation of the Capitol building before it was cleared Wednesday evening by law enforcement.
The woman was shot earlier Wednesday as the mob tried to break through a barricaded door in the Capitol where police were armed on the other side. She was hospitalized with a gunshot wound and later died.
One of the people who died of a medical emergency during the storming of the Capitol was the founder of a pro-Trump social media site called ‘Trumparoo’ and had coordinated transportation for several dozen people from Pennsylvania to Washington.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that 50-year-old Benjamin Phillips drove there in a van along with Trump-related memorabilia he had produced.
The Inquirer and the Bloomsburg Press Enterprise both spoke with Phillips before the rally.
He was a web developer and founder of ‘Trumparoo’, a social media site for supporters of President Trump. His profile on the site said he was organizing a bus from the Bloomsburg area to go to the rally and expressed anger at Democratic officials and moderate Republicans.
Phillips told the Bloomsburg Press Enterprise on Tuesday that people from other states were staying at his home. He said, “My ‘hostel’ is already full.”
D.C. police officials say two pipe bombs were recovered, one outside the Democratic National Committee and one outside the Republican National Committee. Police found a cooler from a vehicle that had a long gun and Molotov cocktail on Capitol grounds.
As protesters supporting the sitting president breached security, entered, and damaged the building, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other senators were led out, escorted by staff and police.
Members of the House were also evacuated. Both chambers had been debating the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College.
The White House says National Guard troops along with other federal protective services arrived at the Capitol to help end a violent occupation by President Trump’s supporters who are seeking to prevent the certification of the 2020 presidential election.
The capitol was secured shortly after 5 p.m. and troops and law enforcement remained stationed around the building throughout the evening. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser implemented a 6 p.m. curfew until Thursday morning.
In a video posted to Twitter shortly after 4 p.m., Trump told the violent crowd to “go home” but refused to concede that he lost the 2020 U.S. Election.
“It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side,” Trump said. “But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order.”
The President says it was a “fraudulent election” adding that it was “stolen from us.”
“I know how you feel, but go home, and go home in peace.”
In his address to the nation, President-elect Biden further pressed on the current President to speak up and put an end to the violence.
“I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the constitution and demand an end to this siege,” Biden said.
“I call on this mob to pull back and let democracy go forward… At this hour our democracy is under assault.”
This photo, courtesy of Getty Images, shows one pro-Trump advocate that broke into the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. CNN reports a note was left on Pelosi’s desk that read “We will not back down.”
The Pentagon says about 1,100 D.C. National Guard members were mobilized to help support law enforcement.
Republican lawmakers have publicly called for Trump to more vocally condemn the violence and to call to an end to the occupation, which halted a joint session of Congress where lawmakers were beginning to count electoral votes.
The skirmishes came shortly after President Trump addressed thousands of his supporters, riling up the crowd with his baseless claims of election fraud.
Disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress. The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 6, 2021
Protesters could be seen marching through the Capitol’s stately Statuary Hall shouting and waving Trump banners and American flags.
Videos posted online showed protesters fighting with U.S. Capitol Police officers as police fired pepper spray to keep them back.
The Senate’s top Republican has told his colleagues that Congress should not override the voters’ verdict in electing Democrat Joe Biden president, saying, “If we overrule them we will damage our republic forever.”
The Kentucky Republican made his remarks as the Senate weighed a challenge by a handful of GOP lawmakers to the 11 electoral votes Arizona cast for Biden.
It was the first of several states’ electoral votes that some Republicans are challenging, encouraged by President Donald Trump’s groundless charges that the election was riddled with fraud.
With files from The Canadian Press and the Associated Press