A mob of people refusing to accept that Donald Trump lost the presidential election stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, vandalizing and looting offices, and forcing the suspension of proceedings where Congress was certifying Joe Biden’s election as president.
The situation developed rapidly and violently. One woman was fatally shot, and several other people were taken to hospitals, according to NBC News and other sources. Three people died as a result of medical emergencies. Members of Congress were escorted to secure locations, as was Vice President Mike Pence, who was overseeing the certification. There were reports of improvised explosive devices found at the capitol and near the headquarters of both the Republican and Democratic National Committees. The National Guard was called out to assist the capitol police force and Washington, D.C., police officers.
Trump had spoken at a rally earlier on the National Mall in Washington, saying he would never concede the election. He encouraged his supporters to march on the capitol, although he later tweeted that they should respect the police and remain peaceful.
But many lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans alike, blamed Trump for inciting violence. “This is what you’ve gotten, guys,” Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah yelled as the chaos broke out, The New York Times reports.
Former President George W. Bush, a Republican, condemned the rioting, as did the three living Democratic ex-presidents, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter. Several Democrats in Congress said Trump should be impeached again. He was impeached over a year ago for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, due to the pressure he put on Ukraine's government to find incriminating information on Biden's family, but he was not convicted. Rep. Ilhan Omar said she is preparing articles of impeachment, while some Congress members and activist groups called for his resignation or his removal from office under the 25th Amendment, which provides for the president to be removed if unable to perform the duties of the office.
President-elect Biden addressed the nation shortly after 4 p.m. Eastern time, saying our democracy was under unprecedented assault. "It's not protest, it's insurrection," he said. He urged Trump to speak out and stop the action.
Trump released a video message a few minutes later, telling the demonstrators to go home but repeating his lies that the election was somehow stolen from him, when there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have now removed the video, and Twitter has removed some other tweets from Trump and locked his account for 12 hours.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, said Congress would reconvene Wednesday night, once safety was assured, to continue the work of certifying Biden's election. Her office had been among those vandalized.
Numerous elected officials, including members of the LGBTQ+ community, spoke out on Twitter over Trump's role in Wednesday's mob action.
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