WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Lawmakers reconvened on Capitol Hill hours after chaos erupted in Washington, D.C. Congress was forced to pause its official count of Electoral College votes when protesters stormed the nation's capital following a rally lead by President Donald Trump.
Pennsylvania’s congressional lawmakers reacted in sadness and horror after they were swept off the House and Senate floor to shelter in secure locations.
“This is a horrific day for the country. This is not who we are as a country. I absolutely condemn the violence that is occurring right now,” said Republican Congressman Lloyd Smucker, who represents Lancaster County and portions of York County.
Protesters smashed windows and scaled the Capitol building. Once inside, they clashed with police and surged passed barricades into legislative chambers.
Republican Congressman Dan Meuser, who represents Carbon, Columbia, Lebanon, Montour, and Schuylkill counties, as well as parts of Berks, Luzerne, and Northumberland counties, tweeted, “The U.S. Capitol was stormed by rioters. I stayed back trying to help secure the doors. Capitol police kept everyone safe, while putting themselves at risk.”
Lawmakers abandoned session and the Capitol building went into lockdown for several hours. Democratic Congresswoman Susan Wild, who represents Lehigh and Northampton counties, as well as parts of Monroe County, tweeted, “Harrowing day, but I’m still here. We will certify this election. We will fulfill our duty to this country.”
Congressman Smucker said the country must accept the results of the 2020 election, whether people are on the winning side or the losing side.
“There’s more divisiveness probably in the country than we’ve seen in a long, long time. We’ve endured a lot in the country, but we have endured that because we have come together and believed in a system of order that has worked,” said Congressman Smucker. “And there’s a way of doing things and there’s a way of not doing things.”
Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C. declared a citywide curfew from 6 p.m Wednesday until 6 a.m. Thursday. The Army National Guard was activated to secure the area and remove protesters from the grounds. By 8 p.m., members of Congress reclaimed the Capitol building and reconvened on the floor to finish counting the votes.