Washington, DC Texans – lawmakers and employees alike – described a day when President Donald Trump’s protestors flooded the U.S. Capitol.
by Abby Livingston
January 6, 202114 hours ago
The top advisor to US Representative Vicente Gonzalez was irritated by the rhetoric of President Donald Trump and that of his supporters prior to the traditionally ceremonial counting of the votes by Congress – so much that he was all Staff but one in the McAllen Democrat office were ordered to work from home. Other chiefs of staff followed the same approach in all chambers and corridors of Congress.
« It’s a very unfortunate day for this country, » Borjan told The Texas Tribune on Wednesday. “I have prepared our employees for this. The President’s rhetoric does not help on this matter, so I have taken all the necessary measures. … I closed the office completely. «
Just a block or two from the Capitol, Texas-based GOP consultant Susan Lilly was in town and felt similarly uncomfortable walking around Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning.
» Eerie silence and no one on the street, silence, where on a normal day it would be anything but quiet, « she described the neighborhood.
Meanwhile, the wife and son of US Representative Colin Allred, a Democrat from Dallas, was also in the City.
« I said goodbye to them this morning and knew it was going to be a tough day as I expected there might be some incidents, » he said.
Virtually anyone who did anything Has to do with Congress expected a bad day. But when pro-Trump rioters stormed the steps, halls, and offices of the Capitol, Texans who serve in Congress and the people who work for them feared for their physical safety and the future of American democracy.Members of the House Democracy had encouraged one another to avoid walking to the Capitol on the street, avoid wearing Congressional pins that could mark them as potential targets for violence, and generally stay within the relative safety of the U.S. Capitol complex. Some high-ranking members of the delegation recalled the bitter protests surrounding the facility in 2010 before President Barack Obama’s health bill was voted for.
This is the report from about a dozen Texas staff and members who are at the moment experienced when pro-Trump rioters breached the security of the U.S. Capitol. A number of employees asked for anonymity for fear of violence.
At 1:00 am. Members began to count the votes of the States Electoral College in alphabetical order. Members went to their respective chambers – the Senate and House of Representatives – to debate the Arizona certification count after Republican members, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, raised objections. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered an emotional speech from the Senate, an implicit broadside for Cruz and others who opposed the confirmation of the votes.
Then Cruz spoke up, declaring it at a « time in who is in crisis with democracy ”and advocated interfering in a traditionally mostly ignored and ceremonial step on the way to an inauguration of the president.
In the House of Representatives, the members also discussed the votes in Arizona. As per COVID-19 precautions, few members were on the ground. In the gallery, which looked down, other members watched the floor proceedings in allotted time slots.
Across the street, other Texas staff and members were stationed in their offices. As the debate started, a Republican official was watching the crowd outside the Capitol. « It just started building and building and building, » he told the Tribune. « There was some sort of cherry bombing or fireworks display amidst the megaphones and speeches. »
US Representative Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, observed the same scene through his office window in the Rayburn House Office Building.
« It was easy incredible, « he said. “I saw some policemen running around the Capitol to get to the Western Front and seeing more and more demonstrators. They ended up standing on the booth for the cameras for the opening and finally got in the door there. It was an amazing day. “
Doggett could hear alarms and get text notifications on his phone. Security warnings are not uncommon in Congress – they are often false positives for suspicious packages. This text shocked him and other members.
« Due to the ongoing police activity and the ongoing security threat inside the building, you should hide or take cover in a public space, » he read from his phone to the Tribune. </ At the Capitol, the second US Representative, Lizzie Pannill Fletcher from D-Houston, was amazed by what she saw.
« I stepped into the gallery to make a call and actually walked down the hallway, looked out the window and saw protesters on the steps, « she said.
Protesters on the steps are a massive breach of the security of the US Capitol Police. There are only a handful of entrances for visitors to enter the premises and on a normal day, anyone without proper identification will be immediately banned from entry. But that was a mob scene.
Allred was on the ground in a new leadership role. He became increasingly alarmed when warnings came on his phone, specifically that his office building had been locked over an explosive device concern and that rioters were storming the steps of the Capitol.
« Then I saw the security details for the congress leaders in the Basically ran into the chamber of the house, which never happens, and the speaker was taken off the podium, « he said, describing the scene where the leadership was evacuated from the Capitol.
Located down on the floor of the house US representative Sylvia R. Garcia from D-Houston went to the toilet and did not notice the escalation. A Capitol police officer pulled her out of her toilet and led her back to the floor of the house. She was shocked when the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, went missing. Fletcher re-entered the chamber, too, and was shocked by the scene in front of her.
« When I walked in, Nancy wasn’t on the podium and I thought it was … serious, » Garcia said.
Die Members of the House attempted to retrial but were continually interrupted by Capitol Police. The noise from Trump supporters began to alarm them. Police began locking the doors from the inside.
Members were ordered to stop the procedure and reach under seats and put on gas masks while tear gas was being used in the Capitol. Up in the gallery, Fletcher had never worn a device like this before. She attributed the calm tone to the coworkers she was with – a retired Army Ranger and a former 911 operator.
Fletcher and her coworkers followed the instructions of the police and crawled in front of the gallery seats towards an exit. Somebody knocked on that door. Not knowing who it was, Fletcher removed her congressional pin hoping not to attract the violence of a riot. « We didn’t know who was on the other side of the door, » she said. “It turned out to be the Capitol Police.” Back across the street in his office, US Representative Michael McCaul, R-Austin, watched the events on television and grew increasingly anxious.Together with US Representative Markwayne Mullin from Oklahoma, the four Texan newbies – US Representatives Tony Gonzalez from Del Rio, Pat Fallon from Prosper, Ronny Jackson from Amarillo and Troy Nehls from Sugar Land – kept the doors closed, according to Fallon’s Facebook Post . Jackson and Gonzalez are military veterans, and Nehls is a former county sheriff.
« We demolished furniture to set up clubs to defend the US House of Representatives, » Fallon later wrote on Facebook.
« We did then helped the police barricade the doors we were guarding with a large piece of furniture and we stepped aside to put it there and then the little pieces of glass flew. «
Allred, a retired NFL soccer player , texted his pregnant wife expressing his love for her and then got ready to hold the door.
« I took off my jacket, took off my tie, was ready, anything to do what would come through those doors, « he said.
In what he described as » apocalyptic « , Allred saw the Capitol Police with guns drawn, windows broken, and house staff holding the heirlooms from the podium as one of the parliamentarians said, « so they don’t get lost to history. »
Legislators moved to make the site safe when police officers called them on to run. There was confusion about how best to help a representative who was using a wheelchair.
« It’s not a place of violence. It’s not a place of that kind of casual anger that you’ve seen, » Allred said . “To have to flee like we did, to really not be sure about our own safety during this time, and to see some of the important artifacts and iconographies of our democracy, people have to grab them and hope that they loot and rioters don’t destroy them – that’s not something you’d expect in the US. ”
Eventually, all of the Texans made their way to safety and spent the rest of the day in lockdown in unknown locations Staff locked themselves in their offices while others were scattered in hiding places, and many had no television access to understand the extent of the violation, but were overwhelmed with worried texts and phone calls, all described a lost sense of time. This was « a sad day, » many members said in interviews separately. Doggett and McCaul worried about the perception of America.
Many of these Texans were stunned hours later, just before the two chambers came back together. Fletcher, a litigator, went out of her way to articulate her feelings.
« To me, who is relatively new here, this place is really majestic, and it’s … it’s the United States Capitol. Um to see it attacked? And to be present in that attack on our democracy and our country was just … it’s an attack on everything we do right. «
» To see these protesters in invaded the Capitol and fell from grace, they deserve prosecution for what they did, « said McCaul, a former prosecutor.
» Our leaders must and should be honest with the American people do not mislead them that Congress can somehow overthrow an election. We don’t have that constitutional power and these people thought that was going to happen.
« I hope this is the beginning of the end of this nightmare, » added McCaul. “The president must be responsible.”
“It’s something I will never, never, never forget when I see people stare through broken glass that they have broken out,” he said. « The Capitol Police barricaded a door to the floor of the US house. It’s just something indescribable, and it was far worse than any picture can convey, and it was extremely dangerous. » … Only a few minutes later, if we had tried to evacuate, we would have seen many members of Congress injured and attacked. “
The chaos extended beyond the Capitol grounds. Authorities have deactivated a bomb at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee. Members saw blood and protesters dressed in paramilitary gear. And a woman was shot trying to get into the floor of the house.
Police evacuated Republican adviser Lilly from her nearby townhouse. She agreed with Allred that television images do not convey the horrific scenes they saw.
US Representative Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, was not on the Capitol grounds but heard the sirens non-stop. He was on his way to the Capitol and turned when he received the warning texts.
He called out Republican members who said they would object to the certification of the electoral college.
« I hope so. that they are ashamed, « he said. « That will change politics forever. »
Just before midnight, both chambers returned to a secured US Capitol to reject this initial objection to Arizona results certification.
More than half of those Republican colleague from Veasey sided with Trump to overthrow the election.
Updated: January 7, 2021
Updated: January 6, 2021
January 6, 2021
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